Brazilian ag marketplace Clicampo has closed a $7.5 million seed round for its digital platform that connects the country’s farmers and food producers directly with retailers and restaurants, removing intermediaries and driving more of the profits back to producers.
- Valor Capital Group and MAYA Capital co-led the round. Several angel investors, including Marcelo Abritta (Buser), Rafael Costa (Across Capital), and Luis Cascão (TruePay) participated along with the founding teams of two other Brazilian companies, Agrolend and Pier.
- Clicampo will use the seed funding for new hires as well as more product and technology developments that support both rural farming communities and retailers, restaurant changes, and e-groceries in the city.
“We are the best channel for small and medium farmers in Brazil to sell their produce inside the cities,” Clicampo co-founder and CEO Victor Bernardino tells AFN. “We focus on them because we know that they have the biggest problem in this value chain.”
How it works:
Founded in 2021, Clicampo directly connects Brazil’s small- and medium-sized rural food producers with restaurants and retail businesses in cities through a digital marketplace. One of the platform’s key goals is to remove the intermediaries as food travels from field to customer, so that retailers and restaurants pay less for produce and producers get more of the profit faster.
- Restaurants, food retailers, and hotels that sign up with Clicampo select and buy produce via the online marketplace interface.
- Users can even specify things like how mature they want the produce or how cosmetically “perfect” it needs to be. By way of example, Bernardino says a grocery store might want an aesthetically pleasing tomato to display, whereas a restaurant kitchen would care more about flavor for sauces.
- Clicampo manages the delivery from producer to end customer. The company currently operates two fulfillment centers, one close to farmers and the other to retail and restaurant customers.
- For food producers, Clicampo provides not just direct access to retail and restaurants but also forecasting and logistical tools to help them make decisions about what to harvest and when, as well as how to most cost-effectively get the goods to the customer.
- Clicampo currently services Belo Horizonte, Campinas, and, as of this month, São Paulo.
Why it matters:
Through its digital platform that can automate much of the forecasting, selling, and buying process, Clicampo hopes to address imbalance and inequalities in Brazil’s agrifood value chain.
Of Brazil’s roughly 5 million farming families, 20% work for big farming corporations while the other 80% are small- to medium-sized operations, says Bernardino. However, the 80% produces “the same amount of food” as bigger farms while receiving only about 10% to 15% of the revenue.
“The wealth is not distributed [well] between those farmers because they don’t have the logistical capacity to come into the cities or the commercial-side capabilities to make good negotiations on the price-per-kilogram they get for their produce,” he adds.
Because of that, ‘Big Farmers’ are often not just growers, they are also the “middlemen” distributors for those smaller operations, taking more of the proceeds and driving up the cost for retailers. For example, a tomato unit might leave the farm for R$2 (about $0.40) per kilo and reach the retail market at R$15 (roughly $3.00) because of “high levels of losses and inefficiencies in the supply chain.”
“The road between farmers and food services today is filled with a lot of intermediaries,” says Clicampo co-founder and CTO José Noblecilla. “Each one is applying a markup on top of the [original] price.”
“We want to break this chain between those middlemen and the big producers that work as middlemen, so we can deliver the goods directly,” adds Bernardino.
Part of Clicampo’s mission is to also build up the rural communities in Brazil. For example, one of the company’s production hubs, in the Brumadinho region, is helping workers affected by the 2019 dam collapse. In partnership with the Superação Brumadinho project, Clicampo has a logistical strategy for marketing the region’s products online. The initiative could increase the incomes by up to 40% for roughly 300 small producers impacted by the disaster.
Bernardino says the seed funding will go towards two key areas: hiring and expanding.
- The company employs about 60 people right now. New hires will largely be in technology and product development as well as wholesale leads.
- New capital will also go towards getting Clicampo’s service into more cities. The company plans to expand its sales presence in up to five cities around Brazil in 2022, and to grow 20 times over the next two years. The company says it also plans to commercialize around 3,000 tons of fresh food per month.