AgTech startup Strider sees smarter farming beyond Brazil
Wireless Technologies

AgTech startup Strider sees smarter farming beyond Brazil

To have a product that any farmer in the world would like to use: that’s the goal and formula for success at Brazilian agriculture technology (AgTech) startup Strider, says CEO and co-founder Luiz Tângari. With operations in four countries, Strider is a Big Data platform aimed at improving farm management and optimising decisions. Founded in 2013, the firm promises reduction of costs and maximisation of farm productivity with its user-friendly technology. Revenue almost tripled in 2016 and it expects similar growth this year.

“One of our differentials is our proximity to the market and our concern to create something truly useful for the producer,” Tângari tells me. “Our work has always been guided by following closely, on the ground, the day-by-day challenges faced by the farmers. And from there, from the ground, to develop a technology to tackle the main problems they face.”

According to the company website, on the first day of using Strider a team will go to the farm to teach the farmer and his team how to use the technology. “And we will not leave until everyone is 100% confident,” he adds. This probably explains why 76 per cent of all new Strider clients are people that have adopted IT solutions for the first time in their farms.

“Producers are pragmatic: if they realize that innovation can help them to be more effective in their operations, they tend to adopt the solution,” says Tangâri, a serial entrepreneur who had no previous personal connection to farming, unlike many in the AgTech field.

“The idea emerged from seeing the demand found in this niche. An area like agribusiness, that represents one fourth of the [Brazilian] economy and has different demands for the IT field to solve, is an invitation to someone that wants to innovate.”

 

A two-pronged fork in the ground

The company has two products. The first to be developed is Strider Crop Protection, a system that uses satellite images and sensors to control the use of pesticides. The second, launched recently, is Strider Space: a tool that allows the farmer to have updated biomass analysis of the crop (basically, whether or not plants are dying) by using high-resolution satellite images.  

“The agribusiness is changing fast,” Tângari says. “IT tools are increasingly important in order to improve farm management on different fronts: pest monitoring, machines, satellite photography management, fleet tracking et cetera. There are so many issues that will not let the producer sleep peacefully at night and that can be solved through investment in technology tailored specifically to this sector.”  

In Brazil, Strider has been registering growth of 18 per cent per month in its customer base. Even so, this still represents only 1.5 per cent of the country’s potential market. In order to better understand that market, the company recently conducted a survey about internet penetration in Brazilian farms. Having interviewed 3,000 farmers across Brazil’s five regions, the survey showed that 80 per cent of farms had web access and that larger farms have close to 100 per cent access.   

 

Bearing fruit

Strider recently received a capital injection of $3m from Monashees Capital, Qualcomm Ventures and Barn Invest. In a text available at Medium, the director at Qualcomm Ventures Latin America, Dan Faccio, details why it decided to invest in the Brazilian company:

“We see Latin America and Brazil in particular as a fertile ground (no pun intended) for the development of AgTech companies. Some see the region lacking in traditional and favourable conditions for tech development. However, it more than makes up for it with market demand and potential. This demand (local farmers) can be a powerful driver for AgTech startups to blossom and evolve locally.”

But Strider is not focused only on Brazilian farmers. The startup is a proof that the country can be not only a big exporter of commodities but also an exporter of technology for the agribusiness. Most of its clients are based in Brazil but the company also has operations in the US, Mexico and Bolivia. According to Tângari, the volume of international clients has been growing rapidly. For example, in 2015 Strider expanded in the US market and in only 10 months its technology began to be used by over 115 farms in Texas. That’s real growth…

 

Also read:
How technology will help Latin America to feed the world
Satellite weather indexing aids Africa’s farmers
Agritech’s big opportunity in Asia
Kenya’s dairy farmers order cows online

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