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Image credit: Agrivi

Farm software startup Agrivi raises $4.8m for major expansion

November 20, 2020

Farm management platform Agrivi has raised a €4 million ($4.8 million) round from South Central Ventures, the European Investment Fund, and the Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

AgriTech Hub and Fil Rogue Capital also participated in the round.

Launched in 2013, the software-as-a-service company aims to help users make their crop operations more efficient. It claims that its platform is used in 100 countries, with Europe and North America providing the bulk of users. 

Farmers can use Agrivi’s platform to manage anything from “creating a crop plan and budget for the season, making weekly or daily plans based on actionable insights from the field, monitoring field operations, tracking farm expenses and sales, [to] understanding the unit cost and profit per field to ensure the full crop production traceability,” said CEO and founder Matija Zulj. 

“There are many more processes the platform supports, but full crop production lifecycle management is the core focus,” he told AFN.

UK-based Agrivi also services agrifood businesses, agricultural banks, and insurance companies. Its current client roster includes some high-profile players like Kimberly-Clark, Driscoll’s, and Nestlé.

The startup’s software supports multiple languages, currencies, and units of measurement to account for its global ambitions. Agrivi also strives to fine-tune its algorithms with local databases of pests and diseases so that farmers get the most tailored recommendations possible.

“Our business API and IoT API enable our customers to exchange the data with third-party systems, whether [they] want to get data from sensors and machinery into the platform or they want to integrate their [enterprise resource planning] systems like SAP or Microsoft Dynamics,” Zulj said.

The platform can also help agrifood businesses to reduce food loss and waste in the supply chain, he added.

“Our customer that produces processed vegetables experienced multi-million-dollar losses in [production] that was treated as an ‘acceptable loss’ to ensure quality. The cause of the loss was the identification of too-high levels of pesticide residues, which led them to throw away entire batches of the final product,” Zulj explained.

After adopting Agrivi’s platform and its built-in agronomy database, the customer was able to reduce loss, he said. The database includes all available commercial crop protection products and allows growers to manage the entire production process. It identifies which fields are ready to harvest now and which will be ready later to minimize the chance that loss will happen.

The funds will be used to help Agrivi expand its business across Europe and North America. Today, its main headquarters is in London. It also runs offices in Croatia, Poland, and Romania.

Farm management software has been one of the most active segments in agrifoodtech investment, with startups in the category raising $887 million last year according to AgFunder’s 2019 Agri-Food Tech Investing Report. [Disclosure: AgFunder is the parent company of AFN.]

That may indicate the space is in danger of becoming oversaturated. But Zulj sees Agrivi as offering something more than its many competitors.

“The majority [are] focused on basic insights and supporting main agronomy decisions. They rarely cover full crop production management and more rarely cover complete farm business management,” he said.

“Additionally, most products are available only within a single country, and often primarily address grain growers. There are actually very few complete farm management platforms with support for all crops. Agrivi stands out strongly.”

Europe has presented some challenges when it comes to scaling Agrivi’s software. Zulj described the market as fragmented, making it difficult to hop across borders.  

But his biggest challenge defies borders and instead seems to permeate farmer behavior, regardless of which continent they live in: Getting farmers to adopt new ways of doing things that are based on hard data, instead of intuition or rote habit.

“We are happy that the education stage of the market is done. Farmers know that there are actual benefits from using the farm management software,” he said.

“I like to use the analogy of the gym: Everybody knows that regular exercise is very good for your health and will bring you major benefits, but it is hard to start and even harder to keep doing it. That’s why we put a lot of focus on our customer success team that supports our customers in addressing this challenge.”

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