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Africa’s Most Funded Startup to Expand its wings to West Africa After Raising $30M Series B Funding

Kimani Patrick

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Twiga Foods' Co Founder and CEO Mr. Peter-Njonjo

Kenya’s fresh farm food distribution company and Africa’s most funded startup, Twiga Foods, is planning to expand its wings to West Africa – a plan that comes after the startup acquired $30 million funding from lenders and investors led by Goldman Sachs.

In the deal which was inked on Friday and announced on Monday, Twiga Food raised a $6.25 million convertible debt from Overseas Private Investment Corporation (Opic) and the Switzerland-based Alpha Mundi and $23.75 million in equity from Goldman Sachs, The World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC), private equity firm TLCom Capital and French investment company Creadev.

In a statement, Twiga Foods said “the Series B will fund the continued development of Twiga’s proprietary technology and logistics assets to support the roll-out of its distribution system and lay the foundations for expansion into other cities on the continent.”

“Goldman Sachs is getting a stake and it will be the lead institutional investor in Twiga. It is providing the bulk of the $23.75 million,” said Twiga Foods’ CEO and Co-founder, Peter Njonjo.

The financing will enable the company to expand its operations and geographic footprint as well as continue to develop its proprietary technology platform.

“This funding enables us to invest in our technology and organization to tackle the inefficiencies in Africa’s domestic food production and distribution ecosystems; a $300bn informal and fragmented market that is estimated to grow to $1trn by 2030. With the support of our investors, we are developing technology-driven commercial solutions and cooperating with existing industry players to solve the challenge of food security in Africa,” Peter added.

Reportedly, the company intends to use the funds to set up a distribution center in Nairobi and other cities in Kenya, including Mombasa. Twiga is also targeting Pan-African expansion by third quarter 2020.

“We’re working on French West Africa…we see significant opportunity in those markets,”added Mr Njonjo, adding that the new countries will be named next year.

So far, the agricultural produce startup is the most funded Twiga is one of the best-funded in Africa. In 2017, it raised $10.3m from investors.

In November 2018 Twiga raised another $10m from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), TLcom, and the Global Agriculture and Food Security Programme.

Twiga reports that it sends produce from over 17,000 producers to 8,000 vendors thrice a week.

Reportedly, Twiga Foods will use the $30m round to set up a distribution centre in Nairobi and expand to more cities in Kenya.

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Banks

Co-Op Bank Profit Grows to Ksh 10.9B in Nine Months

Georgina Korir

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Cooperative Bank Group has reported a Ksh.10.9 billion profit for the third quarter in 2019 representing a 5.8 percent jump in earnings by the lender to the close of September.

The lender which is the third largest by assets in the region, said the growth was driven by its “soaring eagle” transformative agenda that has retooled and equipped the business with added competitive advantage.

The increased issuance of digital loans which serve to raise income derived from fees and commissions have played a major role in the growth in earnings by the bank. Digital loan issuance on MCo-op Cash is rising ahead of the bank’s traditional loan book to Ksh.27.6 billion as the lender’s non-funded income has surged forward by 33 percent to Ksh.14.1 billion

The group’s total operating income grew by 9% from KSh 32.3 billion to KSh 35.2 billion while its total assets grew 9% to KSh 440.8 billion compared to Ksh 404.2 billion in the same period last year.

Nevertheless, Co-op retained its likeness for the Treasury, a departure from observed exits by peers, to increase its investments in the portfolio by a further 13 percent to Ksh.94.6 billion from Ksh.83.2 billion last year.

In spite of the prolific growth of both net loans and advances to customers and deposits, Co-op’s net interest earnings slightly tumbled. While the lender has grown its neighborhood-based banking agents to 16,000, 90 percent of the bank’s customer transactions already sit outside branches.

As gross non-performing loans (NPLs) rose to Ksh.30 billion from Ksh.29 billion, the lender’s operating expenses picked up by a notable 11 percent on the back of higher loan loss provisions

The bank expects to keep by the diversification tune to strengthen its dominance on its core market segment encompassing retail banking and the cooperative movement.

Co-op Group Managing Director Gideon Muriuki reported that “the group continues to leverage on the benefits of the transformation agenda which has re-tooled and equipped the business with added competitive edge as reflected in the sustained growth in market share across all market segments.”

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Companies

Mumias Sugar Company Sacks All Employees Following the Receivership by KCB

Georgina Korir

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Just a month after the Mumias sugar company was placed under receivership by the Kenya Commercial Bank; all the employees working at the company have been sacked.

The company was placed under receivership by KCB owing to the numerous debts which the it owed the bank dating back to 1972. The company had borrowed Ksh10 million as loan from KCB and it took more between 1972 and 2014 which amounted to more than Ksh3 billion all together.

“Consequent to the company being placed in receivership, all employees’ contracts stand terminated from the date of receivership i.e. 20th September, 2019.” This, the company said in a letter dated November 5, 2019. The Mumias Sugar Company however said that all affected employees would be lawfully compensated.

“Any payment to the affected employees shall be dealt with in accordance with the provision of the law,” the letter read in part. New staff will be hired so as to keep the company operational and most of the priority will be given to the now former employees who have just been fired.

“Accordingly, the Receiver shall engage the services of any employee on a temporary basis on mutually agreeable terms until the time when the operations resume. Priority will however be given to the past employees while recruiting the staff on temporary basis until the time when the company’s operations are revived,” ended the letter.

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Apps

Optiven Group Launches Kenya’s Inaugural Real Estate App at an Event in Nairobi

Inversk Review

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Kenya’s leading land developer, Optiven group, on Friday morning launched the inaugural Real Estate mobile app in Kenya. The event which was held at the Hotel Fairmont The Norfolk in Nairobi’s CBD gathered hundreds of land owners and real estate enthusiasts including Optiven group clients. The launch was led by the company’s Chief, Mr. George Wachiuri.

The app, which has already been availed at play store will allow prospective land owners to access all their investments solutions from the company at the comfort of their hands.

User with android phones can download the app available on play store through this link while their IOS counterparts and those using personal computers can visit plots.optiven.co.ke.

The mobile app will allow one to view properties on offer (satellite photos, maps, topography and even track the development your projects in real-time from any part of the world), make project selection and proceed to check out.  No brokers, no paperwork, no hassle.

As a multiple award-winning property development pacesetter in East Africa, Optiven Group has over 20 years’ experience in the real estate market.

Alongside its head office in the capital, the company also has offices in South Africa as well as satellite branches in the US and Europe.

The company offers flexible payments for everyone. Where clients are allowed to pay property in installments in up to 24 months through cash, bank financing, Wave, MPESA, PoaPay.

Now through the mobile app, Optiven is allowing everyone to partner with them (as an affiliate) and earn a commission between $200 – $500. Registration of affiliate partners is done through this link.

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