How this Nigerian startup is targeting the $300 billion pan-African food market

Nigerian startup FoodLocker, a farm produce and consumer goods aggregator for large buyers, is aiming to secure a sizeable slice of the US$300 billion Sub-Saharan African food market through its innovative and impactful platform.

Launched in December 2017, FoodLocker forecasts foodstuff demand through deep machine learning, thus enabling large-scale buyers to efficiently procure fast-moving consumer goods and fresh produce from smallholder farmers. 

“Ours is a production management and a market access platform that supports smallholder farmers with inputs, credit and expertise with the objective of meeting the needs of large buyers. We operate a demand-first model that is supported by our demand-forecasting algorithm. We serve both B2B and B2C channels for strategic reasons,” Femi Aiki, chief executive officer (CEO) of FoodLocker told Disrupt Africa.

Having put together a team that has over 40 years of cumulative work experience with global brands such as Amazon, Bunnings, Unilever and Coca Cola, FoodLocker is targeting the US$60 billion market for food in Nigeria, and beyond that the US$300 billion pan-African market.

“That market is underserved in terms of affordability, availability, quality, and procurement efficiency,” said Aiki. “Supply-demand imbalances are huge across multiple value chains, and markets are fragmented and disorganised.”

As a result, uptake of the FoodLocker solution has been “very encouraging”.

“We serve customers in Lagos, Ibadan, Abeokuta, Port Harcourt, Warri and Abuja, and also France, the UK and the US. We have pan-African expansion plans along channels, markets, customer types, and products,” Aiki said.

The startup has also won a host of competitions and challenges, including the AgriPitch and Thrive Africa challenges, and has taken on small amounts of funding from investors including, among others, Founders Factory Africa.

“We are currently raising a seed round to support smallholder farmers in three value chains,” said Aiki.

FoodLocker monetises by selling farm produce and consumer goods to B2B and B2C customers. 

“We also have new revenue streams that will come onstream for our technology products in 2021. We operate a profitable growth model and have been profitable a number of times on a monthly basis,” Aiki said. “We grew through COVID-19, and revenues are growing significantly month-to-month.”

The future certainly looks bright for this ambitious agri-tech company.

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