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4. Markit Opportunity

Founder: Ashley King-Bischof (CEO), Zeluis Teixeira (COO)
Launched: 2015
Headquarters: Nairobi, Kenya
Funding: N/A (currently raising a seed round)

Ashley King-Bischof, founder and CEO of Markit Opportunity
Source: Markit Opportunity
Ashley King-Bischof, founder and CEO of Markit Opportunity

Markit Opportunity enables farmers and traders in Kenya to get information about the markets they buy and sell in, exchange high-quality produce through an auction platform and access transportation services. Ashley King-Bischof, who helped grow the engineering team at Yelp, started the company in 2015 as a way to connect small farmers and urban wholesale traders in East Africa via their smartphones. By 2020, she says she hopes to connect hundreds of thousands of users who trade through the company's platform.

For farmers the process goes like this: When they're ready to harvest, they send a text message to Markit with the harvest details. The Markit community team comes to the farm, packs up the produce, and once the farmer signs off on the details, he or she receives payment for their goods via a mobile money app on their phone. The buying process essentially works in reverse. Buyers tell Markit reps how much and what type of produce they need to purchase. They place their order and make payment via their smartphone. Markit reps then deliver the produce to the buyers.

The company makes money by charging a small transaction fee for matching up buyers and sellers. King-Bischof has said she started the company in order to use her entrepreneurial skills to help the world's poorest. Her idea for Markit won the 2015 Barclays Africa Supply Chain Challenge in 2015.

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