Agriculture is undergoing an important transformation and this year’s International Agricultural Show showcased a variety of technical and technological innovations. With AGTech start-ups and scale-ups in France raising 100 million euros in 2018, and almost twice that in 2019, agriculture is clearly one area in which new technologies have their rightful place. The innovations they allow, in particular by putting data at the forefront of agricultural transformation, give cause for optimism about the capacity of French farmers to meet the major challenges of population explosion and climate change as well as coping with the new expectations of consumers (transparency on food products, use of plastic, organic products, short circuit, …). At FAMM, our investments and our involvement in the financing of (not just support for) many Green Growth and AGTech start-ups are our way of responding to these challenges, supporting these start-ups in their growth, their strategy and their scalability.
How some of the start-ups we’ve invested in have developed; an overview:
AGRICONOMIE: hypergrowth for the 1st European marketplace
Agriconomie, the 5th most successful start-up in terms of growth this year (80% growth), is currently the number one European marketplace for farmers and producers. While 67% of farmers in France use digital technologies almost daily as part of their operations, 350,000 farmers use the Agriconomie.com website every month, out of a total of 400,000 farmers and 370,000 farms. With a turnover of 30 million euros and nearly a hundred employees, Agriconomie has reached maturity on the national market and its growth prospects now lie in the development of new services and on an international level. The vision remains unchanged: helping farmers to improve profits, both with the products sold on the platform but also with all the useful information and services available to help them better understand and integrate the challenges related to transparency and short supply chains.
PROMUS or how short supply chains are transforming our agriculture
With Promus, our goal is to develop short supply chains in particular by strengthening the links between urban / peri-urban zones and agriculture. Thanks to a single logistics system centered on “Promus Boxes”, mini warehouses set up near farms, the storage of food products makes it possible to make single deliveries to towns and cities, thereby limiting road transport. The benefit is not only ecological and financial for the producer; lower transport costs also mean lower prices for customers. In this way, Promus responds to the challenges of proximity and flexibility by putting technology at the service of usage: data makes it possible to record delivery of all products to the Promus Box, and with the logic of the Smart city and the revolution of food product delivery in towns and cities, it becomes possible to continuously optimize both means and time of transportation.
WEENAT: data at the heart of farming
Agriculture is becoming ever more technical: farmers increasingly need to collect information to optimize their farms’ production. Weenat’s goal is not only to collect data (weather, …) but also to provide predictive models that better anticipate climate and environmental risks. Now more than ever, farmers need to feel confident in their decisions, beyond seeking cost optimization. Knowing how to capture useful data and interpret it appropriately is by nature a central element for farmers, allowing them to continue developing their crops in the coming years. When farmers share data, the predictive models on offer become more reliable, and the exchanges between professionals and advice shared have greater value.
CONNECTING FOOD: world leader in blockchain for food transparency
The trust shown by major players in the food industry (Danone, Carrefour, Herta …) validates the technological approach of Connecting Food using blockchain. At the heart of Connecting Food’s project is the challenge of food transparency demanded by consumers, which must now be addressed by leaders in the food industry. The independent technology entirely developed by internal teams makes Connecting Food the benchmark in food transparency but also in terms of indisputability and unfalsifiability. Connecting Food is a world leader thanks to the support of a growing number of customers and its broad coverage of different food chains (meat, milk, eggs, …). Consumers have gone from being mistrustful to being distrustful, forcing brands to work to regain trust through certified procedures guaranteeing the transparency of food production and processing. This revolution does not only affect large multinationals: small producers are also on the front line. The finding of a solution does not concern just a few players and there needs to be universal acknowledgment that food transparency guaranteed by blockchain technology will help regain consumer confidence.
THE GREEN DATA: supporting agricultural entrepreneurs facing economic challenges
While we have explained how the predictive futures models proposed by Weenat are essential to farmers in providing them with more certainty and optimising production costs, it is in fact the entire microeconomic simulation of agricultural holdings, integrating both technological and financial dimensions, that must be taken into account. The Green Data responds to the challenges of accompanying agricultural holdings to maturity. We need to change our approach, no longer viewing agricultural professionals through a traditional lens as rural farmers, but rather as connected entrepreneurs in a modern world in which the stakes have multiplied. It’s about knowing how to make the right choices, like any entrepreneur, to ensure the growth and profitability of an activity. Global warming will bring about great cultural change in the coming years and farmers must be able to project themselves into THE and THEIR future, with confidence and conviction about their farming choices. We can no longer speak of agriculture in the singular, but of different types of agriculture and within these types of agriculture there are sectors. When you choose to create an organic sector, for example, it is at minimum a 5- to 10-year commitment, and a requirement to manage all the risks associated with these new sectors.
MiiMOSA: launch of a 50-million-euro fund
Behind all economic revolution and transition are hidden financing needs. MiiMOSA is now established and recognized as the crowdfunding platform for the agricultural world with more than 10 million raised in 2019. To take things further, Florian Breton, founder and CEO of MiiMOSA recently announced the launch of “Agir ensemble” (acting together), the first debt fund for agricultural and ecological transition providing 50 million euros. The goal is to combine all credit collections on the MiiMOSA platform to bring greater simplicity and speed in financing.
DIGITAL FARM: a powerful ecosystem of 45 AGTech start-ups
In just a few years La Ferme Digitale has become a true ecosystem, in the real sense of the term: there are multiple invaluable interactions between the different start-ups and connected partners, who can now make important advances by collaborating with each other. Farmers, professional organizations as well as unions and the French Ministry of Agriculture today recognize the positive impact of La Ferme Digitale. The objective now is to go beyond French borders and make France a cradle of innovation for AGTech at the European or even global level.
We are the leading agricultural power in Europe and it is our responsibility to ensure that this leadership is also found in AGtech and in its international implementation.Florian Breton – La Ferme Digitale’ Co-funder