Agribuddy a Siem Reap-based “agritech” startup, has secured $730,000 in venture capital funding to further develop the company’s rural application potential and boost commercial viability, a company executive said yesterday.
The Japanese-owned startup, which launched in 2015, gathered investment interest primarily from Tokyo’s iSGS Investment Works Inc and several other individual investors from Singapore.
Brandon Ross, COO of Agribuddy, said the investment will help broaden the reach of an app that already has 14,884 registered users with a total of 190,000 hectares of land in Cambodia and neighbouring countries, and a collective farm income of $125 million.
“The new funds will allow Agribuddy to expand the number of farmers we work with as well as invest more into farm inputs and crop trading so that farmers can expand the number of buyers they can reach,” he said.
The Android-based platform uses a hybrid online and offline system that generates real-time data that examine income and expense pattern of farmers. It has also developed an algorithm that creates credit reports of individual farmers that can be used by financial institutions to calculate risk.
The financial technology solution signed agreements with Acleda Bank and Sathapana Bank last year, and is currently working with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), according to Ross.
He added that by helping to free up financial flows, the application is working to close the massive gap between prudent lending and farmer demand.
“Cambodia already has low yields and the changes in weather patterns have already made this problem worse,” he said. “For farmers to compete they need to bring up their yields, which requires not just investment, but also knowing when to plant the crop at the right place and the right time dependent on the market.”