This month, we are featuring Avenews, the future of FinTech for agriculture!
Avenews creates the connection between financial institutions and agri-businesses through a digital infrastructure that directly links agri-trade activity with financial services.
What is Avenews' Story?
Avenews was founded to support the agriculture sector. The co-founders of the company are Shalom and Ishai Ben-Or and Ismail Kharoub. Having grown up in Israeli farming communities they are well aware of the challenges that farmers and other agribusinesses have in Israel and all over the world. Ismail is an Arab Israeli from Jaffa who has been exploring and developing complex information systems, looking to bring IT advancements to developing countries and is one of the few Arab Israeli CTOs leading a FinTech start-up company in Israel.
Tell us about the technology!
Agribusinesses such as processors, aggregators, manufacturers, farmers, co-operative, input suppliers, etc. use the Avenews digital platform to manage their business, streamline their trade operations, and access financial services, all in one place.
Every trade interaction is stored in a verified and vetted asset on the Avenews Blockchain, creating a digital economic identity for every agri-business across the supply chain. This enables them to apply for working capital, loans, insurance, and many other financial services provided on the platform by leading financial institutions.
The Avenews platform enables financial institutions to digitize new and existing financial products, such as credit cards, loans, and insurance, and provide them directly on the platform.
What is your motivation for doing what you do?
We are motivated to solve a significant problem, one that affects millions of people across the world, in a way that is both profitable and purposeful. Figuring out ways to both grow our company and enable agricultural sectors in different markets to thrive is what keeps us focused and excited.
How did you adapt your technology in times of coronavirus?
One of the biggest challenges in the agricultural trade process is that it is highly reliant on face-to-face interactions and handshake based transactions because of the informal nature of the trade process. Beyond that, when it comes to financing the agri-trade process, especially in developing countries, SME agribusinesses need to go into a bank branch to access working capital financing in order to buy from farmers so they can sell to buyers. In addition, they often need to pay the farmers in cash. The serious challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic to this sector include social distancing protocols which affect the actual trade process as well as banks being unable to provide the necessary finance for the trade process. These create a knock-on effect which means that agribusinesses are unable to buy from farmers, limiting the farmers ability to plant new crops for the next harvest and ultimately contributing to food insecurity in the long-term.
In Israel, through our project with the Israeli Innovation Authority, Avenews created a direct-to-consumer e-commerce platform as an additional product within our business to support small agricultural businesses suffering from the loss of their market. This platform was launched in 10 days in partnership with Strauss Foods with the sole purpose of supporting Israeli farmers during this crisis and ensuring their businesses will survive beyond this pandemic. Check it out here.
In addition, through our partnerships with financial institutions in Africa, agribusiness can pay farmers digitally through the platform for goods purchased and we have also built a digital loan pre-qualification tool and a digital loan application for agribusinesses in Kenya to apply for a loan without needing to go into a branch.
Thank you Danielle, Business Design at Avenews, for this inspiring story!
Avenews is working in South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Zambia and Israel. Besides the great devtech model, Avenews is an interesting use case of Blockchain and FinTech for impact. On top of it, Avenews is an advocate of diversity and a model of Israeli - Arab coexistence.
Good luck in accomplishing your great mission!