A digital platform that aims to become a one-stop-shop for the agricultural industry across Latin America has had its expansion plans approved by new investors.
Based in Rosario, Argentina, Agrofy is set to launch in Brazil later this year and the rest of the region in 2019, co-founder and chairman Alejandro Larosa told Agri Investor. He and Maximiliano Landrein started the business two years ago after selling FYO.com, their first start-up and one of LatAm’s main online grain brokerages, to Cresud, the region’s largest farming group.
Agrofy has received backing from a list of blue-chip names in the industry that extends beyond the region, having closed a $6 million Series A funding round that includes the corporate venture capital teams of Bunge and Syngenta as well as support from Endeavor Catalyst, a pan-LatAm tech accelerator.
The funding round, led by Brazilian VC Sao Paulo Ventures, also included equity tickets from existing investor Cresud and high-net-worth individuals. The company has raised $10 million since launch.
It has vast ambitions. “There is still no consolidated online marketplace for agribusiness worldwide. There is no leader in LatAM, no leader in the US, no leader in Europe,” Larosa said.
He explained that the platform lists all the products and services that a farmer of any size might need for their business, from inputs and machinery to insurance and credit. That also includes farmland.
“When we started with this value proposition we found out that most companies don’t know how to do e-commerce,” Larosa said. “So we launched a solution that can put all their products online, help them to generate traffic, turn traffic into leads and then into transactions.”
The business is very scalable, he argued, because the same platform can be deployed “everywhere we go,” meaning Agrofy need only mobilize one team of developers based in Rosario.
He explained that the website was often used by farmers as a comparison tool, helping them figure out what products and services are on offer beyond their immediate region. “They can use the internet to have a national vision of who’s the best supplier for each product.”
That is especially true of small- and medium-sized operations, he added, even though the platform also caters for farmers of the larger kind. “These guys simply have a smaller negotiation capacity.”