Ventures Platform, a venture capital firm that invested in Thrive Agric, says it has put measures in place to ensure the repayment of investments to subscribers, through the hiring of consultants and intervention of its senior management team.
This was disclosed in a statement on Thursday evening. The VC said it is aware of the challenges reported in the media, which has adversely affected some of their crowdfund subscribers, “However, what might not be so apparent is the work being done behind the scenes, to rectify and repair the situation, by ensuring subscribers are repaid in a timely manner.”
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Nairametrics reported yesterday that Co-founder and CEO of Thrive Agric, Uka Eje, announced that he would step down as CEO and assume the position of COO, as it faces challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. He also announced Adia Sowho as the interim CEO, while a Chief Financial Officer with significant experience in finance has been appointed by the agritech investment firm.
“We have started this process with the support of our investors, particularly Ventures Platform, who has been the epitome of a value-adding investor. I will start first by announcing the new interim CEO, Adia Sowho.
“She is here to guide Thrive Agric through a turnaround exercise so that we survive the effects the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the business,” said Eje.
Ventures Platform said that Thrive Agric is one of its portfolio companies which they invested in as of 2017.
“As early-stage investors, we take our role in how our portfolio companies operate and their overall corporate governance, very seriously.
“Once alerted to the fact that the company was facing some operational challenges; Ventures Platform’s experienced senior management team and hired consultants intervened, working with Thrive Agric founders to put in place deliberate and swift actions, that not only ensures repayment of investments to subscribers but also to realign the business for the long term,” it said.
It also said a core issue they noticed was around sub-optimal communication between the company, its subscribers, and additional stakeholders. They announced the improvement of communication in the following areas;
- Communication to subscribers via email, with a more complete explanation of how COVID-19 impacted farming operations, and an expectation of repayment horizon.
- The commencement of active communications with concerned subscribers, via Zoom calls.
- The release of a robust FAQ online via Twitter, which addresses many of their subscribers’ and stakeholders’ key concerns.
On actions taken with the Thrive Agric Management team, they said the following steps are in full swing;
- Engaging actively with the founders to develop and implement a step-by-step plan to get the company back on track.
- A thorough review of the company’s financial and non-financial operations to fully understand the scale of the problem.
- Supporting the company in strengthening their senior leadership, such that they can frontally deal with these issues. The Thrive Agric team will communicate more on this very soon.
- Providing bridge debt to help liquidate some of the outstanding to subscribers.
The VC firm added that they have yielded small success during the short period and know they have a lot more to do.
“We will continue to push the entire Thrive Agric team to return investments to their subscribers, and rebuild the trust that has been lost in what has been an extremely challenging year,” it noted.