Exclusive | “Traceability is soon to become a commodity as AI and IoT massify.”: Diego Hoter, CEO Ucrop.it
As the world recovers from the deadly pandemic, the focus is back again on food security. Agrigate Global’s Saura Panigrahi spoke to Diego Hoter, CEO and Co-Founder Ucrop.it, a unique platform that enables the producer and his collaborators to tell the sustainability story of their crops thereby increasing the margin of his cultivation. Ucrop.it is one of the finalists of The Sustainable Agtech Challenge brought to you by The Yield Lab Institute and UNEP.
Congratulations on making it to the Final-8 of The Sustainable Agtech Challenge by the Yield Lab Institute. How has the experience gone?
We had a great journey so far since we first submitted our pitch in the Agtech Challenge. From all the information that we´ve gathered that made us understand how to communicate our business easily, to the pitch experience in front of a highly qualified audience, it has been a great learning experience for us.
How would you like to introduce your startup/innovation? Tell us more about the core area of operations and your team.
ucrop.it is in business to enable the sustainability-driven information flow of global food supply chains, to bring consumers and growers closer together, for a more sustainable and transparent world.
Coming from different backgrounds such as corporate agro (Diego), growers first mile firms (Marcos), and software development in the startup ecosystem (Matías), we decided to combine our skills to innovate in Agtech. Given the problem that the vast majority of farm management at a global scale is not at the consumer range, and that Latinamerica produces two-third of the global surplus food, we thought about how the blockchain and its potential to unlock traceable, decentralized, and affordable information could create crop certainty in commodity-producing countries. Then it was only needed to align the core drivers between growers, intermediaries, and consumers to design a sustainable business model that delivers crop certainty in a disruptive and impactful way. We called it ucrop.it.
The Agriculture Sector is very dynamic. What are the major challenges you are facing?
Some of our key challenges are:
Decentralization and growers adoption: digitalization is coming late into agriculture as the sector is one of the most delayed industries in adopting tech solutions. Our approach through which we help growers digitalize themselves and their crop cycles has proven to be very successful and much needed.
IoT: One major challenge in delivering remote crop certainty as we scale is to have reliable sources from which we derive data other than growers’ inputs. As we scale, we seek to integrate with platforms that would not only avoid manual input but also data-loading-duplication-efforts (which growers hate as they have held different apps for running their crops).
Competition: Traceability is soon to become a commodity. Many agtechs will be willing to provide traceability at a lower cost soon as AI and IoT massify. In essence, the value will only come from being able to impact products and services with valuable functional data to increase their differentiation and value. That’s the reason why our advantages rely mainly on our scalable product, and multiple value layers creation, while we reach a huge mass of growers.
In recent times, agri-tech has become one of the favorites for investors. What would be your pitch to a prospective investor?
Why is this the best moment for joining us? In the new normal, traceability will not be a black box as it is today.
If you want to engage on this journey at an early stage for delivering traced hectares to the agrifood sector in the next years over millions of hectares, leading a disruptive and purpose-driven shift in the industry, come talk to us.
Agritech is booming with innovative ideas. What would be your advice to young entrepreneurs who would like to venture into this segment?
Find a problem still unsolved, with specific pain points, and dream big in finding a solution that can change the lives of people and crack the code of the business-as-usual paradigm.
Finally, tell us more about your plans.
We are reaching momentum in LATAM, while our operations land in Paraguay, Brazil, Uruguay and consolidate in Argentina. Plans are to continue growing and expanding to the US in 2022.
Disclaimer: The views expressed here are his own and do not reflect the views of Agrigate Global.