Twiga Foods has received a major boost, receiving new investors from France. The richest Family in France, the Mulliez Family has bought an undisclosed stake worth half a billion shillings.
A statement from the family’s investment arm, Creadev announced the financial boost.
“Creadev, a global long-term investment firm wholly funded by the Mulliez family, has today announced a secondary investment of USD 5 million in Twiga Foods, a Kenyan-based technology based B2B platform that aggregates retail demand and efficiently provides low cost access to better quality food,” said the statement announcing the deal.
As part of the deal, early investors in Twiga Foods including, Adolf H. Lundin Charitable Foundation, Blue Haven Ventures, Crescat Limited, Omidyar Networks, Index Ventures through Project Hand Purpose Trust, and Uqalo, have partially sold their stake as part of a strategy to accommodate later stage and longer-term investors.
The Mulliezes have a net worth of US$37.5 billion, easily the most affluent family in France. The patriarch, Gerard Mulliez was the first richest person in France and 18th wealthiest person in the world.
According to Business Insider, they are the 12th richest family in the world. Their main source of wealth, Auchan, is one of the biggest supermarket chains in Europe.
The Twiga food platform uses mobile phone technology to connect smallholder farmers in rural areas to informal retail vendors in the cities. The company helps in transferring food produce from the farm to a retailer who will sell it to city dwellers.
This has created a more transparent and efficiency in the supply chain, delivering the product directly to the retailers and reducing post-harvest losses on fresh produce. Farmers have an easier and more predictable access to market, enabling them to increase their revenues; while retailers use the m-Commerce platform to easily order high-quality food products which are delivered directly at their shops while end-customers get access to higher quality and safer food at cheaper prices.
The CEO of Twiga Foods, Peter Njonjo said “Having Creadev join our shareholding is a huge boost to our mission to deliver safe, affordable high-quality food to urban consumers, while providing reliable markets for farmers. It will support our efforts towards growing our ecosystem of farmers and retailers”.
Twiga currently works with 17,000 farmers, and 2,500 retailers daily and is looking to further expand its operations within and outside Kenya. Peter Njonjo, a co-founder in Twiga, recently joined as CEO, a move that was well received by the investor community as the company sought to strengthen its management team. Peter, a Kenyan was until recently President of Coca-Cola’s West and Central Africa business, where he had an illustrious 21-year career.
Earlier in the month, Twiga announced a partnership with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to help boost food safety in the country. The initiative, which was termed by IFC Regional Director for Eastern Africa as a rare one, is meant on applying global quality certification to food products destined for the domestic, rather than export market.
Under the agreement, IFC will advise the company (Twiga foods) on food safety and quality management systems in its produce handling facilities. Twiga’s staff will also be trained on internationally accepted practices. The agreement came as an addition to a sh1 billion investment into Twiga Foods, made in November 2018. IFC, Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) and TL com- a Pan-African venture capital firm contributed to the investment to help Twiga expand operations and offer new services.
Sarah Ngamau and Pierre Fauvet, who head Creadev’s activities in Africa, said they are excited with the long-term partnership with Twiga as they answer a massive market need: the structuration and formalization of the food logistics supply chain. “We are impressed by Twiga’s fast growth, driven by an experienced and result-oriented management team.”
They added that they will leverage on Creadev’s international retail network and future funding capacity to support the team in executing their ambitious expansion plan and continue delivering their strong value proposition to small-holder farmers, informal retailers, and end customers.