Complete Farmer: Story, Founders, Investors & Funding Rounds
Founded in 2017, Complete Farmer allows users to own shares in tech-enabled farms. Over the past three years, it has implemented a crowd-farming model with a total of 7,200 acres of production serving commodities to Asia, Europe, and the rest of the world.
Complete Farmer’s platform currently supports over 2,000 acres of farmland across six regions in Ghana, and the startup plans to expand its operations to Kenya and Togo.
This goal has become a lot closer after it became the 21st portfolio company of Ingressive Capital, with a wider round in the works.
Complete Farmer’s approach is to allow anyone in the world to invest in African farms as so-called Digi farmers. It then digitalizes the agricultural value chain end-to-end, all the way to the point of sale.
The way Complete Farmer’s crowd-farming platform works is by getting individual funders to select crops they’re interested in, and then having them invest in producers of those crops within Complete Farmer’s grower network.
Through the platform, Digi farmers can then learn about their farms, monitor the production process, identify buyers of their farms’ goods, and receive payments once harvests are sold.
On the buy side, Complete Farmer runs a marketplace that allows producing buyers to contract directly with growers and follow their orders from production to delivery.
All produce is independently inspected and audited before going out for delivery.
Complete Farmer’s aggregation of crowd funders and buyers helps farmers in two ways.
First, it provides upfront investment which helps growers overcome the lack of access to finance, a critical barrier to their productivity and growth. Second, it guarantees purchase and pricing for their goods.
The startup supports its grower network in fulfilling its contracts by providing information on buyers’ requirements, advisory services, and real-time field analytics.
Farmers and investors alike were skeptical of Complete Farmer’s crowdfunded, tech-based approach when it first arrived on the scene.
To mitigate risk for crowd funders, all of the farms listed on the platform are insured.
Complete Farmer also offers a data dashboard that allows its digi farmers to track every aspect of production and sales, as well as field intelligence. Digifarmers even have the opportunity of visiting the farms they’ve invested in, in person.
Complete Farmer’s platform now lists more than 7,000 acres, 4,000 growers, 3,500 Digi farmers, and 85 buyers.
The majority of its network is based in Ghana, though the company is looking to boost its presence in other markets, including Kenya.
How it Works
To verify your order, an independent auditor will perform an inspection at the farm (onsite) or the port and send you inspection reports based on your preferences before the order is shipped.
Depending on the crop you order, we dedicate production exclusively for your offtake. Their sales team will help you understand seasonality and how it affects your order.
Additionally, depending on the crop cycle and the growing duration, you can schedule the right sourcing schedules on your dashboard to make sure you get your crops when you need them.
Goods in transit can be insured depending on the buyer’s request. A sales agent will work with you to determine your insurance needs and help you get the right insurance to cover your trade risks.
The logistics options Complete Farmer provides cover Land, air, and sea by Incoterms 2020 rules. Buyers can book their preferred logistics option on the platform.
To get verified, during sign-up, Complete Farmer will conduct due diligence to get you verified to enjoy flexible options when sourcing for your crop commodities.
Complete Farmer also has a team of expert agronomists who audit the farms at every stage to ensure farmers are using cultivation protocols. At the end of production, a third-party auditor inspects the crops and reports to buyers.
Complete Farmer ships worldwide and therefore, you can select your preferred shipping service providers on the platform and select your preferred delivery address.
Depending on your order specifications, Complete Farmer provides all required documents from farm setup to delivery, and this can be managed on the buyer dashboard.
Audit reports and traceability reports are provided. You can also choose special quality tests to verify your order specifications before shipment.
All documents required to place an order on the Buyer platform are generated on the platform. Get real-time quotes, and contracts and set payment instructions on the platform.
On top of that, Complete Farmer works with certification organizations to make sure all farms produce crops that are certified to meet international market standards.
The methods of payment available include letters of credit, pre-financing and escrow payments. Discuss the method that suits your needs with their sales team.
You can pay with any currency using escrow services on the platform. For other payment terms, USD is preferred. Their sales team can assist you to set up payments for your order.
Growers will have to only cultivate crops that have existing market demands on the Complete Farmer platform.
Complete Farmer profiles of your lands to know what crops are suitable and match you to the market demand for those crops.
All Growers have access to a farm insurance package offered on the marketplace to ensure that they are protected from the risks of losing their crops to natural hazards and risks.
Complete Farmer has extension agronomists who conduct field visits and satellite base forecasting models and can warn farmers of pending threats and risks.
You can become a grower at any stage in the production season. Whether you are an existing farmer or now planning to start a farming venture, you can join the community of Growers to meet buyers’ demand.
Additionally, anyone at all can be a Grower, whether you are an existing farmer, an engineer, a lawyer, or a busy housewife you can lease land and hire a trained farm manager on the platform and start your farming journey towards profitability.
You can be a grower as long as there is a hungry person in some part of the world. There is no duration limit to how long you can be a Grower with Complete Farmer.
A Grower is any individual or farmer who is looking to increase profitability and feed the world by working with Complete Farmer to improve yields, reduce costs, and farm sustainably for guaranteed premium markets.
You don’t have to pay Complete Farmer to become a Grower. All you need to do is lease land, pay a hired farm manager and pay for the work and inputs of your farms. Complete Farmers make money by ensuring your farm is successful.
Therefore, all you need is the passion and grit needed to become a Grower. Being a Grower and growing crops is a more rewarding way to be part of the agriculture value chain.
Harvest & Fulfillment
After harvest, you only will need to transport the harvest crops to a close-by Complete Farmer fulfillment center to deliver the harvest to Buyers.
Complete Farmers can also organize logistics options to come to pick up from your farm.
At the fulfillment center, packing is done by Complete Farmer to the buyer’s specifications. Only crop produce that meets the Buyers specifications will be packaged.
At the fulfillment center, third-party auditors sample and grade the crop produced and run tests to ensure that it meets quality and buyer specifications. This is a transparent process and you can get audit reports on the platform.
On top of that, Complete Farmers will work with you to meet buyer specifications using its cultivation protocols.
If for some reason you do not meet buyer specifications, Complete Farmer will work with you to get an alternative buyer to sell to at a renegotiated price.
All Growers get paid after grading and sorting at the fulfillment center is completed. Growers receive payment directly into their preferred bank accounts or mobile money wallets of their choice.
In case of production delays due to weather, or other unforeseen circumstances, Complete Farmer informs Buyers of these delays and can extend the delivery period.
Buyers monitor farms in real-time as well and are happy to work together with Growers.
You can pay for inputs directly to Vendors on the marketplace for your farm inputs and services. You can also pay into an escrow account to ensure service or product is delivered to farm requirements before Vendors receive payments.
Additionally, you can pay your land lease directly on the platform and you can set automated payments for your farm manager monthly based on agreed payment terms.
Qualifications & Verifications
All Vendors that provide products and services on the agricultural value chain can list products like fertilizers, chemicals, seeds, labor, tractor services, logistics, insurance, and credit to Growers and Buyers.
Complete Farmer performs checks and audits of all inputs delivered on the platform to ensure consistency with specifications and quality.
Buyers interested in working with Farmers and Buyers to develop and improve their products and services contact the marketplace admin on their dashboard to get registered to work on pilots, demos, and trials to targeted Growers and Buyers.
To be a vendor, you must be a registered company or verified individual to join the platform and work with Growers and Buyers. Sign up and submit the requested documentation for you to get verified as a Vendor.
Complete Farmer works with last-mile logistics services providers that ensure that products are safely transported to fulfillment centers across the country in bulk. Growers can make pick-ups at these centers.
Vendors with their logistics can deliver directly to groups of Growers and Buyers. Complete Farmer can provide the address and location for deliveries to be made.
Growers can set the regions, crops Growers, and farm sizes they will like to deliver products and services. Your listing will only be available to Growers within your specifications.
Complete Farmer will notify you of requests and let you know the lead time to deliver to get products and services on time for increased efficiency for Growers and Buyers.
Vendors get paid for the delivery of work and services in Cash payments by Growers and Buyers directly or use Complete Farmer’s escrow product to ensure payments are made to Complete Farmer and released after completion of work and services.
Complete Farmer ensures Growers and Buyers have paid for the service into an escrow account when requesting products and services and payment is made to the Vendor after completion and delivery of services or products.
Vendors can select their preferred payment options and set payment terms for their products and services when listing products and services.
Additionally, Vendors can offer products and services on credit to vetted and creditworthy Growers and Buyers. Complete Farmer ensures that payment is made to the Vendor after the Vendors agreed terms are met.
Complete Farmer collects feedback from Growers and Buyers after the delivery of services. Also, expert third-party auditors report on product quality, and efficacy, and share insights into improving products and services.
Complete Farmer will also be happy to demonstrate and showcase your product and services to Growers and Buyers and ensure that your product meets the protocol standards. Verified products and services are listed on the platform.
Complete Farmer will investigate Vendors whose products do not meet standards and protocols. Vendors who do not meet these standards will not be allowed to place listings on the marketplace until corrections are made to products and services.
As a Vendor, you can use the Complete Farmer Targeting Solution to ensure that Growers and Buyers that need your products learn more about your listings. Vendors can also run campaigns and promotions to target Growers and Buyers.
Desmond Koney is the founder and CEO of Complete Farmer.
He previously worked at Cibus Technologies as a Chief Executive Officer.
Desmond Koney attended Kwame Nkrumah’s University of Science and Technology, Kumasi.
Investors & Funding Rounds
Complete Farmer has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Ingressive Capital as it plans to expand into other markets.
Ingressive Capital is a venture capital fund that targets pre-seed and seed-stage tech businesses in both the B2B and B2C spaces. Previously, it announced a new US$10 million fund, and it has been gradually adding new portfolio companies to add to the likes of Paystack, 54 genes, and Tizeti.
This investment comes at the right time as many African farmers have struggled to bounce back from the ripple effects of the coronavirus pandemic amongst a host of other policy and infrastructural problems Complete Farmer is solving.
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