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Kenyan Agro Insights Platform, Gro Intelligence Shuts Down

Agricultural insights platform Gro Intelligence, founded in 2012 by Sara Menker, is shutting down. The inability to secure further investments has been cited as the primary reason for the closure. Reports also indicated a mismatch between the company’s products and market demands, further complicating its financial struggles.

Gro Intelligence had raised a total of $177 million, including an $85 million Series B round in January 2021, from backers such as Intel Capital and Africa Internet Ventures. However, the company’s financial difficulties became public in February, with emerging reports of missed payrolls and pension payments.

After a last-minute effort to secure funding in March, the company eventually laid off about 60% of its workforce, resulting in lawsuits from former employees alleging unfair dismissal.

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Despite promoting its AI insights and vast data resources, Gro Intelligence struggled with consistent revenues, generating most of its income from its major client, Unilever. The company also faced issues with hiring and lacked a chief financial officer (CFO) until recently.

Gro Intelligence is reportedly under investigation by the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) over fraud allegations.

The company, which analyzed data from satellite imagery, rainfall, drought, vegetative health and density, soil moisture, land surface temperature, and data from the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) and Brazil’s IBGE (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics), is now winding down operations with a small team to handle the process.

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