Intterra is an agtech company focused on elaborating various digital services for different participants in the agriculture industry.
Currently, we are focused on two main participants categories, such as Farmers and their Suppliers (seeds, chemicals, and fertilizers).
For farmers, we are offering a service that should hep them with three main aspects: pre-season, in-season and industry connections.
At the pre-season level, we help farmers decide what technology and inputs to choose, considering their field specifics, climate, machinery and so on as sort of customised agronomic advice that ends up in a detailed season (cropping) plan. During the growing season, we help them determine the best way to implement their cropping plan and how they plan and execute their operations. This includes precision agriculture elements such as variable rate fertilizer application, enterprise resource planning, and crop monitoring. The first facet of our service is important; it’s the instant and integrated connection with various agronomic experts and consultants through our system, both during the pre-season and in-seasons period — both independent and suppliers-related consultants — that help the agronomist choose the technology, monitor crop development, make fast and appropriate corrective decision within the season.
For input suppliers, we offer a service that helps them to organise their interaction and communication process with their clients, the farmers. It works on many levels, such as planing their visits, distant monitoring the crop development on the fields of their clients, making field reports, diagnose the problems in the field, issuing various recommendations and eventually additional sales that are dedicated to solve a specific issue.
What we are trying to do, is to digitalize our clients’ standard operations, without frustrating and getting them defensive. Initially we recommend to start with a deep understanding what are the internal and external business procedures, and what can be optimized. For example:
We established in 2016 and have more than 50 people working at the company. We are not newcomers to the agriculture industry as we have more than 20 years of related experience, particularly in farming operations, and seed and chemical distribution. Therefore, right now under Intterra we are just trying to digitalize the expertise we have in the industry.
While that may appear to lack focus, we see this as the only solution. Services targeting just one client category will not survive long term, at least in our markets, because clients don’t want to use many different applications; ideally they would like to have one application that will serve as a platform to integrate various technologies and with all participants in their supply chain.
Then we plan to integrate traders, through an integrated trading platform, and financial institutions, such as banks and insurance companies. We do strongly believe in Agro-FinTech and will try to bring a solution on the market that will be as an alternative for the standard banking financing of the working capital facilities for farmers.
During the season, the farmer, his advisors, and his suppliers can all monitor the farm through the platform, and they can conduct in-season sales depending on his progress. At harvest, the farmer can connect with the trader that also uses SkyScout Trader and can place direct bids to the farmer, etc. That’s a simplistic case how such an integration works, of course, there are many other interconnections and higher complexity.
It is very technologically challenging, expensive and takes a lot of time to do it, but that’s the only way to do it. Of course, we don’t have illusions that long term we will create the best solutions for all these types of clients. Our goal is at least to succeed to be good enough in order to get all of them onboard on our platform, and after that, we will be ready and happy to integrate any other solutions that will be better than our in-house developed ones.
I understand that many startups are trying to use fancy technologies, such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, and so on, but as far as we can see it, it is more about marketing than real technology. Even if it real technology, the industry is not ready to embrace such technologies simply because for any AI to function, it needs data and currently, there is not enough reliable data.
There is potential for other technologies in the future, however. As soon as the client learns how to use at least one digital service, you can give him another one, and increase the complexity.
Our market — Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Belarus — is very different. Traditionally it has been created on different premises that other markets, including the following ways:
That’s why, it is a huge challenge for any foreign agtech company to penetrate our market and adapt their technologies to be suitable in these countries, largely because they don’t understand how our markets are functioning. It’s also important to have a local presence, and I don’t mean an office with two to three people, but a well-established office with various staff members including IT, agronomists, technical support, sales managers — at least 30 – 40 people, otherwise, they will freeze forever at the level of testing their technologies and never implementing at commercial scale.
This local presence is important in encouraging tech adoption, because clients will not learn it by themselves, regardless how genius the technology is that you have. We have to come to every client and have at least three to four teaching courses before they really start using the tools. You need to have 24/7 technical support that can answer the questions and ideally in 24 hours to come to the client and fix the problem or explain to him how to use the tool. It is impossible to do it remotely.
So far we have been able to grow without facing any serious competition. I guess it will stay the same for at least the next five years. Only after local companies like us break the ice will technology adoption increase and ready clients integrating other external technologies, including from foreign companies. Still, foreign companies will likely have to find local partners like us and use our digital relations with the client — the last mile — to channel their technologies on a per fee or revenues sharing business model. I imagine it would be the same if I wanted to take Intterra to the US.
The market is absolutely open for anyone who is ready to operate on it; there are no legal or technical barriers to do it. Actually, I would say that for the last five to seven years we’ve seen many big names testing something here, but none of them managed to get their roots in the ground yet.
Very different from the US or EU. In Russia, I would say we have about 15,000 agriculture producers operating on about 100 million hectares.
Everyone of these four categories has quite different operating model and needs and therefore the digital tools should be quite different for each one of them. IN WHAT WAY? There is no “magic solution” that fits all of them.
Russia has about 100 million hectares of arable land, Ukraine has about 40 million arable, Kazakhstan has about 25 million, and Belarus has about 5 million. Altogether, it is about 170 million so that’s a huge market to play on. Of course, not all this area is ready for digitalization and it will not happen overnight; it may take about 10 years I guess. But even today, at least 20% of this area, in one way or another, is ready to embrace digital tools.
Also, we need to pay attention to an important factor. Generally speaking the agronomy level in our regions are quite low and crops yields can be two or even three times lower than in the US and the EU. Of course, there are many objective reasons, such as the weather, but there is also a much lower level of agronomic knowledge in these countries and often bad farm management practices. Therefore, any technology that will help increase that knowledge and execution will see results quickly considering the current low base. As soon as it happens, the clients will overcome any credibility issues and technology will start being implemented at a higher rate.
Another reason why we focus on offering tools to many different participants is so we can charge less per each client group and therefore scale much quicker. If you connect to one farmer and then to his seed company, his fertilizer company, his chemical company, and his trader, and each is paying $1 per hectare, then you have $5 per hectare, and that’s already an interesting financial goal to achieve.
Generally speaking, I think that in the future when all participants use some kind of an integrated platform, technology providers like us could reach revenues of up to $10-$15 per hectare from all these users. Now, let say that if the average check from all these participants will be even $5/ha in the next 5 – 7 years, and at least only in Russia there will be 30 mln ha digitalized, then revenues could reach $150 million per year for all digital providers.
If our company was to take 30% of that only from Russia, then $50 million is a good goal for us, but I’m also sure that in the future there will be many other possibilities to capitalize on data and digital relations that we currently don’t even see.
Intterra has completed its first round of investments, company founders Vitaliy Buzu and Alexander Mikhailov told Vedomosti.
Agro Expert Group, a Russian company specializing in producing and selling crop protection products and micro fertilizers, and providing comprehensive agronomic support, and Intterra, a Russian developer of innovative agricultural solutions, have signed an agreement for the phased implementation of the SkyScout Advisor app. This app is developed by Intterra and designed to improve the quality and efficiency of agronomic support.
PhosAgro, one of the world’s leaders in the production of phosphate fertilizers, and Intterra, a Russian developer of innovative agricultural solutions, have concluded a cooperation agreement for the development and implementation of digital solutions for farmers.
Syngenta, one of the world’s leaders in the production of crop and seed protection products, and Intterra, a Russian developer of innovative agricultural solutions, have concluded an agreement for joint use and marketing of the SkyScout Advisor digital system for increasing farming efficiency and the efficiency of Syngenta’s technical support. Implementation of this system allows achieving the best results from using high quality hybrids and crop protection products.
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Take the time to consult with our experts and discover new opportunities for your farm with SkyScout.
Take the time to consult with our experts and discover new opportunities for your farm with SkyScout.