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jan 08, 2018

In Brazil, small producers benefit from state-of-the-art technology

Good technology is not only about having more futuristic features. It is also about making complicated processes seem easy. That’s the spirit behind Aegro, an agritech company created by four IT experts from Rio Grande do Sul. Aegro is a system made for small and medium-sized producers to help manage all stages of the production process.

The platform combines the classic spreadsheets with geolocation, messaging apps, and business administration software. Producers can choose an area on a map and inform which kind of crop will be planted in that region, plan every step of the way (from seeding to cropping), add unexpected events and measure the results. All of this is kept in the cloud and can be accessed on any device, from anywhere in the world. The system can also be accessed offline, for farms in more isolated regions.

Besides being an easy-to-use platform, Aegro benefits from its “freemium” business model. Part of its functionalities are free, but users can subscribe to access other features, such as management of stocks, assets, sales, and cash inflow. Prices range from 1.99 to 3.99 Brazilian Reals per hectare – depending on the size of the property.

According to the founders, the affordable price is the young company's biggest asset. It makes sophisticated administration software available for smaller producers. This will help farmers avoid unnecessary costs, as well as giving them more predictability in their business, increasing efficiency and profitability.

Aegro was already downloaded over 10,000 times and has 1,567 active users. Most clients run properties from 700 to 1,500 hectares – which are considered to be small to medium-sized, according to Brazilian standards. CEO Pedro Dusso declared that the client base grows by 15 percent every month. Over 60,000 hectares are being completely administered through Aegro.

It took 18 months for the system to be developed, and it was commercially launched in February 2016. To turn the idea into reality, the four founders of Aegro attracted multiple investors. Incubated by the Porto Alegre-based WOW, an independent organization, the company also got support from the IT Entrepreneurship Lab at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS).

Recently, the company received a 2.5 million-Brazilian-Real investment from SP Ventures, the Paulista Innovation Fund. That’s why the company is moving from Porto Alegre to Piracicaba, a municipality in the countryside of São Paulo that became known as the “Brazilian agritech wonderland.