Seedz co-founder and CEO Matheus Ganem believes Brazil’s farmers are leaving a lot of money on the table. While digital tools are certainly making their way into the Brazilian agriculture sector, most of the transactions between farmers and their supply chain partners are still done offline. Misinformation, inconsistent pricing and missed financial opportunities are just a few of the consequences of this lack of digitization, says Ganem.
At the same time, industry suppliers could do more to help these farmers grow if they had more actionable data readily available.
Seedz addresses both of these problems with an online agribusiness marketplace and loyalty program. Once registered, farmers can buy products such as inputs or equipment and gain “SDZ” points to use towards additional products, courses, or even paying bills. It’s not unlike the frequent-flyer points system used by airlines. The platform’s major goal is to help farmers transition to digitization by taking their transactions online and also giving them opportunity to try new tools and services.
Below, Ganem (MG) explains how the Seedz marketplace works, its major benefits for growers and suppliers, and what comes next for the company.
AFN: What problems in agribusiness does Seedz address?
MG: With Seedz, we wanted to address two problems: bringing growers into a digital world where they would be doing more transactions online and, for industry players, making data actionable.
The company started from my own experience — I come from a family that [has been] in agribusiness for four generations. I’m a grower myself. After studying engineering, I went to work for a national company [where I was] responsible for creating a good market strategy for Brazil agribusiness markets.
By doing that, I had the chance to see agribusiness from the perspective of someone who wants to sell something to growers, to know growers and their problems, to understand the value chain, all the distribution channels and sales channels and everything related to getting your products and services to the farm.
It was clear that both industries and growers were missing opportunities, especially looking at Brazil. Every day, growers are getting more digitized, but they’re not doing very [many] transactions online. [There is] a lot of misinformation in the market. Growers sometimes pay different prices [for] the same product. A lot of growers are losing credit opportunities, financial opportunities to improve the business. A lot of that comes from the fact that they are not managing their business in a digital way.
There is also a very strong lack of data intelligence analytics, which means industry players have a big challenge in understanding the products on ground and the sell-out information and all this trade information between the supporters, cooperatives, sales teams, etc.
Farmers being digital could address some of the industry’s problems. Most industries look at the past to understand the sales, but they are not actually making decisions through data. With Seedz, we tried to figure out the way to combine these two strategies of making data available and actionable, and on the other hand bringing farmers to a digital.
I came up with the idea of creating a CRM company for agribusiness companies with a loyalty program on top of that.
On the one hand, we would be able to integrate different companies in the agribusiness value chain that all have the same customer, which is the grower. We would be able to understand the data from the different parts of a transaction, then put that information into a CRM for companies to actually use information from their customers.
Then, we could give something back to growers if we could create a unique currency they could earn when they’re buying what they need for the farm from different partners and use to improve their business.
AFN: Walk us through how it works for growers.
MG: From the moment growers sign up to the Seedz platform, they become eligible to benefit from the incentives awarded by members of Seedz’ coalition.
Growers sign up, then purchase their inputs (e.g., machinery parts, chemicals, fertilizers) in one of the members of Seedz’ coalition (e.g., manufacturers, retailers)
Retailers share the sales data with Seedz, and generate SDZ coins based on a set rule (e.g., 100 SDZ coins per dollar spent). SDZ Coins are automatically awarded to growers’ wallet. Growers can redeem their SDZ coins with any of the many offers within Seedz’ platform (offers include cash back, products and services for their farm, their home, products offered by Seedz partners, and Seedz own products and services)
AFN: What about for dealers?
MG: Dealers can become a part of the Seedz’s coalition program in two different ways:
As a direct client, by subscribing to Seedz platform and using it to create their own client engagement strategies. So dealers hire Seedz and get access to the platform. Seedz integrates with the dealer’s ERP system to allow the sharing of sales information.
Then, Dealers create their engagement strategies (for customers or for their own salespeople) within Seedz platform. For example, for every purchase of product X, a customer will get 1,000 SDZ coins as a reward and the sales person will get another 1,000 SDZ. Dealers can track the evolution and results of their sales campaigns and customer engagement through Seedz online dashboards. They can also act upon observed data by modifying the existing campaigns or creating new ones.
Another option is to be an indirect partner by integrating with Seedz to share information with other players of the value chain.
In this case, dealers allow Seedz to integrate with their ERP systems. Dealers decide which information they wish to share with other players (e.g., chemicals manufacturers). In exchange for the shared information, manufacturers award dealers with SDZ coins to be redeemed by the dealer itself, or re-distributed to dealers’ customers and/or salespeople.
AFN: What makes Seedz stand out?
MG: On the one hand, we make the sales process a lot more effective and help companies to address customers in the best, fastest way.
But we are also doing something that benefits the grower. From the grower perspective, they are earning benefits and offers for everything they need. Also we have a marketplace dedicated to improving growers’ business. We have a lot of partners, startups, technology companies, and products and services that they’re able to trade for with these points.
From the CRM perspective, we bring external data to our partners. So we are not only providing a better understanding of their own business and their own data, but we are also bringing data from the farms in Brazil. We empower the CRM with proper agribusiness information, which no other CRM can provide.
AFN: What’s next?
MG: We are not in a phase of really deep commercial expansion. We are expanding just with existing customers, mainly international and multinational customers. And we are about to start our operations in North America, so we are hiring a team right now in the USA so we can start the first part of our strategy there.
We have transactional revenue and software revenues, the company is cashflow positive already and we have a team of around 90 people. I think most of our business is focused on really transforming the growers way of doing their business, where we think there’s a lot of money left on the table. They could be more profitable and working with the value chain puts us in a position to actually address this.