Berlin-based AgTech start-up COOKO has defied expectations by announcing a successful pre-seed funding round, raising over €800,000. Despite a challenging landscape for large tech companies and scaling back of venture capital, COOKO is disrupting the status quo with its innovative approach. The company, operating out of Berlin and Cameroon, aims to transform value chains into catalysts for sustainability.
The pre-seed round saw the lead investor, a US family office, double their initial investment, showcasing confidence in COOKO's vision, product, and team. Additionally, previous investors from the friends and family round participated in significant tag-along investments. The successful closure of the seed extension round on June 12 brings COOKO's total funding to over €1.7 million since its incorporation in July 2021.
The investment will accelerate COOKO's mission to revolutionize the agricultural value chain, with a particular focus on cocoa. By prioritizing the welfare of farmers through innovative technological solutions, COOKO incentivizes traceability at the first mile and automates compliance with impending EU and German legislation. The company integrates digital traceability data at the source, ensuring fairer payments to farmers and providing comprehensive system data for the entire value chain.
COOKO founder Ferdi van Heerden expressed excitement about the growing momentum behind the company's unique approach to artisanal agriculture, especially after designing the national traceability system for Cameroon, the fourth-largest cocoa producer globally. By expanding their owned-and-operated R&D facility in Cameroon's cocoa heartland, COOKO has transformed research and development into a revenue-generating activity, benefitting all stakeholders, starting with the farmers.
COOKO's ability to triple revenues from the facility within three months not only demonstrated farmer acceptance of their approach but also showcased the scalability of their proof of concept. This revenue growth impressed investors and instilled confidence in the company's product development roadmap.
Operating at the intersection of "ESG data/fintech/sustainable-impact," COOKO is uniquely positioned to leverage multiple revenue streams and high-value data for further growth. The current funding round provides approximately 12 months of runway, during which COOKO will focus on strengthening partnerships and expanding its technical expertise.
Ferdi van Heerden emphasized that COOKO is reshaping the industry for the better by making a positive impact at the source. The investment received in a challenging funding environment serves as a vote of confidence in the company's innovative ideas and the industry's demand for real innovation in agricultural value chains. With its fresh injection of capital, COOKO is well-positioned to continue driving positive change and establishing itself as a leader in sustainable agriculture.