U.K.-based Wefarm announced today it has raised $11 million in Series A funding for its knowledge-sharing platform for small-scale farmers. The round was led by Octopus Ventures with participation from new and existing investors including True Ventures, Robo Frontier Ventures, LocalGlobe, June Fund, and AgFunder. The investment brings Wefarm’s total to $32 million.
The company says it will use the new funding to expand its service from an SMS-based tool to a fully online platform where farmers can share knowledge and advice as well as get access to a marketplace of retailers.
Wefarm started in 2015 as a simple SMS tool for small-scale farmers around the world to connect with one another and share farming know-how. Since then, the company has also added a Retailer network that connects farmers with nearby, independent retailers known for selling high-quality, trusted farm products. The underlying goal with both networks is to put more power in the hands of farmers when it comes to knowledge-sharing and buying and selling goods.
The platform started as a simple SMS tool because many small-scale farmers around the world do not have reliable access to the internet. They do, however, typically have mobile phones, and WeFarm says that since its launch, 37 million conversations have taken place with its SMS tool.
Wefarm’s launch of a fully online platform comes at a time when internet connectivity is less scarce than it used to be in certain parts of the world. In a statement sent to The Spoon, Wefarm CEO Kenny Ewan noted that the world’s small-scale farming community “is ready to expand into an online space with us.”
The online expansion arrives as a forum-like platform that 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.” Farmers can also continue to use the SMS tool if they prefer.