Meet Wiki farmer, an agriculture-focused startup based in Athens with an interesting two-sided strategy. On the one hand, Wikifarmer is a source of knowledge with quality content translated into 16 languages to help farmers around the world. On the other hand, Wikifarmer is a B2B marketplace for buying and selling agricultural products.
And this is a smart move as the content side of the business is likely to drive traffic and help the business when it comes to ranking high on search engines like Google. If farmers like what they read, they look to the other side of the business and start selling products in the market.
The company recently raised a €5 million ($5.4 million at the current exchange rate) funding round in a round led by Point nine in which several business angels also participate, such as Nikos Moraitakis, Przemyslaw Budkowski, Cihan Aksakal and Louis Pfizner. Existing investors Metavallon, Sophia Bendz and Mathias Kamprad also reinvested.
“I worked for Google for almost 11 years. One of my best friends from primary school is an agronomist and now he is my co-founder,” CEO and co-founder Ilias Sousis told me. Petros Sagos is the other co-founder and serves as chief science officer for the company.
“You have wiki sites for Game of Thrones, baseball players, for everything. But nothing for agriculture. [Petros] started writing a lot of content. At the same time, I ended up more in agriculture. There is also no e-commerce website for agriculture. Yet agriculture is one of the sectors that has not been digitized with too many intermediates,” he added.
For now, Wikifarmer only offers professional content on its website. But the company eventually hopes 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 provide even more traffic to the site. Wikifarmer is approaching 1 million unique visitors per month.
In terms of the market, the company is focusing first on the Mediterranean countries, starting with Greece, Italy, Spain and France. “We have decided to turn our Mediterranean farmers into sellers,” Sousis said.
Farmers on Wikifarmer mainly sell fruits, vegetables and some packaged goods from the Mediterranean region, such as olive oil, honey and pasta. On the other side of the market, there are four types of buyers: food processors looking for raw products to make juices or other products, wholesale importers and exporters, supermarkets, and hotel and restaurant chains.
On average, buyers order between €1,000 and €20,000 worth of agricultural products per order. Since agriculture is one of the least digitized sectors, there is room for a B2B trading platform without intermediaries. Wikifarmer can monitor fair market prices, open up new international markets, facilitate payments and help with logistics and financing. In other words, Wikifarmer has a busy roadmap ahead of it. And now it has some money to start working on it.