PepsiCo fund invests in South African agri-tech start-up

A fund with R600-million in capital to invest, has acquired a stake in agri-tech start-up Khula to help underpin the company’s expansion plans. The value and size of the stake was not disclosed.

The Kgodiso Development Fund is an independent fund founded by PepsiCo South Africa whose aim is to help emerging farmers achieve commercial success.

In South Africa, PepsiCo’s brands include Weet-Bix, Simba, Liqui-Fruit, Lay’s, Sasko and White Star.

With an initial investment of R600-million, the fund aims to enhance market-driven programmes, co-create innovative solutions alongside key partners and scale its impact through investments.

Founded by Karidas Tshintsholo (CEO), Jackson Dyora and Matthew Piper, Khula connects South African farmers with suppliers, bulk buyers and financing in a “connected digital ecosystem”.

“It’s important to have a marketplace and ecosystem that allows farmers to grow, bridging the gaps and solving their initial access to market problems,” said Tshintsholo.

“PepsiCo joining the ecosystem positions Khula well for off-takes on its trader platform, and PepsiCo’s global presence and value chain will support Khula’s ambition of scaling beyond South Africa.”

Local challenges

PepsiCo Africa, Middle East and South Asia CEO Eugene Willemsen said partnerships with companies like Khula help to address local development challenges.

“They tackle knowledge and skills gaps across the South African food system to affect real, large-scale strategic transformation; and the scale and reach of PepsiCo opens up a new route to market for farmers and producers.”

Read: Naspers to invest R100-million in agritech start-up Aerobotics

PepsiCo and the Kgodiso Fund join Absa, AECI and E Squared as shareholders in Khula.  – © 2023 NewsCentral Media

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