Smart Axiata Digital Innovation Fund (SADIF) became a Series A investor in Agribuddy, an agriculture technology platform currently operating in Cambodia and India, in a bid to assist the company in its business footprint expansion, said Thomas Hundt, CEO of Smart Axiata.
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With the inujection of capital, Agribuddy became the fourth company in which SADIF invested. The Agribuddy Series A funding round, which SADIF participated along other investors, totals $2.8 million.
“SADIF’s capital injection into Agribuddy is expected to assist the company’s business footprint expansion through increased partnerships and internal platform development.
“Smart Axiata promotes the use of technology for social good. Agribuddy has not only demonstrated its strong capabilities in addressing the massive gaps within the agriculture sector but has also unlocked future opportunities due to its promising technology platform,” said Hundt.
Agribuddy was founded in 2015 to connect the rural agricultural ecosystem by providing small-scale farmers with access to crop financing while assisting them with modern agriculture practices.
It leverages its technology platform to process data, aggregate market information and manages supply chain risks.
Currently, Agribuddy offers its services to over 50,000 local farmers while employing over 600 rural entrepreneurs (Buddies) to provide technical assistance to farmers.
“The agriculture sector remains one of the most important but also the most challenging sectors in Cambodia and other emerging economies. Farmers face various risks due to the lack of market information, supply chain inefficiencies, access to funding and climate change.
“Agribuddy’s innovative business model seeks to address these issues by connecting the fragmented ecosystem, realigning incentives and maximizing the use of data,” said Bora Kem, partner of Mekong Strategic Partners, the investment firm managing SADIF.
Several other investors participated in the funding exercise. They Forte Investment Holdings (part of Forte Insurance), Mistletoe Inc. (a venture capital firm founded by social investor and entrepreneur Taizo Son), and Index: Design to Improve Life (an impact investment fund from Denmark).
SADIF’s investment committee member, Mervyn Cheo, will join Agribuddy’s board along with Krishna Manda, the former chief operating officer of Standard & Poor’s Japan. Keisuke Honda, an angel investor and a world-renowned football player, will join Agribuddy as the head of ambassadors.
“With the new capital and added expertise, Agribuddy will focus on implementing various services and tools to boost the economic conditions as well as quality of life for smallholders operating in Cambodia and India.
“With SADIF onboard, we expect Agribuddy to boost our products and services to Cambodian farmers, leveraging their core strengths in Cambodia,” said Kengo Kitaura, Founder CEO of Agribuddy.