Agrofy Founders: We Have Great, Creative Entrepreneurs in Argentina, But This is a Long Race

Agrofy is an online marketplace for Latin America’s agribusiness market, matching up buyers and sellers of farm machinery, vehicles, farmland, tools, equipment, insurance, and other financial services. The business also offers e-commerce marketing and consulting services for agricultural products companies, and is set to launch an online payment platform later this year along with the introduction of six new agribusiness categories including grain.

The startup was founded in 2015 by Maximiliano Landrein and Alejandro Larosa who have a deep history in agriculture since launching one of the first online agriculture marketplaces in 1999 called fyo.com to sell grain. It was too early for an e-commerce play, particularly as it preceded the dot-com crash of 2000, Landrein told AgFunderNews, so FYO became a brick and mortar grain brokerage and is now one of Argentina’s main brokers.

Agrofy, which has now raised $10 million across two seed rounds and a Series A earlier this year, is one of Argentina’s most successful agtech startups and counts Syngenta and Bunge as investors.

It has signed up over 5,000 companies, including multinational ag players, to list more than 65,000 products. Agrofy also has a news platform called AgrofyNews, offering industry news and real-time commodity pricing.

We caught up with Landrein and Larosa in Rosario, an agtech hub in Argentina, to find out more about the startup and how they see Argentina’s agtech ecosystem developing.


Want to invest in the next agrifood revolution?

Invest alongside AgFunder in Co-Investment Fund II. Now open for investment. Learn More.




Was it challenging raising your first rounds of capital?

In our seed round, we raised capital from some of the key players in the Argentinian agribusiness market: inputs and service providers, farming and grain trading companies, among others. [Nasdaq-listed company Cresud, the largest farming company in Latin America, was a seed investor.]

Our Series A was led by SP Ventures, the leading agtech VC in Brazil, Endeavor Catalyst, Syngenta and Bunge Ventures.

We invited to join the company smart and passionate people. We have learned that having great partners is very important to the company’s success. It was challenging because we gathered very experienced and successful partners for our seed rounds.

In our case, for our Series A and B, we want to partner with investors from Brazil and the US that can help us with our global expansion. Our dream is to develop a global company from Argentina, and we looked for partners that share that vision and can work with us to achieve our goals.

What types of investors are available for agtech startups at later stages?

There are a few VCs in Argentina that invest in all types of tech companies and are starting to follow the fast-growing local agtech ecosystem. The government is doing a great job to promote and attract foreign venture capitalists. Everybody recognizes there is a huge opportunity here. 

How different is the agtech sector today in Argentina compared to when you launched Fyo.com in 1999? 

Wow! That was a long time ago… it is completely different. Fyo.com was one of the first agtech companies in the world, even though we didn’t use the term “agtech” at that time. With fyo we started to provide real-time information about ag markets and we created a transactional platform for grains and inputs.

I think that there was almost no venture capital in Argentina at that time, so we raised capital from local business partners that wanted to invest in the new internet wave.

Regarding traction, connectivity on farms was very poor. There were no smartphones, no google and that generation of farmers was not digital at all.  

Traditional companies were not used to digital marketing. They did not have an e-commerce strategy and the majority didn’t have people thinking about it. So, in general, they considered us a threat and they turned their backs to us. 

As a consequence, and in order to save the company, we turned the business model into a digital solution service provider and tried to sell them products based on the technology we had developed. 

Why did you create Agrofy? What was the most challenging part of creating the business that Agrofy is today?

We have been working in the intersection of agribusiness and the internet industry for more than 18 years. We believe that online transactions are going to grow exponentially in this sector. As a consequence, traditional companies are looking for partners to help them empower their businesses with digital tools. Until now, farmers have not had an online platform where they can buy or sell all products or services. So we are developing a global marketplace that will let farmers and companies make transactions in all the categories related to the agribusiness sector.

The most challenging part is developing some services around the platform that solve the difficulties of e-commerce, such as logistics, payments, credit, trust, reputation, etc. Our solutions in this fields are designed specifically for agribusiness.

What are the main challenges for an agtech startup in Argentina today?

Probably to get product-market fit with farmers, generate revenues, and raise capital. It is also very important to show proof of concept and the scalability of the business model.

But we have great and creative entrepreneurs in Argentina. Also, there are very successful companies and unicorns in other industries. We think the same will happen in the agtech sector.

Is there any other advice you’d give to entrepreneurs creating agtech businesses in Argentina?

To focus on developing a great product and business model that can scale from Argentina to the rest of the world. And always prioritize building a great team and bringing on great partners. This is a long race and to have the right people on board is vital.

One thought on “Agrofy Founders: We Have Great, Creative Entrepreneurs in Argentina, But This is a Long Race”

  1. Sir,

    The investor / Investors will have the majority share. ( 60 to 70% Ownership ).

    I am Dave Singh from Trinidad. I am searching for an investor/shareholder for a mega Tilapia and shrimp project. ( With the new tariff between the USA and China its the perfect time to develop aquaculture in Trinidad). Presently China is the number one exporter of Tilapia with 75% going to America.

    According to the United Nation report, Aquaculture will have to double to meet market demand by 2025.

    When completed this project will be among the top 5 exporters in the Western Hemisphere with annual sales exceeding $ 250 M US. There are over 250 acres of private flat land with another ( 1000 acres owned by The government which can be leased for 99 years). This land has a beachfront of over 10.000 feet of private beach and a saltwater contents of about 12 to 16 ppt. Electricity on site, fresh water on site, cable, and internet service within 100 feet away. entrance to land is off the main road, 1.hr 30 mins drive to the main shipping port.

    The site was chosen because of its flat land and influenced by the large river delta region of the Orinoco,
    one of the largest rivers in the world located in Venezuela that join the Atlantic Ocean seven miles south of Trinidad and being remote from all, industrial and agriculture development in both countries. Electricity on site, good roads, good sea water, fresh water, Internet connection, telecommunications and private beach front.

    Trinidad also enjoys preferential trading with the U.S.A.

    ALSO PERFECT WATER FOR SHRIMP FARMING. Feasibility study and business plan were done by Mr. Granvil Treece from
    Texas A & M University, author of most shrimp Aquaculture manuals, an aquaculture certifier, and has work in over 30
    countries shrimp project, such as ( USA, India, China, Mexico, Africa etc ).

    This project will consist of about 650 lined concrete raceway with each one (200 ft. Long X 30 ft. wide X 5 ft high ) harvesting
    2 raceway of Tilapia and 2 raceway of shrimp every day 5 days a week. and could export about 20 containers every week. ( With our perfect tropical climate we will be able to harvest 2 crops a year from each raceway. It will also have its own feed mill, 2 processing plant, I Q F, a cold storage holding in excess of 4 million pounds of frozen product for export, 2 hatcheries, laboratories etc. Twelve months after construction starts the Company will start exporting reaching full capacity within 2 years.

    NOTE: Harvesting 650 x 2 = 1300 raceway annually.

    As an incentive, the Government will grant zero corporation taxes for 10 years and zero customs duties and taxes on all
    imported material for the project.

    Will get living and work permits for those that are involved in the project.

    Sir, I thank you and awaits your reply

    Your truly
    Dave Singh.

    Skype id: shrimpfarming

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.