Big data for smarter agriculture.
2017 finalist Agrovisio is on the fast track. They already have paying customers and their revenue forecast for 2018 is $ 500,000.
“We founded the company in December 2017 and 5 months later we have 2 offices, 9 FTE and 2 academic advisors.”
What do they do? They designed Agrovisio as a SaaS solution providing big data analytics from farm scale to national scale that uses a unique combination of soil characteristics, climate models and satellite imagery. With every image, Agrovisio automatically detects farmlands and identifies crops with high precision. This provides valuable and actionable insights to clients. Agrovisio uncovers the hidden opportunities in agricultural businesses.
Effectively using satellite imagery
“What we are doing is that we uncover the hidden information in agricultural fields by using satellite imagery,” says Osman Baytaroğlu – Founder of Agrovisio. “Satellite imagery is not a new technology, it’s been here for some decades, but it’s not effectively utilized yet. Some high tech solutions, such as precision agriculture solutions and agricultural drones are available only in developed countries.
But what we see here in Turkey - and Turkey is a developing country, not at the high end of the spectrum - these solutions are basically out of reach. Not only for the farmers, but for everyone in the agriculture sector. And we noticed the same problem in other developing countries. That’s why we see a huge potential for these big data applications using satellite imagery.”
“We are all engineers. Attending CLP taught me to focus on the business side much more in order to make the biggest impact.”
“When we attended the competition we thought about targeting farmers directly. That approach would make it quite easy to calculate CO2 reduction. But during ClimateLaunchpad we changed our plan. Right now we are targeting the agricultural insurance and banking industries and ministries of agriculture. These institutions help farmers, for example by grouping them to some regional levels and keeping incentives based on their regions. That old approach unfortunately misses its targets in general, since it misses the exact needs of every farmer by some margins. Right now we are working together with these institutions to effectively decide on incentives, finance and insurance to each and every farmer based on the lands they own.
In short, we measure agricultural risks and create a more sustainable supply chain for everybody. We are looking at productivity, that will be our impact. It is estimated that not adapting to climate change will cost 15% in productivity in Turkey alone. Globally this will be a huge issue.””
Climate risk analysis for crop fields
“So what we are doing is mostly using several satellites, going to a few field trips per region and then providing insights based on our customers’ needs. For example, we started working with a Turkish farming insurance institution a few months ago. We provide climate risk analysis for each and every single field in Turkey. And our second stage solution is a SaaS tool, offering them an automated real time damage analysis and reporting based on satellite imagery.
We are in talks with several other companies such as banks and wholesalers both in domestic markets and abroad. We will provide them with information on what is being grown in the fields right now, productivity levels, yield threats and loss mitigation and an estimation of expected yield amount using our solutions.”
First paying customers
“As we developed our business model, we realised that before we could reach out to farmers – there should be an environment where they can utilize the data we provide. So we started working with strategy management, planning and forecast at national level. Only when the incentives are good for the farmers, can we start targeting them. So now, our first paying customers are these big institutions.”
From academic problem to business mode
“At first the idea was actually an academic problem. It had been in one of our consultant’s minds for over 20 years and they worked on it a lot. A good model had been developed. At that point they demonstrated with some customers that the model worked. The problem was that they were doing it by hand. And the success of the model was dependent on the expertise of the people doing the job. When I and my co-founders met with them a business idea emerged and we built our team quickly. Me and my co-founders are electronics and software engineers and our profession is mainly on computer science. Early 2017 we showed them that we can make an automation of this solution. That would make it a scalable product instead of a consulting business. It went well, we started some demos with the Insurance institution and they became our first customer. We founded the company in December 2017 and now we have 2 offices, 9 FTE and 2 academic advisors. By the end of 2018 we are aiming to grow above $ 500,000 in revenue.”
Ambitions for coming years
“We are now working with these big institutions. We think they are not the only ones who need our solution.”
“First we need to be sure that we understood the business model correctly and I hope we will reach that point in 2018. We are now working with these big institutions and we think they are not the only ones who need our solution. We are currently looking into other customers who might be interested. We want to expand - first in Turkey and then to neighbouring countries or countries with similar economic development. Then we might apply for some EU grants for technical excellence and we may approach some venture capital for scaling up our business. That will be hopefully around the beginning of 2019.”
Spend your time wisely
“Going through the competition changed my mind on where to focus: on both of the business and technology side. That’s how you get to make the biggest impact. It also taught me to have a broader view. Our time spent at ClimateLaunchpad was time well spent. I attended several other competitions before but here we got the biggest win.”