At Agrosmart, a $20 million round to become a fintech | Startups

When she was just 16 years old, Mariana Vasconcelos was liberated from Minas Gerais by her father, Marcos – a corn producer in southern Minas – and soon helped run Morro Chic, the family’s bakery in Itajubá, while simultaneously doing management at the city’s university.

It wasn’t entirely a surprise when he founded Agrosmart, a startup at the age of 23 and recently graduated, with two of her friends, starting her path with a climate sensor that helps save water in crops – within a few years, agtech reached 100,000 farmers at the base.

In a world marked by climate change (São Pedro’s volatility is increasing, and not because of it), the food industries need to closely monitor commodity suppliers to promote sustainable production, a challenge that Agrosmart has found a solution to.

Using sensors, transit data and algorithms that help with irrigation recommendations for each farm – based on the local climate – Agrosmart tracks 58 million hectares (for comparison, Brazil grows nearly 41 million hectares of soybeans), attracting clients such as AB Inbev and Raízen, Cargill Bradesco, Syngenta. “Our weather forecasting algorithm is one of the most accurate,” says Vasconcelos, CEO of agtech, which was founded in 2014.

Mariana Vasconcelos, founder of Agrosmart: At age 16, edited by her father – Photo: Disclosure

At Nestlé, one of the largest coffee buyers on the planet, Agrosmart technology has brought relief to climate-scarred small producers in Espirito Santo, saving more than 70% of water and electricity. “The coffee boom became more uniform and the production was of a higher quality,” says the CEO. The data collected also allows the Nespresso owner and other customers to know the carbon footprint of the suppliers.

Agrosmart’s solution, which includes weather sensors and daily WhatsApp alerts, also helped reduce the incidence of coffee rust (a fungal disease) from 30% to 3%. “We were able to anticipate rust up to 15 days in advance, which allows us to adjust the pesticide application calendar,” he says.

With the results, Agrosmart has not only attracted customers. The startup’s technology is also attracting investors. A few months after founding the company together with Rafael Pizzi and Talise Nicoletti, Vasconcelos raised capital through accelerators Baita and Thrive and director SP Ventures – the venture capital firm created by Francisco Jardim has already invested R$10 million in Agrosmart.

AgroSmart technology helps reduce water and electricity use in crops – Photo: Disclosure

Almost two years ago, agtech made the Series A, raising another 22 million R$ in a round led by InovaBra (Bradesco Fund) and in which Positivo also participated. Now, Agrosmart is in full control of a Series B that will take the startup to another level, entering financial services, starting with a product-targeted credit card and digital wallet.

“It’s a round from $15 million to $20 million,” Vasconcelos reveals. Agtech does not disclose the value, but a portion of that amount has already been raised with Sucafina – the Swiss-based coffee trader has announced it is participating in the round, without disclosing the number. The tour is expected to conclude in a few months, and will attract money from the United States, Europe and Latin America.

Agrosmart’s Series B thesis is the possibility of exploring financial services with an ESG footprint, leveraging a base of 100,000 products – the largest part is in Brazil, but agtech is also present in other Latin American countries and the United States. Initially, Boosterbank will have a credit card and wallet, but the founder is already envisioning bolder steps, funding larger carbon-sequestration projects on farms and renewable agriculture.

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