13 Brazilian Agribusiness startups to keep an eye on in 2021
Dec. 11, 2020
By Renato Seraphim
Agribusiness is the most dynamic sector of the Brazilian economy and in 2020, even with the Covid-19 pandemic, it managed to escape unhurt from the entire crisis that has been devastated the planet. In my 25 years of agribusiness, I had never witnessed so many transformations that we suffered, the forced use of digital tools to increase sales of consumer goods, health, education, and so many other services through mobile devices, affected not only our personal life but also changed our entire professional life.
In Brazilian agribusiness, we did not stop, with most cities in lockdown, the farmer continued to go on in this almost one year of a pandemic. With that, several opportunities for new business appeared, several entrepreneurs emerged and new solutions were created. In this dynamic and high-intensity environment, it was the ideal stage for the creation of several startups.
Startups with a focus on agribusiness, also called Agtechs, are becoming more and more numerous, recent research shows that in a universe of 12,000 startups in Brazil there are almost 1100 focused on agribusiness, reflecting the great weight of Agribusiness in the Brazilian economy. In recent years, improving infrastructure in Brazil, such as connectivity, mobile penetration, satellite images, digital literacy, has been fundamental to the development of this Agtech ecosystem.
I wanted in this article and based on my experiences as a professional who worked in the area of production goods, in the distribution of inputs, and on weekends as a farmer, to highlight 13 startups that in my opinion bring something different and a very clear focus on a clear solution for the chain. They are startups to keep an eye on:
Headquartered in São Paulo / SP, Agristamp is a simple and fast platform for contracting agricultural insurance. The agricultural insurance market in Brazil was in the not-too-distant past bureaucratic and very expensive. Understanding these needs from farmers, Agristamp created one platform with insurance products that are simple, accessible and effective in reducing climate risks. The technology in association with multiple Insurance Companies allows to the distribution of insurance efficiently, maximizes the benefits for the entire chain and guarantees a policy up to 72 hours. (www.agristamp.com.br ).
Atomic is a company from Uberlândia / MG, which started with the objective of creating a database structure, which, through interviews, aimed to catalyze information such as property size, planted varieties, production cost, harvest performance, price of inputs, and much more.
They currently have a database of more than 35,000 farmers, 10,000 of whom interact with the app weekly. This App provides the farmer free of charge: Information on the most planted cultivars in the region he is located in, planting and cultivar performance, social network, and product quotation. With this great potential of customers, I see Atomic as an ideal platform for small and medium farmers (Up to 4000 hectares) who want to compare their productive and financial performance with farmers of the same size and in the same location, and also as an easy and agile way to obtain credit for production, as the interaction with the platform will speed up contact with credit providers. (www.atomicagro.com)
Bart digital is headquartered in Londrina / PR and was created to solve problems in the financing processes, we all know how bureaucratic Brazil is, and Bart's solution mainly regarding receivables and guarantees issues brought reliability and agility to the system. Among Bart Digital's main achievements, I highlight the creation of the first digital CPR that saved time and money for the farmer, the distributor, and the companies that work with this asset as a way of securing the business. In my experience, using this tool has reduced the time required to formalize these guarantees by 75%. (www.bartdigital.com.br)
DigiFarmz is a digital platform created by one of the largest Fitopathologists in Brazil, Ricardo Balardin, who has used more than 18 biotic and abiotic factors to support the farmer for decision making. Through research data, climatological information, cultivar genetics, sowing dates, location, and other parameters, this tool presents intelligent recommendations that help producers, agronomists, and consultants in the phytosanitary management of soybean diseases. The platform advises on what to use (fungicides, mixtures, etc.), when (ideal date of each spray), how much (number of sprays to be carried out), and on anti-resistance management. And the database (crowdsourcing + field research), which is constantly expanding, also makes it possible to optimize resources and investments in farming, helping to reduce the impact on the environment. (www.digifarmz.com)
The interactive Flex is located in SP and has as a proposition one great appeal to agribusiness: “Ideas that can be touched”.
Have you ever thought about the possibility of real objects interacting with virtual objects? We learn agronomy in a way that makes it difficult to imagine how the products interacted within the plant, how the different products and modes of action acted, or even how the plants did the metabolism. These technologies will help us to better understand these factors and better train technicians and farmers, in addition to being able to be much more agile, flexible, and efficient on field days, training and training.
In my opinion, these technologies will initially be used by manufacturers, but it can also be used by farmers, who visited Jolimont winery (www.tourduvin.tur.br) in Canela / RS, can see what virtual reality can do to delight consumers. (www.flexinterativa.com.br)
The biggest difficulty in logistics today, despite the dependence on highways, distance from routes, deficient infrastructure, and old and inadequate processes is that the costs are very high in the entire work process.
From imported Crop Inputs to the amounts spent on vehicle maintenance, the Farmers and Agri-companies face challenges and difficulties in reducing costs. Go Flux, the unique Logtech in my list, it is a startup founded in 2018 and elected one of the 100 best startups in Brazil, was born out of this non-conformity of doing things always the same way. Why has freight been contracted the same way for years? Why hasn't the digital revolution changed the shape of these operations yet? Why haven't we had innovative solutions on this topic yet?
Go Flux tries to provide more transparency, agility, and increased efficiency through a platform that allows making BIDs, with a closed Market Place, including the parameters appropriate to your business, data of your demand, and an indication of the price to be paid for the route. With the involvement of several suppliers in dynamic quotes 100% online, you can view bids in real-time. The main benefits are Intelligence and compliance of operations, Reduction of costs, and gain in competitiveness. In my previous company, for example, we had a reduction of 8% for all our logistic cost. (www.goflux.com.br)
Grão Direto was created in Uberaba and gained notoriety for being the only Brazilian startup to be invited to BlackBox Connect, an immersion program in Silicon Valley. Besides, it was also called for the Scale-Up acceleration program (Algar+Endeavor). Her goal is to connect farmers, buyers, brokers, and warehouses making the purchase and sale of corn, soy, sorghum, and other grains more modern and safe.
Everyone has access to the best information to trade and the more informed they are, the greater their chances of making the best deals. Through technology, sellers and buyers can negotiate grains much more quickly and efficiently, both for negotiations in the available market, forward or barter.
Grão Direto was created to support all the profiles of the chain: cooperatives, tradings, resellers, traditional brokers, feed factories, stockholders, traders, and much more, generating gains in market intelligence for producers and buyers to make the best decisions and more agility in processes associated with commercialization (logistics, contract management, financial products and more). (www.graodireto.com.br)
It is an AgriTech founded in 2019 in the city of Alfenas / MG, which develops technologies to revolutionize agribusiness, making life easier for people in the countryside. It provides the farmer (Cattleman) with tools to make decisions quickly, easily, accurately, and efficiently. One of the products that most stands out in my opinion and that uses the technology of the internet of things are the necklaces for cattle, the smart scales, and the sensors of behavior and reproduction, where the farmer has access in real-time and from any location to your entire squad and can improve resources by avoiding waste of time and resources. (www.inovafarm.com.br)
One of the greatest lessons learned from this crisis is that consumers and importing countries will increasingly the use of phytosanitary barriers to regulate markets and their respective internal deficiencies and trade balance.
Based on this, for the Brazilian farmer, it is not enough to produce well anymore, we will have to prove that we produce well and sustainably. Safe Trace is a company from Itajubá / MG, specialized in the traceability of the food production chain, integrating information from all links, from the producer to the consumer's dish. When purchasing products with the Safe Trace seal, you will know where the food consumed comes from; in addition to making sure that the producer is acting by socio-environmental and health standards, thanks to a strict monitoring process.
Another technology that has been developed by safetrace and that promises superior results is the block chain solution, which can be used in the entire production chain, including raw material production, industrialization, and commercialization. This technology will be able to register, store, organize, track, and make available information collected along the chain, from the implementation in the field to the final stages of production. (www.safetrace.com.br)
Seedz is headquartered in Belo Horizonte (MG), founded in 2017, and has developed loyalty software that values the relationship between farmers and ranchers with agribusiness companies and also from other sectors, a company that has innovation as its main asset. The solution is very simple when buying products from partner companies, a seedz accumulates a virtual currency, which can be exchanged on the platform for products and even courses, thus encouraging these producers to reinvest in their farms, creating thus a new model of buying and selling focused on trust and transparency.
The positive point is that it is a multi-brand platform, allowing for greater optimization, diversification, and customization of programs, including easy adaptation to a proprietary market place. Another attraction that Seedz offers, is that its incentive platform through gamification and customization can be easily implemented and with a better cost-benefit.
All of this with just a common fashion, which is Seedz, making the business environment more transparent and accessible to everyone. The platform is already used by more than 60 thousand registered producers from all over Brazil and also 5,000 professionals in the sector. Also, there are already 300 companies registered in different segments of the agribusiness such as seeds, pesticides, fertilizers, financial services, animal health and nutrition, machinery, equipment, logistics, among other solutions. The highlight for multinationals such as UPL, Yara, John Deere, Agro Galaxy, Helm, Agro100, Agro Ferrari and cooperatives such as Cocamar. (www.seedz.ag)
The market for crop protection products in Brazil is around the US $12 billion and is growing at around 2-4% per year and has been suffering several restrictions in recent years. As a result, the increase in demand for more sustainable products and alternatives to chemicals in agriculture drives the market for biological pesticides, not only in Brazil but in the world.
A survey by the consultancy Spark Inteligência Estrategica and released in October showed that the Brazilian market moved almost US $ 200 million in the 2019/20 harvest, 46% more than in the previous season. In this sense, the area potentially treated with biologicals increased by 23%, to 19.4 million hectares.
With this growing market, a technology that seems promising to me is that which allows the farmer to produce biological pesticides on his farm, reducing the costs with these inputs in soy, corn, wheat, cotton, sugarcane, coffee, etc..by up to 40%. With the technology of Solubio, a startup founded in Gurupi / TO, the “bio-factories” that are automated equipment for the multiplication of bacteria, can be customized according to the customer's needs. Currently, the company serves 100 large producers in an area of 1 million hectares and with 150 biofactories installed. (www.solubio.agr.br)
Terra Magna is a geospatial Big Data company from São José dos Campos / SP, focused on the agricultural and forestry sector, which uses satellite images to measure, predict and control biological assets, generating insights for the agribusiness chain.
The company improves field operations by monitoring weed infestations on planted areas and performing risk management for agribusiness financiers. By combining cloud computing and satellite images with the remote sensing industry, Terra Magna enables farmers and other players to better understand their land, their businesses, and the entire market, through maps with the status of cultivated land.
The proposal is to offer greater security to banks, cooperatives, and agro-industries in financial operations and the management of collateral loans for agribusiness. It is essential in the environment of agribusiness in Brazil.
The solution also serves the Farmer/Producer , who can use the data to be able to access lower interest rates. 22,000 farms are monitored weekly. (www.terramagna.com.br).
Traive is another AGfinTech that will “Thrive” due to the size of the market and the constant need for capital by farmers. Founded in 2018, the company facilitates loans to the agriculture industry, offering to both farmers and lenders innovative financial solutions and unique access to marketplace lending. Recently received a contribution of R$ 14 Mio from SP Ventures that will be used to increase the team and invest in technology. Today two cooperatives and seven dealers will use Traive’s solution and the expectative for 2021 is to increase by more than 30.
With offices in São Paulo, Minneapolis, and Boston. Traive also comes to fulfill one important gap in the sector. Remembering that the more credit the more will be the investments in technology, crop inputs, and productivity by the farmer. (www. traivefinance.com)
It is worth remembering that 2020 was the year with the largest number of mergers and acquisitions of Brazilian startups in all, more than 100 M&A of startups were carried out in the last nine months but none of the major investments were in the agribusiness segment.
The investments were in sectors that benefited from the new consumer habits, be they financial: (US$ 300 million for fintech Neon and R$ 1.3 billion for C6 Bank), of electronic retail, (US$ 225 million for the e-commerce platform VTEX) and games, such as the unicorn (Wildlife, with a contribution of US $ 120 million). To get an idea of values, the Higher contribution to an Agtech in Latin America was that of the Brazilian Solifintech, which at the beginning of 2020 raised US$ 60 million and almost exceeded the total of last year in contribution to the category, followed weeks later for Argentinean Agrofy, which received US$ 23 million for its marketplace.
In a huge and bureaucratic market such as that of Brazilian agribusiness, innovation within large companies is a costly and time-consuming process.
I leave here my suggestion of companies that have all the potential for growth and acceptance by agribusiness players and who may have the same success as Adtechs and Fintechs.
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