Jan. 7, 2019
By Leonardo Gottems, reporter for AgroPages
A new startup in the "AgTech" segment was launched in Brazil, called InstaAgro™ (https://instaagro.com
), of Brazilian origin with funding by North American and European capital. With this new technology, farmers can now consult and purchase fertilizers, pesticides, seeds and other products by cell phone, and quickly have them delivered to their farms.
Through its innovative business model and state-of-the-art technology, InstaAgro™ is an online store that markets agricultural inputs and implements directly to Brazilian rural farmers. Initially, the operation began in the state of Goiás, but has expansion plans throughout the entire country.
With a 100% guarantee of the origin of products, the platform offers several options for delivery and ensures, at the same time, the security of online payments and data confidentiality. At InstaAgro™, the producer will find a wide range of inputs and agricultural implements, which are guaranteed by direct partnerships with the manufacturing companies. "We have several suppliers with credibility and international reach in the area of chemical pesticides, seeds and fertilizers. In addition, we offer various agricultural implements, including, for example, irrigation products, which the producer would not normally find at his local reseller," said Rodrigo Santini, co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer of InstaAgro™.
Co-founder of InstaAgro™, current CTO (Chief Technology Officer) of the company, Avram Slovic, says that InstaAgro™ will modernize the agricultural supply chain and ability to purchase products. This is because the online store offers simplicity of use, a greater number of offers and ease of searching for products, which can be found by name, brand or culture. "Our portfolio is vast, combining conventional pesticides, biologicals, chemical fertilizers and organic fertilizers, with the aim of increasingly facilitating the viability of efficient and sustainable agriculture. Farmers will be able to set up a shopping cart and use artificial intelligence to complement tailored suggestions that best fit their needs."
Slovic also said that in the specific case of the sale of pesticides, the agronomic prescription should always be attached to the application. If the farmer does not have an agronomic prescription, he should seek the service of an accredited agronomist to issue it after the diagnosis has been made at the place of infestation of the disease or plague. The release of the online application, invoice and other required documents will only be made through the inclusion of information by the farmer on the platform, including the agronomic recipe. Slovic points out that this innovation promotes more security in the purchase, because it makes obsolete and unnecessary the illegal sale that occurs today on the internet. "The industry should receive this initiative positively, as it will start to rely on digital sales solutions, which will enable the traceability of products and encourage their correct use in the field," he adds.
According to Marcos Tanaka, Director of Operations of InstaAgro, a key innovation that will be available is related to logistics. In addition to the current traditional delivery, the startup has its own warehouse centers - different from everything that exists today -, as well as several delivery options, along with the possibility of breaking cargo into smaller boxes, following all existing regulations, and offering fast and efficient service. "We know that the last mile is the most complex, that is, to get from the warehouse to the final consumer in the field, and we will innovate the logistics chain to improve this service," he said. In addition, InstaAgro ™ promotes reverse logistics for the return of used packaging, assuring packing stations located close to the farmers.
"Our initiative is premised on logistic excellence and full attention to the 'bottom of the pyramid', that is, those three to four million small farmers who, until today, were not satisfactorily served by traditional industries and channels. This is our first target audience and we will empower this rural producer with not only more offers, but, above all, with more transparency and knowledge - and for this purpose we have the mission to make available, free on the platform, several tutorial videos showing concepts and application techniques of pesticides, with an emphasis on the correct use of these products and the best practices of agricultural management," said Santini.
Created in 2016, the startup was initially called Agvali™. At that time, the platform provided quotations for products offered by resellers to producers in the same locality. In this way, through digital marketing, the platform generated additional demand for traditional resellers and, simultaneously, brought attractive promotions to producers.
In late 2017, however, following a round of Seed Capital investment and the entry of new investors and executives, InstaAgro™ "migrated" the business model to the current format, and established itself as the first specialized online store for rural Brazilian farmers.
"We realized that there was a very large deficit of access and information, and that the farmer, especially the small one, did not have access to all the products available in the market, and information about their correct use. Traditional distribution channels no longer met, or did not reach everywhere producers needed. We understood that to meet and empower the small producer effectively, we had to be the store itself, not just direct the buyer to the current stores. On the other hand, we are very concerned about the proliferation of illegal online sales, and we are committed to creating a national standard for the safe and legal sale of agricultural inputs online, including pesticides, ensuring full traceability of the entire supply chain. This is how InstaAgro was born", noted Santini.
With a database of more than one million rural farmers, laboriously constructed over 3 years of Agvali™ operations, the online store runs through an internet portal available on all operating systems and, soon, with the use of the free application.