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AgriTech Member:
Climate Edge

 

Climate Edge co-founders Paul Baranowski (CEO) and James Akden (CCO) talk to us about their company.

Tell us about Climate Edge

Climate Edge has developed a simple and customisable SMS chat-bot interface which allows agricultural service providers to easily connect with smallholder farmers in emerging economies digitally. Our platform is built to handle complexity. We support organisations to build SMS driven services which are tailored to each individual user by integrating and utilising real-time data such as satellite based weather or market prices and existing farmer data. Our platform takes all of the work out of creating useful and scalable services at competitive prices.
 

When did you start your business?

November 2015.
 

What's been your biggest highlight?

We have been involved in a number of ground-breaking projects, such supporting Unilever Tea Kenya provide dynamic real-time agronomy support to their outgrower network of smallholders. Helping to make their supply chain more reliable and sustainable. We have also developed a number of highly valuable services alongside strong knowledge centres, for example a downscaled irrigation system for Colombian smallholder banana producers with Cranfield University, and a diversification support system for Kenyan smallholders with Producer Direct.
 

What's been your biggest challenge?

The smallholder sector in emerging markets is generally an extremely challenging market to work in. We have to deal with common development issues such poor rural infrastructure, low literacy rates, and low technology adoption, which building a financially sustainable and successful business. This is very difficult and present a wide range of challenges, but on the flip side, this makes it a difficult market to break into, so as we overcome these challenges we are in an extremely strong position.
 

Advice for entrepreneurs starting out

Make sure your company vision is strong, defensible and something you really believe in. As a founder you need to be resilient, persistent and patient. Things will be extremely tough along the way, and if your vision isn't something clear that you and your team can rally around, it will be tempting to give up prematurely. At Climate Edge we have always known that our vision is to create a world where smallholder farmers have the same access to value-adding services as any other farmer in a more developed country. This clear vision lead us through difficult pivots, financial struggles, and dealing with the enormous workload of building a company from the ground up. If you have a vision as strong as this, you will stop at nothing to make it a reality.

 

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