12 Jul 2018   |   Network Updates   |   Update from Esade
These updates are republished press releases and communications from members of the Science|Business Network

Agritech start-up closes €1.2 million investment round, the largest in ESADE's history

Agroptima, a startup founded by ESADE alumna Emilia Vila (Bachelor & MBA, ‘09), has raised €1.2 million. This investment round, led by Athos Capital with the participation of ESADE BAN and the company’s current partners, will be invested primarily in internationalisation and technological development. This investment round was the largest in ESADE BAN’s history after the round closed by the app Signaturit in 2017.

The Agroptima app enables farmers and agricultural firms to manage their farmland more efficiently. Daily operations are recorded in the app (sowing, fertilising, harvesting, etc.), allowing farmers to consult all the information they need in a single web-based platform. Users can download crop data, performance reports and field notes showing the dosage of pesticides employed, as well as the traceability reports required by the Ministry of Agriculture.

Agroptima, which expects to exceed €1 million in turnover in the next 12 months, plans to invest the capital obtained in this investment round – the second involving the participation of ESADE BAN – in “the internationalisation of the company and the ongoing development of the platform”, according to CEO and co-founder Emilia Vila.

An app to get everything done out in the field

Agroptima saves an average of one hour of work per day. Whereas farmers used to make note of agricultural operations on paper or in a spreadsheet after coming in from the fields, the app allows them to get this work done while they are out in the fields. Farmers can access information about which crops are the most profitable and identify loss-making tasks in order to make better decisions and turn a larger profit.

“We are very pleased with Agroptima’s recent round of financing for several reasons,” commented Fernando Zallo, Director of ESADE BAN. "First, it sets a new record for the largest amount of funding ever provided by ESADE BAN investors in a single round. In addition, Agroptima is the initiative of a young businesswoman who is also an alumna of ESADE. This confirms the trend of new entrepreneurs who are creating successful companies just a few years after finishing their education at ESADE. Finally, we are pleased to see a technological solution in a traditional sector – agriculture – that was greatly in need of innovation.”

1,700 customers and 530,000 hectares of farmland

Agroptima’s clientele is made up of farmers and agricultural firms who manage a total of 530,000 hectares of farmland. The company currently has 1,700 paying customers as well as 100,000 users who have downloaded a free trial version of the app. Ninety percent of Agroptima’s customers renew their subscription. The startup has also started to work with agrofood companies, including a corn-nuts producer that uses Agroptima to manage its 10,000 hectares of corn fields.

“When farmers realise that they can have all the data about their fields and their crops at their fingertips, they never go back. We think it is essential to pamper and to listen to our users. We conduct periodic site visits and answer questions by phone or chat with a turnaround time of less than 24 hours,” explained Ms. Vila. “Our customers are individual farmers, family farms and small and medium-sized agricultural firms that grow row crops such as grains as well as vineyards, fruits, vegetables, olives and nuts.”

Lines of development

The app is currently capable of linking to agricultural equipment such as Cerea, an agricultural GPS system for self-driving tractors. “At Agroptima, we are bringing to life our vision of connecting agriculture and automatically compiling in a single platform all the information provided by machinery and other elements that generate data in the field, such as sensors,” explained Ms. Vila.

In September, the company plans to roll out Agroptima Maps, a series of tools that will allow farmers to view their tasks and fields in a much more visual, map-based format within the Agroptima app.

Agroptima was created after a group of farmers from Cooperativa Agro Igualada identified the need for a simple way to make note of agricultural tasks, keep their field notes up to date and control their farming costs. The business model consists of a €249 per-user yearly subscription fee (pricing varies depending on the desired functionality).

This release was first published 11 July 2018 by ESADE.

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