Any Southeast Asian will tell you that they absolutely cannot live without rice. Consumed in different forms and being incorporated in their languages itself, it’s a big part of their culture. Unfortunately, many farmers from the Philippines still live in poverty despite being the ones to provide the country’s staple food. According to a 2016 IFAD report, the reason why it is such is due to a decline in agricultural productivity and because “the rural poor….lack access to affordable financial services.”
This is where Cropital, a finantech startup from the Philippines comes in. It was launched back in November 2015 and founded by Ruel Amparo, Rachel de Villa, and Everett Ubiadas. Cropital is a crowdfunding platform that lets users invest in farmers to help them raise capital.
Source: Go Negosyo
Interested investors begin by signing up on the website and choosing between a short-term investment or a long-term investment. They will then use a virtual wallet service to pay for the investments, with the maximum amount being roughly $1,000. Once the payment is processed, the resources are given to the farmers, and the investment begins.
Once the farmer’s harvest is sold, investors will get a cut off of their profits. They’ll also get back the capital that they invested initially. The share’s value will rely heavily on the status of the crop and the risk involved. CEO Amparo says that investors can get around 8% of the profit as an average return. This means that if you invest $1,000, you can get back roughly $1070 to $1080. It may seem small, but once you ramp up the numbers to millions over time, it’s actually quite a lot. You have to act fast though, due to the amount of users and so little farms, a single farm usually gets funded in as little as 15 minutes.
During their initial launch, the company was successful in raising $10,000 in less than 3 days. That’s when Amparo realized that “There are really a lot of people interested in helping out farmers and at the same time, finding or getting modest returns and for us, we see it as an opportunity to help more or to impact more lives.” These farmers are usually unqualified to get loans from banks and are vulnerable to loan sharks.
70% of investors are from the Philippines and 30% are from other countries. They are mostly Overseas Filipino Workers, proving that it’s quite appealing to a variety of other investors. Their widest demographic is the Millennial generation, as 60-70% of their investors are between 18-34 years old.