The harvesting season is on – and you know the punchline “there is an app for that”.
VitalFields, based in Estonia and founded by Martin Rand (former product manager for Skype), helps the everyday life of farmers by providing very precise weather and crop diseases forecast. Awarded with “Best Innovator” prize at Garage48 Tartu hackathon in August 2011, the company is a proud alumni of tech accelerator Startup Wise Guys, they raised €100 000 from TMT investments which we covered in 2013.
But instead of discussing about their current investments, on this time of harvesting season we really want to get inside idea of VitalFields concept.
The agritech market, unknown from the majority, is facing the problem of the need for food being multiplied by two in the 5 coming years with the estimated growth of population to 10 billion of people. As an example of that, producing a ton of meat requires 7 tons of cereals.
To sustain the growth, the farmers have three ways to cope: finding new varieties of cereals or using new chemicals – but both of these solutions have their inner problems, which are time of development and future effects. The only part left is to take input at the right time by using the right technologies.
And here is where VitalFields enters. From a weather forecast solution, their product is now more focused on a farm management tool. The production grows by taking the right decision.
“Vital fields is an IRP for farms” says Rand, the CEO of the company. Their solution works as a planning and report tool, task-planner for the workers which are able to know which field to water, harvest or treat at the right time.
By collecting datas, infos, planning from the farmers using VitalFields, the company will be able to propose in the future an automatized and human-assisting consulting solution.
The outsiders of the startup scene?
The agritech ecosystem is having a particular place in the usual startup world by the fact that the customers, the investors and the companies, address to a certain scene, which is pretty unknown from the outsiders.
Still VitalFields has competitors in every country. What makes the strength of this company is their global strategy, says Rand. Where competitors focus only on their national market, VitalFields, coming from Estonia where the national market is small, had to adapt since the beginning and think globally to grow.
With the complexity of managing a farm, when one needs to adapt the production to the demand – tools which assists farmers will be a necessity.
VitalFields opened the way, and maybe I, as a city boy, should start using it to manage my Farmville.
— ArcticStartup (@arcticstartup) August 6, 2015