Wed. Oct 4th, 2023

Oghenetega Lortim constructed Nigerian-based chilly chain startup Figorr after imagining higher technique of storage and transportation of temperature-sensitive merchandise, following the post-harvest losses from his recent agro-produce enterprise.

Figorr (beforehand Gricd) runs IoT-powered options that present companies, particularly these in healthcare and agriculture, with key information reminiscent of location, humidity, and temperature of highly-perishable merchandise, serving to entrepreneurs to chop the losses that emerge from lack of such visibility. Figorr’s gadgets, that are positioned/caught in chilly storage setups, come for gratis, however customers subscribe to entry the collected information.

Lortim says Figorr is at the moment on an growth bid, following a rise in demand for its options exterior Nigeria. The growth is pushed by a profitable $1.5 million seed funding it has raised in a spherical led by Atlantica Ventures, with participation from Vested World, Jaza Rift and Katapult. The startup has thus far raised $1.7 million fairness funding, and $275K grants from numerous entities such because the Google Black Founders Fund, Africa Enterprise Heroes by Jack Ma Basis, FbStart, and Lafiya Innovators by Impression Hub.

Outdoors Nigeria, Figorr’s options are at the moment utilized in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda. It just lately entered the Kenyan market to faucet the expansion of its agriculture sector.

“Kenya is a really fascinating marketplace for us, particularly due to the agricultural play. We additionally consider it may very well be a really key springboard into new markets,” Lortim, Figorr founder and CEO, informed TechCrunch.

Figorr can be set to launch a threat administration platform earlier than the yr ends, which is able to present insurance coverage firms with the information wanted to introduce tailored merchandise to their clients. The platform will probably be constructed in opposition to the information that Figorr has been gathering during the last three years to indicate the danger profiles of its clients.

Lortim believes that with appropriate and particular information, insurance coverage firms will probably be higher positioned to offer tailor-made merchandise.

“One main problem we’ve seen by serving the sector is that quite a lot of our clients concern getting notifications that their merchandise are being uncovered to harsh circumstances, and that is just because traditionally, perishables are a dangerous sector,” mentioned Lortim.

“We’re serving to insurance coverage firms to see the chance by offering them with the information [and] for our buyer, if one thing goes improper, they’ll have some consolation that insurance coverage is offering them with some stage of protection,” he mentioned.

He says the insurance coverage answer its constructing will revolutionize the way in which enterprise is completed, particularly for smallholder farmers.

Lortim mentioned having insurance coverage is not going to solely insure companies from losses, but in addition guarantee merchandise are cheaper as companies is not going to must move prices rising from losses all the way down to their clients.

Lortim launched Figorr in 2019, as a supplier of cell solar-powered storage bins, earlier than pivoting to double down on the IoT part of the product.

“Once we constructed the answer, lots of people have been extra occupied with that IoT part, and in 2020 we determined to give attention to serving to companies monitor, temperature-sensitive merchandise, informing them on the placement as effectively, serving to them preempt and forestall losses from occurring,” he mentioned.

Lortim expects Figorr to proceed rising buoyed by the fast-rising alternatives in Africa’s agriculture and well being sectors.

In Nigeria, the gadget is principally used within the healthcare sector to watch temperature-sensitive merchandise like vaccines and insulin, whereas in markets like Kenya, there may be demand within the agriculture quarter, particularly by horticulture companies.

In sub-Saharan Africa, 37% of the meals produced, or 120-170 kg/yr per capita, is misplaced or wasted resulting from poor storage and dealing with, but that is preventable if the meals is stored safely and monitored in real-time to forestall losses. It’s estimated that half of the vaccines on the earth go to waste primarily resulting from cold-chain breaches.

Startups like Figorr are serving to forestall these losses brought on by poor storage, and lack of monitoring.

“What we’re constructing is one thing that basically impacts individuals,” mentioned Lortim. “You possibly can truly see the actual impact on individuals’s lives by way of accessibility to well being care, and improved incomes.”

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