In September 2017, we invested in Arifu, a Kenyan-based digital platform providing high-quality educational content to low income populations, including youth.
In developing markets such as Kenya, low income populations struggle to access the relevant and affordable information that improves their quality of life. This is because, often, they lack regular connection to the internet, and the necessary information is rarely packaged in an easily accessible way.
Founded in 2013, Arifu solves this problem by providing a digital platform, including a chatbot and a content marketplace. Information on this platform is related to agricultural practices, health, entrepreneurship, etc. and is accessible through SMS, without requiring internet access. Arifu aims to leverage artificial intelligence in order to provide speedy and tailored answers to the customers’ questions, ranging from health advice to recommendations on how to maximize their agricultural yield.
Today 640,000 customers benefit from Arifu’s services, and their access to Arifu’s platform yields real results in their daily lives. For example, farmers using the Arifu platform for agricultural advice have experienced ~55% increase in agricultural yield and ~190 USD additional income/acre.
Optimizer Foundation provided a convertible loan alongside the impact investing firms Global Partnerships/Eleos Social Venture Fund and Mercy Corps Social Venture Fund in September 2017. We then provided a follow-on investment in August 2018 to support Arifu’s next phase of growth, such as expanding geographic access and confirming key hires to enable their future scale. We are looking forward to work closely with Arifu over the coming years, supporting scale up of the organization across East Africa and the broader continent.