Senegalese startup Bayseddo, which allows users to crowd invest in agriculture, has facilitated US$400,000 in investments in the last 18 months.
Formed after founder Mamadou Sall visited France and saw that all land was put to good use producing crops for local consumption, something which was not happening back home in Senegal, Bayseddo links farmer associations with land but no funds with potential investors.
“Our business model creates a win-win-win scenario, allowing farmers to increase their standard of living in rural areas, investors to get a return on investment of between 12 and 25 per cent in six months, and us to contribute to the eradication of the food self-sufficiency myth in all of Africa. We are in every step of the value chain, from input level to harvest and sale,” Sall told Disrupt Africa.
“Our platform is predicated upon the fact that a large number of people want to invest in agriculture in Africa, but lack a proper introduction to the environment. We make it convenient for them. There is also approximately 1.2 million hectares of unexploited arable land in Senegal alone, and that is an enormous opportunity.”
Bayseddo stands alone in Senegal, but startups with similar models have succeeded elsewhere, most notably Farmcrowdy and Thrive Agric in Nigeria. This first-to-market status has helped the startup secure real traction, and more than US$400,000 has been invested through its platform so far.
“We work with 135 farmers, and have more than 150 investors,” said Sall.
“Successfully operating projects to terms, and giving investors their promised return on investments have been the engine of our growth, because happy investors tend to share their happy experiences with fellow investors. The same goes for producers. Reluctant ones at first became believers in our system because we do not compromise on either the quality of our products or the commitment needed.”
The startup, which takes 25 per cent of the margin from any project run through its platform, raised US$100,000 in funding late last year from the Délégation de l’Entrepreneuriat Rapide (DER), a financing vehicle launched by the Senegalese government to boost the local tech scene, and has already begun expanding.
“We’re also operating in Mali in partnership with Orange Mali. The next step is the entire West African region,” Sall said.
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