Agriculture · Business scale

How do ag-tech startups find niches where major agribusinesses don’t operate?

Nikola Aleksić QA Tester

May 15th, 2017

I recently read that ag-tech startups have already raised more than $300m in 2017. I used to assume that agribusinesses were basically impossible to compete with because they have so many resources to throw at every conceivable agriculture problem (largely due to the windfall profits associated with large-scale farming). Is building technologies the way to compete and make a profit yourself in agriculture?

Karl Schulmeisters Founder ExStreamVR

May 16th, 2017

I've not worked directly in AgTech, but I've done some consulting on the heavy machinery and infotech side of the business. This is a capital intensive industry and the capital investments tend to be long lived with long sales cycles. Furthermore because it is inherently a "commodities futures" based business with fairly large risks there is a significant barrier to entry unless you are willing to engage in "risk sharing" with your early adopters.


Consider: https://www.nass.usda.gov/Quick_Stats/Ag_Overview/stateOverview.php?state=IOWA

  • it costs roughly $200 to seed an acre of soybeans
  • the ROI on that will be $440 on avg
  • the average soybean farm is around 300 acres
  • so that means the farmer has to upfront invest some $60,000 to sow the field
  • Plus the amortization on the equipment he has
  • Plus the mortgage/leases for the land

  • it takes about 60 days for soybeans to mature enough to harvest


So the farmer basically has to borrow money to sow the crop. and if anything your technology does fails to deliver on the promised yields or even harms the yields, he is in deep doo doo. So unless the technology is proven, you have a tough row to hoe (pun intended)


Your best bet on small AgTech would be to get involved with a University Research and Extension program to prove out your technology (which will take 2-3 years) because farmers rely heavily on their advice for how to plant and grow and what new technologies to adopt.

Lokesh R Cofounder & CEO

May 26th, 2017

Hi friends.... I am having abundant resources for agri products namely, dried morenga, neem, spirulina, tulsi, essential oils

, coco peat, Gymnema sylvestre, soap nuts, spices and all other country medicines & herbals. I would like to export all these products & looking for cofounders worldwide. Need experts advice on this regards...Kindly revert on er.lokeshr@gmail.com.... Thanks in advance....

Lokesh, India

Elie Lecaplain looking for a Cofounder with a background in Data-analysis and DataScience background

May 15th, 2017

not only that, you need to be creative, and rethink that when you pay a fruit or a vegetable a large part of the price is transport, so you have to be creative also with the business model :-)

i advise you to read and watch docs about circular economy