xFarm is a start-up that aims to digitalise the agricultural industry, providing innovative tools that can support farmers and food supply chain’s stakeholders in the management of their companies.
Matteo Vanotti, co-founder of the company, tells us more about xFarm and his personal experience.
Q: You were working in a FinTech company, and then in 2019 you decided to move to xFarm. How did the idea of xFarm come about?
Matteo: With more than 15 years of experience in my family farm in the north of Italy, I have been experiencing how farming is getting more and more difficult, due to the increase of bureaucracy, the climate change, and the decrease of farming profitability.
I have also noticed that there is an increasing development of new agricultural technologies that aims to increase farms efficiency.
Therefore, merging these needs of modern farming with my educational background in electrical engineering, I have founded xFarm, an AgTech start-up, which develops software and hardware solutions for agriculture.
Q: So xFarm develops solutions for the 4.0 agri-food industry. What distinctive features do you provide to farmers?
Matteo: xFarm is a start-up created by farmers and tailored to the agricultural sector. Its main focus is on ease of use, intuitiveness and complete adaptability to agricultural realities.
xFarm is a SaaS platform that aims to facilitate the digitalisation of farms, simplifying data collection and analysis, reducing bureaucracy, improving the efficiency and sustainability of agricultural productions and allowing the traceability of agricultural products.
Our main goal is to create a complete digital ecosystem that allows farmers and stakeholders to access the power of digital in a simple and intuitive way, giving immediate benefits and simplifying business management.
With our amazing team of 10 people (which will increase to 25 in the next year), we develop IoT and software technologies, which are already used by more than four thousand farmers in the world and dozens of agri-food industries.
The platform is based on a freemium business model: the digital ecosystem includes a free agricultural application, available on both mobile and desktop devices and integrated with advanced premium modules, a dashboard analytics dedicated to professionals and a line of IoT sensors, selected, optimised and connected by xFarm.
Q: You just raised €3 million in a round led by the Italian United Ventures, with the Swiss fund TiVenture also taking part in the funding round. How was the fundraising process? And what are the plans of xFarm in the future?
Matteo: Raising funds is something very challenging, but at the same time very constructive. The due diligence process required us to perform various detailed analyses, which normally you don’t perform in such depth, especially during the earlier phases of a company. In these activities, United Ventures and TiVenture have demonstrated to be constructive and very professional, supporting us in reaching our goals.
With the raised funds, xFarm aims to consolidate its presence on the Italian market and expand into international markets, with particular attention to Europe, South America and Africa.
The investment will also allow to strengthen the technology platform (especially in the area of artificial intelligence applied to data and forecasting models, also using blockchain technology), and release new modules to customers that can simplify and enhance the management of agricultural fields.
Q: What do you think of the Italian start-ups and what difficulties did you have – if any – when you started your business?
Matteo: Starting a business is generally very complex, as it requires to possess different skills and, more important, to engage the right people. xFarm was founded by me and other two co-founders, who have different skills. This was a key factor for getting heterogeneous points of view, and therefore solving problems.
Moreover, the ability to identify the market needs is very important. In fact, missing the right market needs is sometime one of the major reasons for failure. For sure, being myself a farmer has helped, and it still helps, as I am also part of the customer base of xFarm.
I believe that it is crucial to develop a solution starting always from the needs and requirements. The better you know your business, the more you have a chance to create a useful and disruptive product.
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For more info on xFarm visit: https://xfarm.ag/