Temple Bright advises social enterprise WeFarm on investment

Law firm Temple Bright has advised WeFarm Limited on its £1.4 million seed funding round, which closed in late 2016. WeFarm is a free knowledge sharing service that enables small-scale farmers to connect with other farmers around the world to solve problems, share ideas and spread innovation – all through either SMS or online access.

The investment was led by LocalGlobe, a UK-based venture capital firm which has previously invested in Citymapper, Lovefilm, Moo, TweetDeck, TransferWise and Zoopla. The investment was completed by Accelerated Digital Ventures (ADV), a venture platform dedicated to working with seed stage entities.

With WeFarm’s technology, farmers ask pressing agricultural questions ranging from “how do I stop my baby chicks from dying?” to “how can I find a low cost solution to irrigate my land through this drought?” to “where is the best market to sell onions right now?” They then receive three to five crowdsourced answers in response all via SMS (or online if they have internet access). The service utilises machine-learning technology to direct questions posed on the platform to a subset of users within the network – guaranteeing accurate and timely responses. Data produced from these interactions is yielding commercial insights for food and beverage companies, farming input companies, financial services providers, and non-profit organisations.

WeFarm was originally conceived as a project by the Cafedirect Producers’ Foundation, a non-profit organisation that works with smallholder farmers around the world. It was then spun out as a startup in 2015, after winning Google’s Impact Challenge and joining the prestigious Wayra accelerator in London. It is one of the world’s only venture capital backed social enterprises to have started out as a charity pilot.

Kenny Ewan, Founder and CEO of WeFarm, said: “Closing our seed round has meant that we are able to focus on bringing the very best of machine learning technology to our farmers around the world. As the world’s only peer to peer knowledge network for farmers, we strongly believe that farmers know best how to solve their own problems. We look forward to working with the stellar team at Temple Bright in the months ahead.”

Sam Bryant, Corporate partner at Temple Bright, said: “It was a real privilege, and a pleasure, to advise Kenny and the WeFarm team on their first round of funding. We look forward to building on our strong relationship as the business continues to flourish.”

The investors were advised by London tech lawyers JAG Shaw Baker and national firm Watson Burton. The Temple Bright team also included partner Carol Tricks (Tax).

Temple Bright was established in 2010 using a tech-enabled, streamlined business model and now has 58 partners with offices in London and Bristol. The firm has a focus on corporate finance work across a range of sectors, with a particular emphasis on technology.

This article appeared on the Bdaily website on 14 June 2017.