e-farming Funding and Acquisitions Spark Venture Fund invests in argi-tech startup iProcure By Incubate Africa Posted on September 14, 20175 min read0 0 Started in 2014, the $1 million Safaricom Spark Venture Fund seeks to make late-seed to early-growth stage investments in startups using mobile technology as an enabler. The Fund received more than 600 applications to date, out of which it has invested in six startups. In August 2015, Sendy – a marketplace for businesses and individuals to connect with drivers to make deliveries simple and transparent – became the first investee of the fund.AgriTech Startup iProcure has become the sixth beneficiary of the Fund Investment and the Second after FarmDrive which has developed an alternative credit-scoring model based on mobile phones and machine learning, in turn enabling many farmers to have formal access to loans and financing.iProcure is the largest agricultural inputs supply chain platform in Kenya, linking farmers and farmer cooperatives to manufacturers of agricultural inputs. Through accrued efficiencies, iProcure offers farmers discounts of between 10 and 20 percent every time they purchase farming products. “We started the Spark Fund with the aim of supporting emerging startups that use technology to transform lives. As it joins the outstanding crop of Spark Fund investees, iProcure will be instrumental in harnessing the power of technology to improve Kenya’s agri-business processes,” said Bob Collymore, CEO, Safaricom.To access iProcure, farmers dial *283# and then select which input they would like to purchase. The farmer then receives a voucher which allows them to claim the inputs from an iProcure farm depot or collection point. The company currently covers several counties across Kenya mainly in Central and Rift Valley but has plans to scale to Western and Eastern Kenya this year. The startup seeks to increase agricultural output in Kenya, which has remained comparatively low to other countries due to challenges including access to and use of quality inputs.“At iProcure we are all about optimizing rural supply chains. We build both the supply chain technology in addition to ‘on-the-ground’ infrastructure to ensure smallholder farming communities get the inputs they require on terms that are convenient and affordable.We share an underlying belief, with Safaricom, that smallholder farmers are essential to our nation’s food security, and look forward to playing our part in improving the welfare of farmers across Kenya,” said Nicole Galletta, Chief Operations Officer, iProcure.