Kenya’s leading agritech firm, Twiga Foods, faced a significant hurdle in 2022 when a global shift in the investment landscape triggered a funding crisis.
In a candid Medium post, Peter Njonjo, the co-founder and CEO, has shed light on the company’s challenges and its commitment to a sustainable future.
Twiga Foods had achieved remarkable growth, backed by substantial capital raised through previous funding rounds.
This expansion propelled the company to become one of the top revenue earners on the Nairobi Stock Exchange by early 2022.
However, the company’s plans for a Series D funding round and market domination were disrupted by a global shift in the investment climate, triggered by a US Federal Reserve interest rate hike in March 2022.
This sudden change in the investment landscape forced Twiga Foods to undergo a restructuring and refinancing process.
The company faced criticism and backlash from various stakeholders, including the media, suppliers, customers, and employees.
In his Medium post, Njonjo openly discusses the hardships he experienced as a leader and the approaches he used to overcome them.
A growing disconnect between management, the board, and employees regarding the company’s current reality and the necessary actions to address it.
Rapid erosion of credibility built over years with external stakeholders, including minority shareholders, lenders, suppliers, the government, and customers.
A loss of strategic clarity as a sense of panic gripped the organization.
Aligning with key shareholders and eliminating information gaps to ensure a unified understanding of the situation.
Collaborating with a consulting firm to create a validated strategic plan that would guide the company’s recovery.
Making bold decisions to strategically reposition the company for long-term success.
Maintaining open communication with all stakeholders, transparently sharing the company’s challenges and plans.
Leading from the front by personally investing in the company’s refinancing process.
According to Njonjo, these strategies yielded positive results, including:
Completion of a detailed retail census in Nairobi, revealing that 94% of informal retailers were eager to continue working with Twiga Foods, even during challenging times.
Development of a new vision and strategy for Twiga Foods, focused on better serving its customers and partners.
With these outcomes, Twiga Foods embarks on a new chapter, guided by a vision and strategy centered on profitability and sustainability.
The company’s resilience and Njonjo’s leadership demonstrate the ability to navigate challenging periods and emerge stronger, ready to further transform the African agricultural landscape.