Uganda Agritech Startup Emata Raises $2.4 Million Seed Funding

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Ugan­dan agritech start­up Ema­ta has raised $2.4 mil­lion in seed fund­ing com­pris­ing $800,000 in equi­ty and $1.6 mil­lion in on-lend­ing cap­i­tal.


The fundrais­ing was backed by African Renais­sance Part­ners – the VC firm invest­ing in entre­pre­neurs in East Africa and the Horn of Africa; Norrsken Accel­er­a­tor – an invest­ment arm of Europe’s largest impact tech ecosys­tem; Zephyr Acorn – an investor in ear­ly-stage tech­nol­o­gy busi­ness­es in East Africa; renowned Swedish angel investor Mar­cus Boström; and glob­al ven­ture phil­an­thropy firm – the Drap­er Richards Kaplan Foundation. 

By The Numbers

The need for agri­cul­tur­al finance in Sub-Saha­ran Africa is esti­mat­ed at $240 bil­lion by con­sul­tan­cy firm Dahlberg, with the val­ue of Emata’s tar­get mar­kets in East Africa being $13 bil­lion.

About Emata

Found­ed in 2020, Ema­ta lever­ages tech­nol­o­gy and part­ner­ships with agri­cul­tur­al coop­er­a­tives to offer farm­ers afford­able, dig­i­tal financ­ing. In place of col­lat­er­al require­ments, the com­pa­ny cre­ates alter­na­tive cred­it scores based on data points like a farmer’s deliv­ery history. 

The com­pa­ny plans to use this new invest­ment to expand its agri-loan offer­ing across East Africa – both with­in its debut mar­ket of Ugan­da and via immi­nent inter­na­tion­al expan­sion – which is most like­ly to be Tan­za­nia. It will focus on scal­ing its core mar­kets – dairy and coffee. 

A mul­ti-crop com­pa­ny from incep­tion, Emata’s oth­er oper­a­tions are oilseeds and maize, whilst expan­sion is also antic­i­pat­ed into potatoes.

Why This Matters

As East Africa rapid­ly dig­i­tizes, Emata’s busi­ness mod­el address­es East Africa’s lack of agri­cul­tur­al financ­ing – by pro­vid­ing auto­mat­ed loans to farm­ers. This reduces cost and enables lend­ing to small­hold­ers at rates 5x more afford­able than the infor­mal loans they have often relied on to date. Instant lend­ing and data-based deci­sions also ben­e­fit all farm­ers, with­out the need for collateral.

Ema­ta has dig­i­tized the full lend­ing process and is embed­ded in the agri­cul­tur­al val­ue chain – via its part­ner­ships with coop­er­a­tives and farmer-based orga­ni­za­tions – which aids rapid scal­ing. Such part­ner­ships also de-risk Emata’s busi­ness mod­el, as they pro­vide access to a direct source of repay­ment – as loan repay­ments are deduct­ed by Emata’s part­ners on its behalf. By solv­ing the financ­ing chal­lenge, Ema­ta helps farm­ers raise their pro­duc­tiv­i­ty, and increase income and food production.

In 2022, Ema­ta grew 7x year-on-year, is now live with 50 agri­cul­tur­al part­ners – reach­ing over 40,000 indi­vid­ual farm­ers – and has dis­bursed $1 mil­lion of loans.

What They’re Saying

We are thrilled to com­plete our $2.4 mil­lion seed fundraise, backed by high-pro­file, impact-ori­ent­ed investors who rec­og­nize the huge poten­tial of dig­i­tal agri-loans in East Africa, and beyond. Ema­ta dares farm­ers to dream big and elim­i­nates tra­di­tion­al obsta­cles that have made agri­cul­tur­al finance unavail­able for the vast majority. 

Our solu­tion turns a life­long strug­gle into a five-minute process, and is already tan­gi­bly impact­ing thou­sands of East African farmers.” Bram van den Bosch, Founder & CEO of Ema­ta, said. 

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