Also headquartered in Brazil’s biggest city, Ecotrace was founded by a team of agribusiness professionals in 2017 to bring “confidence, security, and transparency on a technology-based platform […] establishing a relationship of trust in the entire [agrifood] value chain, from the point of origin to the final consumer.”
Deploying a melange of machine learning, IoT, big data and blockchain technologies, Ecotrace initally focused on one of Brazil’s key industries: beef.
Ecotrace developed imaging tech and AI algorithms to categorize cattle carcasses and assign a barcode or QR code to each, encapsulating information such as which farm the cow came from, where it was slaughtered, and when it was put into refrigeration.
The startup has since expanded its traceability system to poultry and cotton, and says on its website that it aims for it to be applicable to “any product that is produced in the field [that needs] to be traced to the end consumer’s table.”
Ecotrace has raised 5 million reals ($962,000) in total since the start of last year.
“The consolidation of large contracts in a pandemic period, and the closing of an investment of this amount only validates that we are on the right track,” Ecotrace CEO Flavio Redi said in a statement.
“This is our third [funding] — there were two angel investments [previously] — and it comes at a great time. A company that is three years old and already in its third [funding] indicates the potential that lies ahead.”
Following its latest injection into the blockchain startup, generalist VC firm KPTL has invested 50 million reals in 17 agrifood companies since 2008, it said in a statement. As of today, the firm has nine agritech companies in its portfolio, which it claims is evidence of it “consolidating itself as one of the main fund managers in [Brazilian] agribusiness.”
KPTL launched an ag-focused fund last year, and is targeting a final close of 250 million reals ($48.1 million). It will use the capital to invest in 15 to 20 agrifood companies over the next three years, with six more investments lined up for the rest of 2021.
Renato Ramalho, CEO of KPTL, said the objective of the new fund “is to serve, in this order, ‘outside the fence’ and ‘inside the fence’. Having strong attributes towards to the ESG agenda is mandatory. The main areas are the animal protein chain, grains, sugar-alcohol, biotechnology, and climate.”
Ramalho added that the firm “always [acquires] minority stakes, but with active management.”
KPTL was established in late 2019 as the result of a merger between local firms A5 Capital Partners and Inseed Investimentos. At the time of the combination, it had close to 1 billion reals ($246 million) in assets under management.