US impact investor Gray Matters Capital has invested $100 000 in Nairobi-based B2B agritech startup Taimba.
Gray Matters Capital said in a statement today that the investment was made through its gender lens early-stage fund GMC coLabs.
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Taimba has developed a mobile-based platform that connects rural small scale farmers to urban retailers, restaurants, hospitals and schools in Nairobi.
Taimba was founded in 2017 by Dominique Kavuisya and Joan Kavuisya in 2017
By doing so, Taimba effectively removes middlemen, shrinks the agricultural value chain, cuts wastage and makes produce more affordable. The startup was founded by CEO Dominique Kavuisya and head of product development Joan Kavuisya in 2017.
Gray Matters Capital said the startup currently works with 2000 farmers as well as 15 farmer savings and credit co-operatives that sell produce that includes potatoes, tomatoes, cabbages and carrots.
Informal green grocers make up the bulk of Taimba’s 310 customers at 85%, this while restaurants and cafes make up 10% of its customer list, with schools and hospitals located outside of Nairobi making up 5% of its clientele.
Taimba’s CEO, commenting in the same statement, said the investment is a validation of the startup’s work and the impact it has made delivering value to vendors and farmers through its mobile platform.
“The funding is a shot in the arm for us to strengthen our warehouse infrastructure by setting up cold storage facilities and also our delivery logistics so that we can cater to six new markets within Nairobi,” added Kavuisya.
The startup explained that the markets it wants to take on in Nairobi are Umoja, Kayole, Pipeline/Imara Daima, Kawagware/Waiyaki way, Kahawa west/Githurai and Southlands/Langata.
Outside of Nairobi, Taimba is planning to launch a pilot in Mombasa and Kisumu City by next year. In addition, the startup is also looking to produce new products that include fruits, nuts and eggs as part of its farm product catalogue.
The startup also has plans to replicate its model in Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia and Rwanda over the next five years.
GMC coLabs portfolio manager Jennifer Soltis said Taimba has built a solution that can be replicated in other markets in East Africa “with minimal tweaks”.
She added that GMC coLabs is “excited” to partner with Taimba in its growth journey.
The startup’s head of product development said Taimba intends to use technology to “fine tune” traceability through-out the value chain — from seeds to other farm inputs.
“We will expand our tech such that eventually there will be a simple solution that farmers and traders have a way to engage and benefit through us,” he added.
Startup’s first deal
The deal, which was signed last month, marks Taimba’s first investment. The company currently employs a team of seven permanent staff and five part-time workers.
Last year, Taimba was one of 15 startups selected to join the Make-IT accelerator. The startup also emerged the winner of the inaugural Disrupt Africa Live Pitch Competition which was held in Nairobi last year.
Taimba also won $10 000 at the 2018 Food+City Challenge Prize at SXSW.
The deal also marks GMC coLabs fourth investment in Africam with investment ticket sizes of up to $250 000. The impact investor’s other investees include Rwanda’s African Renewal Energy Distributor (ARED), Ghana’s Redbird Health Tech and Nigeria’s Sonocare.
In addition the investor has also supported two other start-ups from the continent — Kenya’s parent advisory turned e-commerce start-up MumsVillage and Sierra Leone based Mosabi as part of its global digital accelerator program — GMC Calibrator earlier this year.
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Featured image: Taimba via Facebook