Growing Success in agtech

Image: CC BY 2.0

For many entrepreneurs, the path to success in agtech runs through AgriThority, a global consultancy that helps startups and multinationals alike achieve success with their food, feed, fiber, and fuel products.

Recently, three of the company’s executives dropped by Purdue Foundry’s Foundry Ground program to talk about how to get ag innovations to market. Here are a few secrets they shared (none of which are exclusive to agribusiness, by the way).

Representing AgriThority on the Foundry Grounds program were Founder and President Jerry Duff, Directors of Global Business Fred Tennant, and Gloverson Moro, Ph.D.

What’s the importance of product positioning?

Tennant: We try to identify where this technology fits in the scheme of things, and then we work with [clients] very early on to develop that strategy. Perhaps the best way to do it is to develop independent distribution for that product or service. Or maybe it’s better to find a partner, somebody who’s already maybe in that market and is looking for a deeper pipeline for that material.

Do entrepreneurs try to get to market too soon?

Moro: it’s very common that we have people with great ideas that want to jump straight in…. It’s a privilege to be able to take a great idea and turn it into a great product. And that requires a lot of thinking, a lot of planning, a lot of science and a lot of work. And finally a lot of knowledge of the market.

Should entrepreneurs fall in love with their products?

Tennant: Inventors often are very much in love with their invention. And they should be; they’ve spent their life developing it, and it’s just a normal thing. We try to help them be in love with the application. And what the product does is not necessarily what the product is. They should be excited about it, but sometimes there’s a gap between the value perception of the marketplace and what the inventor might feel is the value of the product or service from their own heart.

How should entrepreneurs view the regulatory burden?

Gloverson: A more challenging regulatory path allows you to have better claims, much stronger claims to your product. And that means that you’ll probably be able to make more revenue from that product. If you take an easier route, your claims are more limited, and that means less revenue.

Where’s the balancing point in R&D?

Duff: With small startups, they all have a giant R in their R&D, but most of them have a very, very tiny D. And what we do is we bring the development. So we’re challenging them continually. We’re leading; we’re helping them pioneer those new frontiers.