Two Nigerian Agritech startups, Foodlocker Limited and Trackball Global Technologies Nigeria, have won prizes at the 2019 Pitch AgriHack competition. The winners list also featured 5 other African startups.
An annual event, Pitch AgriHack is organised by the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) to help boost innovation for a more sustainable agricultural sector.
It’s a rewarding legacy for CTA, which has pioneered support for digital entrepreneurship among young people in the agricultural sector. Through Pitch AgriHack we have discovered self-taught youngsters, who are full of ideas and determination, and who are providing answers to some of Africa’s persistent challenges.”Michael Hailu, Director, CTA.
The winning startups for this year were selected from a pool of 326 applicants and 22 finalists 11 of which are women-led. These include Nigeria’s Foodlocker Limited which won the $11,000 Data Analytics Award and Trackball Global Technologies Nigeria which won the public choice award of $5,500.
An Agritech business, Foodlocker is based in Ibadan, Oyo State. Founded by Femi Aiki and Jennifer Okoduwa, it launched in 2017. The startup runs a physical space as well as an online platform.
According to an interview with Techpoint, co-founder Femi Aiki noted that its eCommerce channel only accounts for 4% of the startup’s revenue, with its offline wholesale and retail section accounting for the larger part.
This is not so surprising considering the location they operate in. Foodlocker also scales the logistics issue associated with eCommerce as it doesn’t handle its logistics the conventional way. However, the startup doesn’t leave customers hanging as it does a lot of shipping on its orders. Partnerships with the manufacturers of their goods helps the startup sell at affordable prices to customers.
According to the startup, it makes about ₦10 million in revenue monthly. With the new cash prize, the startup is looking to improve its deep learning algorithms and thus drive better logistics and supply chain efficiency.
Trackball Global Technologies Nigeria
Founded by Juwairiyya El-Yakub, an animal scientist, and Salihu Hamisu Uba, a soil scientist, this startup is based in Kano. Their solution AgriCo, a web-based mobile application, is designed to help farmers with their distribution and supply chain as well as improve their farming operations.
This the startup does by providing farmers with best production practices through video tutorials, animations, images and podcasts. The startup also provides farm management tools for record keeping, budgeting, feed and a fertilizer calculator.
AgriCo also solves one major challenge for farmers – market. The startup provides farmers with a marketplace, ensuring farmers get profits and are also able to get inputs supplied.
In terms of revenue, the company shared on Venture Capital for Africa that it operates a freemium based service. However, certain contents and value-added services will only be available when a user subscribes. It also stated that it gets commissions on referrals for input suppliers and produce up-takers.
With a goal of incorporating AI into the system to give better predictions this prize may just be a step forward in realizing that.
Note: “Foodlocker’s startup profile has been updated in order to avoid any form of misrepresentation.”
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