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The Bogotá-based startup took home first place in Glocal’s Agrifoodtech 2020 Pitch Day.
As a result, it has the possibility of raising around US$100,000.
Simultaneously, Agrapp is keeping itself busy raising its seed round for US$250,000 for which it’s closed more than 40 percent according to Agrofy News.
Agrapp and a growing problem
Co-Founders Carlos Zubieta and David Ricardo studied to become engineers.
But surprisingly they’re not sowing any IoT or AI-type products at Agrapp. Instead, they’ve built a crowdfunding platform for growers.
“We started out trying to bring tech-type solutions to farmers, but they weren’t interested,” says Duarte who acts as Agrapp’s CEO. “That’s when we realized the real need was in accessing financing.”
According to the executive, over 85 percent of small and medium-sized growers in Colombia have never set foot at a bank. Barriers such as a limited number of branches in rural areas and even discrimination can deter growers from going to a bank.
And even if they go to one, there’s a very real possibility they’ll be turned away anyway.
That’s where Agrapp comes in.
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Connecting growers with financing
One might wonder if a grower shies away from tech… will a crowdfunding concept be acceptable? And Agrapp has that front covered.
The startup works with a team that’s literally on the field talking with farmers about expected yields and investment returns. This personnel ultimately acts as a liaison to connect the financials with the actual agricultural-bit.
Likewise, most of the fintech’s growers are small and own just one hectare (less than half an acre).
But don’t count them out just yet.
Farmers on the Agrapp platform only grow products that can be exported such as passion fruit. That means more money to go around for everyone.
As of its May 2018 launch, the platform has rallied over US$200,000 in funds for small and medium-sized growers from more than 100 investors. In exchange for their fine contribution, Agrapp says investors get an average 17 percent yearly return.
The plan further down the road is to launch financial solutions for certain products like cacao and avocados.
And because Colombia isn’t the only country with crummy financing solutions for growers, Agrapp wants to launch into Ecuador, Mexico, and Brazil before year’s end.
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