The world’s largest platform for small-scale farmers will expand its SMS service into an online platform following an £8 million funding injection.
Since 2015, Wefarm has provided 2.5 million farmers with a free, AI-driven SMS tool to connect them with each other and a trusted marketplace. This is part of an ongoing trend of UK bulk SMS services offered to improve agricultural businesses.
The round was led by Octopus Ventures, with participation from new and existing investors, including True Ventures, Rabo Frontier Ventures, LocalGlobe, June Fund and AgFunder. This round of investment brings Wefarm’s total funding to $32m.
Over the last few years, Wefarm’s platform has enabled farmers – vital for the world’s food production – to connect with one another and leverage the power of their community.
Millions of these farmers can combine their knowledge and buying power as they tackle global challenges that are impacting their yields such as climate change, limited soil fertility and growing demands for food worldwide.
Wefarm’s platform enables farmers to connect to their community, so they can know more, buy smarter, and sell better. To date, 2.5 million farmers have connected with one another for free and without access to the internet via the Wefarm SMS platform.
The company pioneered this offline technology for the market in 2015. Over 37 million knowledge-sharing conversations have taken place on the Wefarm SMS service, while the marketplace has generated $29m in sales.
The online expansion of the SMS service features a forum-based platform. This will enable farmers to work together to solve problems, support each other, and aggregate their buying and selling power to change the global supply chain.
“Wefarm is building the definitive platform and network for the world’s biggest vertical,” said founder and CEO Kenny Ewan. “This is perhaps the largest community on Earth and yet it’s been vastly underserved by tech.
“Today, the community is ready to expand into an online space with us. We have years of learnings and millions of data points to strengthen our first-mover advantage as we build the online expansion of Wefarm for hundreds of millions of farmers.
Kamran Adle, early stage investor at Octopus Ventures, added: “By building a highly engaged community of millions of small-holder farmers, Wefarm has created a powerful platform providing greater access to vital knowledge and information, which allows farmers to unlock greater economic potential from their land.
“In practice that might mean understanding which fertilisers work best, what the market price is for certain goods, or new farming techniques that result in better yields, all of which can make a significant difference to livelihoods.
“It’s also an enormous market with more than 400 million small-holder farmers globally who collectively spend around $400 billion on farming inputs.
“There is a huge opportunity for Kenny and the team at Wefarm to achieve incredible scale and we’re excited for the launch of its digital platform which will further accelerate growth.”