11 Nov

After a competitive pitching process on 2nd October 2013, FarmDrive was selected to represent C4DLab in the Agrihack Championship Finals in Kigali. They spent the rest of October refining their product.

Farmdrive aims to increase access to financial services (loans) by acting as a disruptive platform that bypasses traditional lenders (Banks,MFI) and directly connects investors and farmers. It enables individuals who are interested in farming (both livestock and crop) to invest their disposable income with smallholder farmers interested in commercial farming. The farmer is encouraged to keep expense and revenue records on the platform not only to be eligible for loans but to also benefit from insightful analytics. Although loans are awarded to individual farmers, they are expected to form small groups of  five (5) on the platform in order to act as a verification tool and reduce delinquency through social pressure. Farmdrive has completed the conceptual stage and is currently under active development.

On Sunday November 3, 2013, 2 representative from FarmDrive (a team of 5) accompanied by a graduate assistant from the lab left for the Final hackathon competition in Kigali.

L-R: Anthony Nandaa (C4DLab Representative), James Kimani & Caroline (Team FarmDrive) and Mugethi Gitau (iHub Representative) pose for a photo at Serena Kigali, where the main ICT4Ag Conference was going on.

It was a 3 days hackathon. Most of the time at the hackathon was spent refining the business models of the products, with the help of mentors sourced from industry.

Then came the D-day, Thursday November 7, 2013, that was the pitching day. FarmDrive was pitching against 8 other products from various hubs across Eastern Africa.

Team FarmDrive getting ready to do the final pitch to the judges.

Caroline Muteti pitching FarmDrive.

James Kimani taking questions from the judges after the pitch.

Contrary to many people’s expectations, FarmDrive did not make it to top 3 but was a great experience for the team. There was one investor interested in investing in FarmDrive, and was ready to hold talks with the team.

The team will receive an award of € 800.00 for being national winners, representing C4DLab.

Congratulation to the team for the spirited fight!

Ensibuko, from Uganda, were declared the winners for designing a web and mobile application, also called Ensibuko, that enables savings and credit cooperative societies of smallholder rural farmers to mobilise savings and receive and disburse loans. The team members were Opio Obwangamoi, Gerald Otim, Kalinzi Kalinzi, Winnie Muhoozi and Angella Nkalubo. They were supported by Outbox Hub.

Second prize went to MAgric of Ethiopia for their product AgriVas, an information resource centre for farmers delivering information via radio, SMS and the Internet. The team was supported by the hub IceAddis. Third prize was awarded to the Ugandan all women group, Agrinfo, who developed the Agrinfo web-based and mobile geographic information system platform for mapping farms and lands.

The three winning teams received seed grants of €5000, €4000 and €3000 respectively. The hubs which nominated the winning teams also received a €3000 grant to undertake post-competition incubation and business support for the winning teams.

More information on the hackathon can be found here, and FarmDrive photos here.