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Absa Bank buys stake in agri-tech start-up Khula!

Left-Right: Faisal Mkhize, chief executive for relationship banking at Absa Group. Abrie Rautenbach, Absa Group head of AgriBusiness. Karidas Tshintsholo, Co-founder and CEO of Khula Photo: foodformzansi.co.za

One of South Africa’s flourishing tech companies Khula! App has marked a game changing partnership in the agricultural sector with Absa. The bank acquired a minority stake in the award-winning start-up app as part of its digital and transformation journey.

The 2015 Anzisha Prize Fellow, co-founder and CEO of Khula!, Karidas Tshintsholo, credits Absa with helping to put Khula! on the map, as the company has worked closely with them to help spread their wings.

“The decision to add Absa to our capitalisation table is a very strategic and long-term decision. We are aligned in our interests and how we see the industry transforming over the next few years,” Tshintsholo stated, highlighting the shared vision that propelled this significant move forward.

The transaction marks the continuation of a partnership that started in 2018. Since first piloting the solution with roughly 400 farmers, the app has attracted more than 7 000 active users and offers in excess of 5 000 products via its Input Marketplace.

Khula! has built an ecosystem of three platforms that addresses challenges across the agricultural value chain. Furthermore, the funder dashboard, currently in development, will connect buyers and sellers, facilitating seamless transactions and linking farmers in need of funding with potential investors.

Matthew Piper, Khula! co-founder believes this collaboration will transform the way SMEs access markets and contracts, ultimately propelling their business growth.

Khula! won the grand prize at the 2018 MTN Business App of the Year Awards. In addition, the agritech startup came out tops at the Chivas Venture 2019 SA final and was selected as the winner of the KPMG Private Enterprise Tech Innovator in Africa competition in 2021.

Learn more about Karidas and his entrepreneurship journey by downloading his case study here.

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