Nigerian entrepreneur Oghenetega Iortim founded cold chain startup Figorr to address post-harvest losses from his fresh agro-produce venture by improving the storage and transportation of temperature-sensitive products. The company’s IoT-powered solutions enable businesses, especially those in healthcare and agriculture, to access key data such as location, humidity, and temperature of highly-perishable products, helping entrepreneurs to reduce losses due to lack of visibility. Users subscribe to access data collected by FIGORR devices, which are placed in cold storage setups.
After raising $1.5 million in a seed funding round led by Atlantica Ventures and with participation from Vested World, Jaza Rift, and Katapult, Figorr is expanding beyond Nigeria to meet the demand for its solutions. The company’s devices are currently used in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda, and the company recently entered the Kenyan market to capitalize on the sector’s growth.
Smallholder farmers especially will benefit from customized insurance solutions, according to Iortim. Business owners will not only be protected from losses by insurance, but they will also be able to offer their customers cheaper products since they will not have to pass on the costs resulting from losses to their customers.
Figorr was launched in 2019 by Iortim as a portable solar-powered storage box company before pivoting to a IoT product It is principally used in Nigeria for monitoring temperature-sensitive products like vaccines and insulin, but in markets like Kenya, it is primarily used for agriculture, especially horticulture.
In sub-Saharan Africa, 37% of food is lost or wasted due to poor storage and handling, or 120-170 kilograms per capita/year. This can be prevented if the food is kept safe and monitored in real time. Additionally, it is estimated that half of the vaccines go to waste mainly due to cold-chain breaches. Startups like Figorr help prevent these losses caused by poor storage and lack of monitoring.
Based on the fast-growing opportunity in Africa’s agriculture and health sectors, Iortim expects Figorr to keep growing. According to him, “What we are building is something that actually impacts people’s lives in terms of access to healthcare and improved incomes.” With Figorr’s innovative solutions, communities across Africa will be able to reduce losses and improve their quality of life.