AgriTech startup, Thrive Agric from Nigeria makes YC 2019 Winter batch


Y Combinator is an American seed accelerator, started in March 2005. Y Combinator has spawned a number of highly successful companies and is consistently ranked at the top of U.S. accelerators. It’s become one of the world’s most successful accelerators with a very low acceptance rate, lower than that of Stanford University, 5%. They have crossed ₦36 trillion ($100 billion) in market value across all the startups in their portfolio since 2005. YC has a rooster of billion-dollar alums like Dropbox, Airbnb, and Reddit.

How does the YC programme work?

The startups move to Silicon Valley for 3 months, get coached by mentors and experienced entrepreneurs in refining their business model and pitch to investors. Every year, YC runs two cycles—summer and winter batch—each cycle culminates in a Demo Day where the startups present their companies to an invite-only audience including investors. By themselves, YC invests ₦54 million ($150,000) in the startups that pass through their programme for a 7% ownership of the company, accordingg to the company’s official website.

Thrive Agric an Agritech startup that provides microloans to Nigerian farmers and a channel to sell produce to large buyers was included in their recently announced set of 23 companies for YC combinator’s 2019 winter batch. Thrive Agric applied for YC Combinator’s program three times before the start-up finally got in.

Nigeria has over 32 million small farmers. Most of them are unbanked and capital constrained. Thrive Agric created a marketplace where urban Nigerians make $200 loans to farmers and earn 10-15% interest in the process. In February, Thrive Agric funded these farmers with over $500k in loans, with a monthly growth rate of about 50%. Thrive makes farmers much more efficient with access to financing, agricultural best practices and a premium market for their products.

For urban Nigerians, it offers an investment platform where they can fund agricultural operations symbolised as a farm, whether livestock or crops. On average, crowd-sourced individual investors fund a single farm for about ₦85,000 ($236) and can earn interests as high as 15% in 6 months. Longer durations of 9 months command higher interest rates of 20%. When compared to other investment vehicles like treasury bills, mutual funds and online savings fintechs with an average annual rate of 13%, Thrive Agric’s returns are more lucrative“, Benjamindada reports.

Speaking to Benjamindada on why he started Thrive Agric, the Benue-born Nigerian entrepreneur said “I grew up in a farming community, and I figured that the farmers lacked two major things. One, access to capital to scale up their production and two, easy access to a ready market to absorb their produce. We built Thrive Agric as a solution to these problems“.

Adedayo Laketu

Adedayo Laketu is a creative inventor who's interested in curating a New Age for Africa across all mediums.

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