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This small agtech company thinks it has understood something that its better capitalized rivals do not have

In November, we told you about Farmers Business Network, a social network for farmers that invites them to share their data, share their know-how and negotiate more effectively to get better prices from businesses manufacturing. At the time, NBF, as we know, had just closed its new $ 110 million financing in a round of negotiations that raised about $ 200 million.

This kind of financial support could deter newcomers in the space, but AgVend, a start-up for months, has just raised $ 1.75 million in seed money, believing that FBN is not going to not good. Specifically, AgVend's point of view is that manufacturers are not so crazy about FBN between their offerings and their end users – largely because FBN is able to secure group discounts on behalf of these users.

AgVend plans to work directly with manufacturers and retailers, selling their products on their own site and helping them develop their own online stores. The idea is to "protect their pricing power," says CEO Alexander Reichert, who has already spent more than four years at Euclid Analytics, a company that helps brands monitor and understand traffic in their physical stores. . AgVend is their white knight, coming to save them from being disturbed by business. "Why exclude them from the equation?" He asks.

The question is whether farmers will go hand in hand. Those who have joined FBN can ostensibly save money on seeds, fertilizers, pesticides and more by being invited to make comparisons through FBN's own online store. This is not the easiest sale, however. FBN charges farmers $ 600 a year to access its platform, which is an obstacle for some who might otherwise try it.

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AgVend, on the other hand, adopts a good opacity in the old. Although it invites farmers to search for products on their own site according to the needs and location of the farmers, it is only after that someone bought something that the retailer who sold the items was revealed. The reason: retailers do not necessarily want to put all their prices online and be linked to these numbers, says Reichert.

Naturally, AgVend insists that it's not only better for retailers and manufacturers who stand behind them. On the one hand, says Reichert, AgVend's farm customers are sometimes offered discounts. Customers are also better informed about the products they buy because the information comes from retailers and not from a third party, he insists. "When a third party like FBN comes in and tries to bypass retailers, manufacturers can not guarantee that FBN is giving good advice on their products."

In the end, his clients will decide. But the market seems big enough to support a number of players if they understand how to play it. According to USDA data from last year, US farms spent about $ 346.9 billion in 2016 on agricultural production expenses.

It is a lot of food and fertilizer. It is no wonder that the founders, and the VCs who write them, see fertile ground. This particular agreement was led by 8VC and included the participation of Precursor Ventures, Green Bay Ventures, FJ Labs and House Fund, among others.