Nigerian Agrotech Investment startup, Thrive Agric has been trending for the wrong reasons. Investors took to social media, complaining about the delayed payments of their investments.
Nairametrics reported that a Thrive Agric customer known on Twitter as theprincelyX, took to the social media platform and called out the company for holding on to his investments. He claimed that the company owed him almost a million naira, and he had been told to wait till next year to see returns on his investments.
“Thrive Agric is owing me almost a million naira. They are owing other investors millions. Thrive Agric is telling me to wait till 2021 to get my investment that was due in Sept 2020,” he said.
The company said in a social media statement that the delay “is an unfortunate outcome of the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequent restrictions on physical access to farms and farming markets. Like many other businesses, we were not fully prepared for the impact, and despite the intent upon which this company has been run for the last 3 years, our subscribers now bear the brunt of these challenges with us.”
“Last week, we communicated timelines for repayment to our subscribers of up to 24 months, depending on the specifics of their subscriptions. We expect to payout before the committed due date.”
The COVID-19 pandemic which paralyzed the Nigerian economy heavily affected the agriculture industry, as goods and services could not be transported to farms due to the lockdowns. However, the decision by Thrive Agric to delay payments may affect how Nigerian customers invest in agriculture through tech.
Explore the Nairametrics Research Website for Economic Data
Would Nigerians invest less in Agritech startups?
Mathew (name changed) CEO of an Investment startup, says the industry has its risks and people may do less investment in the space after this incident.
“I don’t know, to be honest. There are better ways to invest, and a lot of the constraints on the farming industry don’t go away, because it’s repackaged around tech. Then there are these defaults and delays on payments. So people will probably do this type of investment less,” he said.
Advice for investors on their delayed investments
“I can’t speak on that, because I don’t actually know what’s driving the delay. I know Thrive Agric enough to believe they’re reputable, so I don’t know what’s up structurally to cause these delays.”
What should Nigerians about investment through tech?
Odunayo Eweniyi, Co-Founder, PiggyVest says that fintech would always be an opportunity for Nigerians to find good investments for their assets, and startups are already advising Nigerians on better investment awareness.
“I think that existing fintech startups still represent a great avenue for Nigerians to get good returns on their money. I know that there’s a lot to familiarize ourselves with, and so many startups are doing the work of educating young people especially about various instruments, so they can make informed investment decisions,” she said.
Mathew says awareness on investment should be learned and people should not always be interested only in high returns; safer equity options should be considered as well.
“Understand what drives returns and don’t always follow the lure of high returns. Focus on the underlying asset, not just the tech. And lastly, I’ll put dollar investment options ahead of the rest,” Mathew said.
Younger Nigerians will always be on the lookout for safer investment vehicles to hedge against the rising inflation of about 12%; and not just any investment but one which they have control of. Delaying investment that we have seen was caused due to the COVID-19 pandemic on the industry, will likely discourage people from investing in that sector. However, “never bet against tech,” as newer and already existing fintech will learn from this experience and provide better investment alternatives for Nigerians seeking growth on their savings.