Meet Wikifarmer, an agriculture-focused startup based in Athens that has an interesting two-sided strategy. On the one hand, Wikifarmer is a source of knowledge with high-quality content translated into 16 languages to help farmers all around the world. On the other hand, Wikifarmer is a B2B marketplace to buy and sell agricultural products.
And this is a smart move as the content side of the business will likely drive traffic and help the company when it comes to ranking high on search engines like Google. If farmers like what they read, they will look at the other side of the business and start selling products on the marketplace.
The company recently raised a €5 million funding round ($5.4 million at today’s exchange rate) in a round led by Point Nine with several business angels also participating, such as Nikos Moraitakis, Przemyslaw Budkowski, Cihan Aksakal and Louis Pfizner. Existing investors Metavallon, Sophia Bendz and Mathias Kamprad also invested once again.
“I used to work for Google for almost 11 years. One of my best friends from primary school is an agronomist and now he’s my co-founder,” CEO and co-founder Ilias Sousis told me. Petros Sagos is the other co-founder and acts as the Chief Science Officer for the company.
“You have wiki sites for Game of Thrones, baseball players, for anything. But nothing for farming. [Petros] started by writing a lot of content. At the same time, I was getting more into agriculture. There’s no e-commerce website for agriculture either. Still, agriculture is one of the industries that hasn’t been digitized with too many intermediates,” he added.
For now, Wikifarmer only features professional content on its website. But the company eventually hopes that it can start accepting user-generated content. Of course, there are challenges with user-generated content when it comes to moderation and content quality. But it can also bring even more traffic to the site. Wikifarmer is approaching 1 million unique visitors per month.
On the marketplace side of things, the company focuses on Mediterranean countries first, starting with Greece, Italy, Spain and France. “We decided to convert our Mediterranean farmers into sellers,” Sousis said.
Farmers on Wikifarmer mostly sell fruits, vegetables and some packaged goods from the Mediterranean area like olive oil, honey and pastas. On the other end of the marketplace, there are four types of buyers — food processing companies looking for raw products to create juices or other products, wholesale importers and exporters, grocery stores, and hotels and restaurant chains.
On average, buyers order anything between €1,000 and €20,000 in farming products per order. As agriculture is one of the least digitized sectors, there’s room for a B2B trading platform without intermediaries. Wikifarmer can monitor fair market prices, unlock new international markets, facilitate payments, and help with logistics and financing. In other words, Wikifarmer has a busy roadmap ahead. And now it has some funding to start working on it.
Wikifarmer uses its agricultural knowledge base to bring people to its marketplace by Romain Dillet originally published on TechCrunch