As a membership organisation we value the contributions that each organisation brings to the network. Therefore we highlight new members as they join our community.
This month we talk to new associate member AGDevCo
1. Please tell us a little bit about your organisation and your objectives?
AgDevCo is a social venture capital fund operating exclusively in the African agriculture sector. We provide long-term risk capital (debt and equity) and management support to early-stage farming and food processing businesses. Our investments range in size from $250k to $4m.
Our mission is to reduce poverty and improve food security. Our belief is that responsible investment in the agriculture sector is the best way of achieving that mission. The majority of our funding comes from large donor agencies and private foundations.
We aim to make positive financial returns across the portfolio, but ultimately our success is measured against the development impacts we deliver (jobs, farmer incomes, government tax revenues etc.) and our ability to leverage additional private capital into our investees.
In the past five years we have made 35 investments in five African countries with total committed funds to date of $41 million. Our investees have linked 38,000 farmers to markets, created 1,200 jobs and been able to leverage more than $15m of commercial capital.
2. How do you think the venture philanthropy approach could help your organisation in achieving more social impact?
The entrepreneurs we support face multiple challenges – not least local bureaucracy, poor infrastructure and a lack of reliable service providers. To achieve impact at scale they need a combination of financial and nonfinancial support – precisely what the venture philanthropy approach offers. By learning how others are doing venture philanthropy we can help our investees achieve more social impact.
3. What would you like to offer to the EVPA Community?
With five years of impact investing experience behind us, we have some experience to share on the opportunities and tough realities of investing in African agriculture. We’ve also been on a learning curve about how to build robust systems to measure and report on societal impact.
For investors, we can offer a growing pipeline of de-risked investment opportunities with African agricultural SMEs, which are generating positive cash flows, have strong governance and financial systems, and experienced management teams.
4. What would you like to gain from EVPA membership and what are you mostly looking forward to?
We look forward to meeting like-minded organisations who are tackling some of the world’s toughest challenges through venture philanthropy. We would like to learn how others are balancing financial and impact objectives. We are also always looking for partners for co-investment and/ or to provide grant support to our investees.
Past Q&As with EVPA members: