The Kenya-founded data analytics company Gro Intelligence has raised a US$85 million Series B funding round, by some way the largest funding round ever raised by an African tech startup, to accelerate the growth and global adoption of its platform.
Founded in Nairobi in 2014 and now also with offices in New York, Gro Intelligence is an AI-powered insights company that provides decision-making tools, solutions and analytics to the food, agriculture, and climate economies and their participants.
The Gro Intelligence platform aggregates, normalises and models complex data to illuminate the inter-relationships between food, climate, trade, agriculture, and macro-economic conditions, integrating over 40,000 data sets and processing north of 650 trillion data points for customer segments that range from governments to financial institutions, agricultural input companies, retailers, food and beverage companies, and various other industry participants.
Its US$85 million Series B round, which by Disrupt Africa’s estimates and definition of an “African tech startup” is the largest yet raised within the African tech startup ecosystem, was co-led by Intel Capital, Africa Internet Ventures (a strategic partnership between TPG Growth and EchoVC), and the family offices of Ronald Lauder and Eric Zinterhofer.
Other new investors included Schusterman Family Investments, Dick Parsons, Rethink Food and various strategic family offices, while they were joined by previous investors DCVC and GGV Capital.
The financing will be used to accelerate the growth and global adoption of the Gro Platform, enhancing the platform’s machine-learning capabilities and delivering localised insights on food, agriculture and climate risk.
“Food security and climate risk represent existential global-sized opportunities for our AI-powered decisions and insights platform. We see a tremendous need for the market knowledge provided by the Gro Platform,” said Sara Menker, Gro’s founder and chief executive officer (CEO).
“Our customers have come to rely on Gro as a unique source of actionable data-driven insights about our food supply and models to measure and manage associated climate change risk to physical and financial assets across the globe. We are absolutely delighted to welcome our new investors and continue to be grateful to our existing investors for their support.”
Trina Van Pelt, senior managing director of Intel Capital, said she was excited to co-lead the investment round because Gro Intelligence’s technology aligned with her company’s mission of unleashing the power of data to improve the world.
“Gro Intelligence is one of the most exciting AI companies and is tackling two of the world’s biggest challenges: food security and climate risk. Their software-based platform will drive compute-powered cross-border knowledge to surface meaningful insights and enable better informed agricultural decisions,” she said.
Through its partnership with EchoVC, TPG Growth also led Gro’s Series A-2 financing round in 2017.
“Gro Intelligence has had a remarkable journey so far and demonstrates the growing importance of AI in driving a more sustainable food supply,” said Yemi Lalude, managing partner of TPG Africa. “TPG Growth is proud to have supported the company from its beginnings in Nairobi to the forefront of today’s efforts to make companies and institutions across multiple industries around the world more resilient to climate change and climate risk.”