Tanzanian company Agripoa, started in 2019, has developed farm management software that allows farmers to easily plan, monitor and analyse activities on their land. Founder Placidius Castus Rwechungura (34) answers our questions.
1. Give us your elevator pitch.
Agripoa is an Android app that uses artificial intelligence to help poultry farmers plan, monitor and analyse all farm activities. We also link farmers with farm input suppliers, credit providers and markets. Through our software, agronomists and veterinary officers create different farm groups and manage their farmers within these groups. We currently help 20,000 farmers and are planning to extend our services to other regions in the country and to scale up to Kenya and Ethiopia next year.
2. How did you finance your startup?
Initially, I received $5,000 as seed funding from the Tony Elumelu Foundation. I also invested my savings after I had resigned from my previous employment in 2018. With my partner, Kelvin, we built websites and developed software for SMEs to finance and sustain our journey. We also raised money from Seedstars.
3. If you were given $1 million to invest in your company now, where would it go?
We would add other products for different crops and animals. Up to now, we have concentrated on one product, which is poultry. We would also construct a modern slaughterhouse for processing poultry products.
4. What risks does your business face?
The big risk is with farm data policies and open farm data-sharing principles. Most African countries have not yet prepared appropriate policies for farm data ownership and sharing models. It can be a challenge to operate in a country with no such policies.
5. So far, what has proven to be the most successful form of marketing?
Our initial decision to start working with agronomists, veterinary officers and farm experts was a great success as they are our direct channel to customers. Agripoa is the perfect solution for any farm expert who struggles to manage a lot of WhatsApp groups and the farmers learn about us through them. We also use online advertisements.
6. Describe your most exciting entrepreneurial moment.
The most exciting moment was when we obtained investment from Seedstars. It was a massive milestone for us, in that we were trusted with such a big brand and we had not even begun to make revenues.
7. Tell us about your biggest mistake.
We spent a lot of time trying to raise money from investors without having a minimum viable product (MVP). We thought we could get funds just because our business idea was good. We’ve learnt that investors put money into serious businesses; those with a decent product and some early-adopter clients.
Agripoa CEO contact information
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