One element that companies in the agtech sector have in common is that they work to leave a better world behind. They use innovation and new technologies to improve and increase food production above the rate of population growth, generate efficiency in the use of resources such as water, help cut down on the use of pollutants, optimize soil yields, and create employment and fair trade in vulnerable communities, to name just a few advantages.

Their object is often in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to collaborate with the global climate crisis, one of the main concerns of the world’s major economies.

Therefore, although venture capital investments in this type of organization decreased after the peak of 2021, in line with the trend seen in all segments, it continues to be a desirable market. The AgriFoodTech Investment Report for 2023, prepared by AgFunder, indicates that in 2022 funding to the agrifoodtech sector amounted to USD 29.6 billion, a hint of the growth path forecast in the coming years.

Natural challenges

To achieve their objectives, agtech companies must consider aspects that do not generate as much tension in other industries.

For example, the need to drive the organization under a data-driven model is, in these cases, essential. It not only allows informed decisions based on data but also enables traceability and transparency of operations and the generation of accurate and verifiable reports based on metrics, essential to generate trust in consumers, partners, and potential investors, as well as social license.

Another barrier is often driving the digital mindset along the value chain. Many times, agtechs need to interact with small suppliers or rural communities to meet their goals, resulting in digital process bottlenecks, numerous manual tasks, and human-performed data uploads where errors or delays can appear.

There are even operational aspects that are often overlooked. People working in the field, in complex conditions, in scenarios with particular characteristics (temperatures, sun, humidity, water) or using equipment such as gloves or helmets.

The UX (user experience) discipline in the creation of digital products for this segment is therefore essential, as it provides real research and analysis of the user’s workspace, detects what digital tools are needed for each person to complete their task and turns it into reality when the application is available.

Revamping Carbon-Positive Solutions

Recently, a company building a verification platform for carbon removal from the soil detected a series of obstacles hindering the positive impact it intended to generate. For one thing, they encountered bottlenecks in taking measurements, which often had to be done manually, and other difficulties in collecting and transmitting data that resulted in an even more significant problem: the accuracy of the final information was compromised.

At that moment, they decided to transition, abandon the manual operation, and structure an end-to-end digitized process. At Making Sense, we applied all our industry experience, coupled with our UX expertise, to develop the frontend, backend, and website, as well as a mobile application so that workers could fulfill their mission, even when they were in remote testing locations or subjected to complex weather conditions.

Today, 100% of the samples are taken with cell phones, reducing costs by 50% to 60%, as there is no longer any need to purchase specific measuring equipment. Moreover, we added a geolocation system to increase efficiency by allowing simultaneous data collection by several people in the field.

Most importantly, we ensure that the company’s operations are future-proof, i.e., flexible, adaptable, and resilient to incorporate cutting-edge technology solutions that may appear later and be helpful to the business.

Many agtechs have the potential to help create a better, more caring world. The future is even more promising if we give them the right tools.