Agriculture and innovation have not always walked hand in hand. But there’s a company aiming to change that. I chatted with Tiago Sá, Wisecrop’s CEO to find out more about them, what makes them tick, how they plan to make a difference, and their plans for the future.
In a nutshell, how did Wisecrop come about?
We were 5 young engineering students working on a project with an innovative wireless communication technology. The goal was to create a functional system for domotics, to monitor and control the inside of a house. As the project was successfully concluded, we figured out that the technology we worked with had a high potential on the market, so we started looking at possible applications. Agriculture came up right away! Since then, our focus is to build the most powerful solution to support Farmers in their daily tasks, so they can improve productivity and profitability.
You brand yourselves as “Agriculture’s operating system”. Can you explain?
Think of Wisecrop as the Windows for agriculture. When you use your computer, you login and you have access to many different applications: if you want to draw something you use photoshop or coreldraw. If you want to write a letter you use Word. If you want to have fun you play a game. Each Application is designed to a specific purpose, but all together make the usage of Windows much more powerful right? It’s the same on Wisecrop: each Applications is designed to support the Farmer in a specific task, but using all of them will boost the results. Moreover, on a computer you can plug in a keyboard or a mouse or a printer. On Wisecrop you can connect Devices, such as sensors or irrigation controllers. And finally, some applications have premium versions or payable options. Likewise, on Wisecrop you can request for specific Services, provided by other companies in this sector.
What are the main advantages of your product for producers?
There are a lot of advantages on Wisecrop, not only for Farmers but also for Associations, Experts and other Services Providers. In a short answer, they all can find on Wisecrop a way to save time and money, while increasing productivity and quality of the products, as well as being more sustainable and environmentally friendly.
How can farmers from the “old guard” be convinced of the merits of your solution?
They begin to be. They are noticing that the “young boys” are getting even better results than themselves, so they’re realizing something is changing. And that change is Technology! Technology is helping even the less experienced Farmers to learn fast and have good results. Wisecrop integrates different technologies to support Farmers even better, both inexperienced farmers and very experienced farm managers.
What are your growth plans for the next 12 months?
We intend to expand our customers data base to the international market, beginning with Spain. We’re also raising a second round of investment, which is planned to be closed in the middle of this year, which will help us grow faster.
What’s the single mistake you learned the most from?
Listening to every single feedback from the potential customers. At the beginning, we integrated every single suggestion that we received from the our potential customers. That lead us to this amazing and very powerful solution that Wisecrop is today. However, because of that, we only considered the final version of the product as ‘closed’ very recently, so that specific requests can be evaluated case-by-case. Don’t get me wrong: customer feedback is the most important thing in a startup success! But it must exist a balance between the customer needs and the response time from the company.
Where do you see the Portuguese startup scene in five years?
I believe that the Portuguese startup scene has a huge potential! There are many startups being created every day, not every one of those is going to survive, but there are many who will make a difference. Several different areas are being tackled and specifically on AgTech we’re experiencing a ‘boom’ of solutions. This validates the market potential and creates several opportunities to create partnerships and take Portugal name worldwide!