Agripoa is a Tanzanian agtech startup started by Placidius Castus Rwechungura in 2019 to digitize poultry farming. It has a farm management software/app that uses Artificial Intelligence to help African poultry farmers to plan, monitor and analyze farm activities.
The software allows agronomists and veterinary officers to create different farm groups and effectively supervise them. The Agripoa app currently has 20,000 farmers subscribed and will soon extend to countries such as Kenya and Ethiopia in 2021, the app founder, Rwechungura, told How We Made It In Africa.
Rwechungura started his agtech firm from his savings and a $5,000 grant he received from the Tony Elumelu Foundation. Together with his partner, Kelvin, they also raised funds from Seedstars.
Rwechungura describes the raising of funds from Seedstars as his most exciting entrepreneurial moment. “It was a massive milestone for us, in that we were trusted with such a big brand and we had not even begun to make revenues,” he said.
Like many other businesses on the continent, Agripoa has faced its own challenges. Rwechungura said the lack of policies on data ownership and sharing has been some of the risks to his startup. “The big risk is with farm data policies and open farm data-sharing principles,” he said.
In November, Rwechungura’s startup was among some 25 others on the continent that were selected by the Agriculture Development Bank for concessional funding. This was after the firm advanced to the final round of the African Development Bank’s AgriPitch competition.
In his interview with How We Made It In Africa., Rwechungura talked about how his biggest mistake in his entrepreneurial journey was seeking to raise money from investors without having a minimum viable product (MVP). “We thought we could get funds just because our business idea was good. We’ve learnt that investors put money into serious businesses; those with a decent product and some early-adopter clients,” he said.
He described Agripoa as the best substitute for farm experts struggling to manage large WhatsApp groups. What’s more, with Rwechungura’s software, one does not need to meet physically with a farm expert amid the pandemic. Instead, one can use their smartphone to search for online experts, farm input suppliers, experienced farmers, create farm groups and new projects as well as record daily expenses, the company’s website says.