Elevator Ventures, Raiffeisen Bank International’s corporate fund, and Speedinvest, a major Berlin-based VC fund, are backing Russian agritech startup Agro.Club in a $1.5 million seed funding round.
Founded in 2018, Agro.Club defines itself as “a mobile platform connecting growers, their suppliers and crop purchasers into a single network.” It says it is building “an efficient marketplace – involving large multinationals and their retailers, – a source of valuable analytics, marketing and networking tools throughout the whole agriculture value chain, from seed to sale.”
“Trust between farmers and a new buyer can often be a tricky issue,” says Agro.Club founder and CEO Egor Kirin. “Will the farmer deliver on time? Will the grain buyer pay in full? So Agro.Club bridges the trust gap by facilitating all payments, guaranteeing the quality, and handling delivery.”
Speedinvest believes agriculture is “one of the most attractive markets to embed financial services.” Seeing in Kirin “an outstanding founder,” fund associate Enrique Martinez-Hausmann said: “We were enthusiastic about the opportunity from day one. We have built a solid relationship with the team for the last nine months and are excited about joining forces to make agriculture fair, transparent and sustainable.”
From Russian farms to Western markets
Agro.Club has its main operations in Russia, a fast-developing $20 billion agriculture industry. It claims to serve almost 20% of Russian farmers and support deals amounting to millions of euros each month.
The startup also has big international ambitions. Recently it moved its headquarters to New York City in order to conquer the US market. US industry veteran Neil Arbuckle has joined Agro.Club as the Managing Director for the region. Also joining the North America team as Campaign Strategist is Erin Romeo.
“Having been at the table with farmers, retailers and manufacturers, I know the Agro.Club platform is a digital solution that can solve for those challenges and strengthen those relationships,” said Romeo.
Agro.Club now plans to enter European markets.