The Silicon Review
Agriculture is slowly making a shift to the digital, just like every other industry. This is crucial to remain competitive in the complex agricultural economy over the long term. Headquartered in Munich, Germany, Agrando is working to bring all the players in the agricultural sector together to simplify traditional trading processes and more.
Founded in 2017, Agrando is the leading cloud-based platform for all inputs-related workflows. The platform brings together all the players involved and offers unique market analyses that help businesses of all sizes to remain competitive in the complex agricultural economy in the long term. To be able to do that, Agrando built its own software and data warehouse to be able to support agricultural companies truly.
Agrando owns the necessary infrastructure to offer fact-based support for farmers to make profitable decisions and save money and resources in the long run. With that, the company is able to connect retail partners who otherwise would not have met. Agrando offers trade-specific advice and solutions to every stakeholder.
"We know that the majority of family-run farms across Europe are not online yet. The reasons are often simple: there is a lack of infrastructure, purchasing supplies online is too time-consuming, and the young generation of farmers does not find the service that they are used to in other areas: e.g., fast response times, expert advice, price transparency," explained Jonathan Bernwieser, CEO and Co-founder of Agrando. The Agrando Pro service is changing this by digitizing exactly these farms as well as their systems and work processes.
We interviewed Mr. Jonathan Bernwieser to know more about the Agrando brand and what it brings to the table. Read on for the excerpts from the interview.
Q. What was the motivation behind starting Agrando? How has the journey been for you as the CEO of the company?
I grew up on a farm run by my father, studied business informatics and I thought that I lived in a completely different world than my father did. But one day, when I saw him sitting in our kitchen over a pile of invoices I realized that he was controlling his agricultural business right now: just like other businesses in other industries.
The kitchen was his office, and he was handling several tens of thousands of Euros here. His decisions, however, were based on experience and gut feeling. He did not rely on any analysis software, controlling programs, or an enterprise resource planning system. But agriculture has been and is changing rapidly: Legal requirements are becoming more complicated, the purchase prices for inputs are rising, while the revenues for agricultural products are falling – it is not an easy task for any farmer to hand over their farm to their children one day in an economically sound condition. That’s how I came to think: couldn’t my father work much more economically and sustainably if he had more digital support? This idea stuck with me, and after testing a few business approaches, I founded Agrando in 2017 according to today’s principle.
Q. What does innovation mean to Agrando?
There is no progress without innovation. It doesn't matter whether you are an established company or a young start-up. You regularly need new ideas and a fresh point of view in order to grow and develop. We are a young company and we hired a lot of people in the last twelve months: These new ideas come with new team members. They are also the result of constantly evaluating our work, success and plan.
Q. How is Agrando unique? What differentiates you from others in the space?
While other platforms offer an online shop for agricultural supplies, no other company in Germany supports farmers the way we do. We are not simply a marketplace for agricultural inputs. Agrando is the business partner and assistant who helps farmers run their family businesses more sustainable, profitable, and efficiently.
We help farmers to reduce their office hours, for example by simplifying complex structures. In doing so, Agrando does not operate on a digital basis only. Depending on our client’s needs we support them on a personal level via phone or, for example, via the Agrando Pro app.
Q. Could you tell us about the work culture at Agrando?
At Agrando, feedback and open communication are very important on every level: Team members are not left alone with their questions or feedback. We keep up exchange routines on a daily basis throughout the entire company and we make sure that team events can still take place, virtually or face to face.
Q. How was your experience working through the pandemic? Could you tell us about it?
During 2020 and so far during 2021, we did not stop hiring people. Instead, we were able to turn the pandemic into an advantage: For example, with people working mainly from home, we could look for new talents outside the geographical radius of our office buildings. The biggest challenge is the one our clients are facing: COVID-19 hit the agriculture sector especially hard and these businesses were and are facing completely new obstacles. To reach them and offer our support despite that has been the true challenge.
Q. What does the road ahead look like for Agrando?
As a startup in agriculture, we are adjusting our work constantly according to what we learn about and with our clientele. Together we are developing our vision of how to help agricultural businesses to strive, be more profitable and sustainable.How are we doing that? One important step is our impact-goal for 2035: Agrando enables farmers to get the greatest possible benefit from funding programs, always being one step ahead to track the latest political decisions in the field of sustainability.
By 2022, we want to offer a filterable overview of regional political and private funding programs for environmental and climate protection measures according to the individual environmental conditions of the farms.
We are also planning to expand the knowledge hub that is Agrando; meaning here the fact-based and individual support in making the right purchasing decisions at the right time.
Jonathan Bernwieser, CEO and Co-founder
Jonathan grew up on a family run farm in southern Germany. Since his brother took over the business he himself can focus his energy on Agrando. His background in Business Informatics and agriculture enables him to combine the two in his vision and plans within Agrando’s work.
Knowing how family run farms work and which conditions they are facing every day, Jonathan is especially interested in supporting these farms – in Germany and Europe. Working with entrepreneurs who themselves have as their purpose not money, but the handover of their farm, is an inspiration that arises from the roots of the founder.