Sara Menker who grew up in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia is helping the world reduce hunger through an Artificial intelligence ( AI) software developed by her.
The dominant news from her country was poverty and famine but she grew up in a modest home where her parents put her through private education and she subsequently ended up in the United States to pursue her education.
Although she grew up in a middle-class home, she never stopped worrying about poverty and famine around the world throughout her education life in the United States at Mount Holyoke College. She wanted to do something about world hunger having seen how her country suffered from famine and how she was affected by it. She also grew up in a country where fuel was rationed, where food, sugar, toilet paper was rationed no matter who you are.
After school, she joined Morgan Stanley in New York, where she began trading commodities. She decided on commodities trading because it was the only side of finance where she was connected to the real world and all the things she cared about. At a point, she didn’t find her job exciting anymore and wanted to do something different but within the global food chain.
She decided to quit Morgan Stanley and she founded Gro Intelligence, which uses artificial intelligence to make forecasts about global agriculture and fight food insecurity.
Menker’s software company has developed a suite of global agricultural analytics and models that accurately predict crop yields and acreage far ahead of official government releases. The firm’s suite of machine-learning models currently covers 80% of global production for corn, soy, and wheat.
Gro’s US crop yield and acreage predictions are accurate four to six months ahead of official government estimates. In other critical regions, including Russia, Brazil and China, Gro’s forecasts are accurate up to 12-24 months before official estimates are released. Our forecasts are within 2-5% of final government estimates.
Sara Menker’s customers include HSBC, Tyson Foods and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Since founding the company, Menker has gone on to raise more than $125 million in funding and has offices in New York, Singapore and Nairobi, Kenya. She remains unshaken in her quest to feed the world and reduce global food hunger.