From Farmcrowdy to Releaf, Here are the 5 Most Outstanding Agritech Startups of 2020

ReelFruit Gets Selected for Village Capital’s Agriculture Africa Accelerator
Village Capital’s Agriculture Africa Accelerator finalists

Perhaps one of the major things that defined the agribusiness space this year was the heightened rate at which people invested in the sector. This was the story of the general tech scene though considering the exponential growth of video conferencing platforms, how many fintech startups emerged in the space, and how much people invested in agribusinesses without actively engaging agriculture.

While some Companies ran out of funds due to the challenges posed by COVID-19, others were forced to downsize. But some companies continued to forge ahead. Here are the 5 agribusinesses that we think stood out in 2020.

For this category, we sampled 20 of the more visible agritech startups and narrowed it to 5 on three grounds which are the expansion of product line, media publicity, and positive feedback from the customers. Most of the publicity came when these startups applied for funds or pitched during events. This post does not imply that other startups did not pitch at events or generate some publicity, however, the list has space for the top 5 only.

Here they are.

#1 Farmcrowdy

Farmcrowdy team

This company definitely put in a lot this year. 2020 saw Farmcrowdy pull out moves after moves while building on its previous achievements. It started 2020 with the acquisition of Best Foods, a livestock processing company that has been around for more than 16 years.

Farmcrowdy’s flagship product connects farmers to those who want to invest in agricultural ventures.

In March, it was one of 23 startups that were shortlisted for the premier edition of the TechPoint Award for Nigerian startups. Farmcrowdy and 3 others were shortlisted for the Most Outstanding Agro-crowdfunding Startup from 2015 to 2020.

Farmcrowdy foods

In the midst of the pandemic, the startup launched its online marketplace called Farmcrowdy Foods for people to purchase foodstuffs. Finally, in November, the startup launched Farmcrowdy 3.0 which focuses on 6 new business units. The units are FC Tech and Data; FC Structured Finance; FC Insurance; FC Marketing; FC Aggregation; and FC Foods.

It’s definitely been a busy year for the company.

#2 Releaf

Releaf is the second startup on this list on account of its huge achievements this year. Not only did the startup participate at the African Development Bank (AfDB) AgriPitch competition, but it also emerged as one of 6 finalists that competed for a share of the $120,000 prize in the

Releaf is improving the food processing sector in Nigeria with technology. It started with the processing of vegetable oil and has expanded since then.

In November, Releaf won $20,000 in the early startup category of the AfDB Agripitch competition. Earlier in June, Releaf reportedly benefitted from the $200,000 Harambeans Prosperity fund.

The startup has since expanded into the oil palm value chain sector. Through its operations, Releaf consistently acquires palm nuts as soon as farmers harvest them, and makes sure factories get as much as they need.

#3 Foodlocker

Foodlocker joined Founders Factory Africa (FFA) in February this year for its 6-month long intensive Bootcamp to build disruptive startups in the continent. The startup has been scaling steadily since it launched in 2017 as an aggregator and reseller of farm produce.

Foodlocker started as a foodstuff and grocery startup that aggregates the outputs of smallholder farmers and FMCGs, then sells to large buyers

As a result of joining FFA, the startup received $40,000 in investment and about $290,000 in tailored support services. Foodlocker also emerged as the winner of the AFDB agritech competition in November and clinched the $40,000 prize in the mature startup’s category.

Additionally, Foodlocker was the diamond winner of the Impulse Startup Accelerator award in September. The startup won an equity-free sum of $50,000 and has kept up a steady delivery of its groceries in Lagos and Oyo states.

#4 Reelfruit

Reelfruit started this year by getting selected as one of the winners of the Village Capital accelerator. The startup produces a wide range of fruits and nuts snacks that are dried and healthy.

The snacks are sold across hotels, schools and over 250 retail supermarkets in the country. The products are made from fruits which include mango, pineapple, cashew and banana, among others.

The fruits processing company launched another flavour of its fruit flakes recently, which has some nice feedback from customers. It also launched an ‘All in One’ pack that allows people to enjoy different fruit snacks in one purchase.

#5 Farmspeak Technology

Farmspeak is an agritech startup that uses technologies like artificial intelligence and the internet of things to help farmers practice data-driven agriculture. This, in turn, reduces wastage and improves overall farm productivity.

This year, the startup was shortlisted as one of the finalists at the FCMB Agritech EPIC pitch ’20, however, it did not emerge the winner of the event. In November, Farmspeak was among the top three startups that pitched at the African Innovation Week.

As 2020 prepares to close out, the startup is also getting ready for the launch of its smart farm management software.

That concludes the list of the top 5 agribusinesses that stood out in 2020. You can reach out to us if you know of any businesses in the agritech sector that should be on this list. In the meantime, keep enjoying the ambience of December.

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