HOW A Y COMBINATOR FUNDED STARTUP, THRIVE AGRIC, BECAME A FRAUD.
Three years ago in 2017, a new start up called Thrive Agric, founded by Uka Eje and Ayodeji Arikawe cropped up in Nigeria. Their business was focused on funding small scale farmers by sourcing funds through crowdfunding in the Nigerian space. The company was able to go through series of fund raising, notably from Google’s Developers Launchpad, Ventures Platform, Telefonica etc.
But, it wasn’t until 2019 that they were incubated by Y Combinator, the popular American based startup accelerator. Being incubated by Y Combinator meant they received seed money to the tune of $150,000 for a 7% equity in the startup.
The Y Combinator funding as well as the different accolades and commendations (especially from the Nigerian Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo) received from various quarters, helped to fortify and bolster the image of Thrive Agric.
Based on a business model that allows them to source money from the Nigerian public as investments, Thrive Agric has been taking money from public investors to start up farms all over Nigeria. In return, these investors are paid back with their initial capital plus a fixed return on investment at the end of a farm cycle.
Thrive Agric claims on their website that they have raised over 4 million birds and produced over 170 thousand metric tonnes of grains.
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