COOKO GmbH, an Ag-tech startup out of Berlin and Cameroon, just announced a successful €800k pre-Seed round to transform value chains into sustainability catalysts. The funding round occurs despite large tech companies downsizing and reductions in venture capital spending, writes EU-Startups.
The investment aims to expedite COOKO’s endeavors to revolutionize the agricultural value chain, particularly in the cocoa sector. With a strong emphasis on prioritizing farmers, COOKO utilizes cutting-edge technology solutions to incentivize traceability right from the initial stages and streamline compliance processes in anticipation of pending EU and German regulations.
According to their website COOKO aims ‘‘globally, (to) agri-produce worth €200-billion gets wasted between the farm and market. And opaque artisanal food chains contribute to deforestation, child labour and economic exploitation, in countries that need participation, not exclusion, from global markets’’.
“After designing the national traceability system for Cameroon, the fourth largest cocoa producer country, COOKO’s unique approach to artisanal agriculture is gaining momentum,” said COOKO founder, Ferdi van Heerden. “By ramping up our owned-and-operated R&D facility in Cameroon’s cocoa heartland, COOKO has turned research and development into a cash-generating activity – where everyone earns starting with farmers.”
After opening their raise in April, COOKO GmbH’s lead investor, a US family office, quickly doubled their existing position, with significant tag-along investments from the earlier friends and family round – indicating trust in the COOKO vision, product, and team. The company closed its seed extension round on 12 June. To date, COOKO has raised more than €1.7 million for its process and solution, since incorporating in July 2021.
Founded in 2021, the company inserts a digital click “at-source” to embed traceability data, ensuring fairer payments to farmers and better systems data for the full value chain. By tripling revenues from the facility inside three months, COOKO demonstrated that not only was there farmer uptake for the approach, but that the proof of concept was scalable. This focus on revenues impressed investors and provided confidence in the product development roadmap.
Operating in the nexus of “ESG data/ fintech/ sustainable-impact” places COOKO in a unique position to leverage multiple revenue streams and high-value data for growth. The current round will provide roughly 12 months of runway in which COOKO will focus on strengthening partnerships through a deeper tech bench.
“COOKO is changing the industry for good by doing good, at source. This investment, in a difficult funding environment, is a vote of confidence in the idea and the industry demand for a real innovation in agricultural value chains,” van Heerden added.
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