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 symbolized 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”.