Africa business strategist Dr Harnet Bokrezion shares four steps for…
Ghanaian agritech startup Kwidex has developed a web platform that allows African farmers and agribusinesses to source funds from the public in exchange for a share of their profits at the end of a farming cycle, project or campaign.
The crowdfunding platform has launched in public beta and has already seen successful fundraising activity. Below, Eugene Ofori Asiedu, CTO of the fast-rising company, shares more insights on how Kwidex works.
Give us a breakdown of Kwidex – what challenge are you solving in Ghana’s agritech industry?
Kwidex is a crowdfunding platform that allows everyday people to invest in agriculture for returns after a specified period. We are solving the issue of access to flexible and cheap financing in Ghana.
Was crowdfunding always part of your plan?
Yes, we always had the concept in mind, but until our market research which was conducted a year before we officially launched we didn’t know it was called crowdfunding. We realised a gap between people who had disposal income with nowhere to spend it and people who needed some form of capital to either start or expand their business. This was no different in the case of agriculture, where farmers and agricultural value chain players had little or no money to fund their activities, and people [mostly urban dwellers] with disposal income not finding viable investment opportunities. Kwidex decided to bridge this gap by bringing these urban dwellers and sponsor farmers together.
Tell us more about the platform, how does it work?
Our platform is very easy to use. A typical interaction would follow these steps; log in [for old users] or register [for new users] on kwidex.com. Upload your project, if you are seeking funds for your agricultural project. Projects typically will consist of a story and an offer. Funders will browse through existing projects and pick any to fund using mobile money wallets, Visa or Mastercards. Funders will then wait for bi-weekly updates on projects they fund. Repayment is done after a specified period.
In May 2019, Kwidex was named winner of the first Betway Fintech Challenge. In the previous year, the team also raised pre-seed funding of US$10,000 from DAI Global LLC. How did this help the company to grow?
The pre-seed funding of US$10,000 from DAI Global LLC came after we participated in the Kosmos Innovation Center Agritech Challenge 2018. The package included a workspace, business development, technical support and capacity building. With all of these in place we easily created our minimum viable product [MVP] and tested it with our first users. The participation in the Betway Fintech Challenge made us aware of other opportunities in the agritech space and directly helped us in training some farmers on improved farming techniques.
Kwidex is now in the public beta phase. How long will the test run, and how many users are currently on board?
The public beta test phase runs for a year and ends in December 2019. Currently, Kwidex has 635 users with 205 of them being active funders.
What kind of activity are you seeing between contributors and farmers on the platform so far?
We realised that contributors are interested in the activities of the farmers on our platform. They take keen interest in following updates provided by our farmers and project owners.
Are you seeing profitable results?
Our venture has been profitable. We have successfully run projects which paid back and we are hoping to replicate this across the continent.
Who is a part of the Kwidex team?
Our CEO Seyram Kofi Mantey, our COO Prince Asamoah and I make up the Kwidex team.
What’s the next move for Kwidex?
One of our next moves for Kwidex is the launch of our mobile application. Kwidex has had 100% pay back rate for all the projects that got funded on our platform. We were able to achieve this with some models we put in place. So, we plan to maintain this record for all future projects. We want everyday people to share in this initiative by funding projects.
Finish this sentence: In 2020, Africa will be…
Digitally transformed in major sectors like agriculture that contribute largely to its economy.