Munich Startup: Who are you and what does Agrando do? Please introduce yourselves!
Jonathan Bernwieser, Agrando: I’m Jonathan Bernwieser, 32, and I grew up on a farm south of Munich and studied business information technology at TU Munich. Our founding team has five members who bring along their expertise in farming, VC and impact.
We are making regional agricultural structures fit for the future by networking all market players in the value-added chain and strengthening their collaboration: Farms can buy operating material such as seeds and plant protection products – exactly for their location from distributors in their region. Distributors and manufacturers of operating materials can use Agrando as an additional sales channel or for getting started in online sales.
Munich Startup: What problem does your startup solve?
Jonathan Bernwieser: Pressure on smaller farms in particular is constantly increasing. They have a very limited scope for making important investments or for even trying out new technology and methods. Agrando helps them make good business decisions and make their farms fit for the future despite increasing complexity.
Munich Startup: But that’s nothing out of the box!
Jonathan Bernwieser: It is in this combination. We not only offer a trading platform, but also personal, strategic support for buying and selling. We satisfy the requirements for both the classic supply-demand process as well as convenient direct buying. There are different filters and options for every product category. Our solution is as multifaceted as farming and agricultural trade itself.
“I founded Agrando twice”
Munich Startup: What have been your three biggest challenges so far?
a. Safeguarding our values during our rapid growth in recent months.
b. Finding the right A-players at the same speed that the company is growing.
c. Reflecting the full complexity of the structures of agricultural trade: Identifying the true cause of inefficiencies and finding the right solution was one of the biggest challenges. I founded Agrando twice. The first idea for a simple contact platform where farmers could place orders for operating material proved to be unprofitable and, above all, not internationally scalable. All of the other business models that we tried out on the market didn’t work either. So we started all over again in 2017 and put all of our experience into Agrando’s current concept – and it works!
Munich Startup: How is business going?
Jonathan Bernwieser: Roughly 1,000 farmers register on the platform for the first time every month (with more than 20,000 registered farmers so far). In terms of employees, the Agrando team has tripled every year since its founding and we now have 170 employees. The expansion to Austria was implemented in 2020 and the market launch for France was in 2021.
All of agricultural trade is at the beginning of its digital transformation: 10.5 million farms in Europe supply 510 million consumers (2016, EU-28, Eurostat). Market studies expect online agricultural trade to be worth ten billion euros by 2025.
Munich Startup: What do you think about Munich as a startup location?
Jonathan Bernwieser: We see Munich as an excellent location: It’s strong in tech and is surrounded by and linked to many agricultural enterprises. The top universities in Munich and the surrounding area also attract talent.
Munich Startup: Tea or coffee?
Jonathan Bernwieser: Coffee.