| Danial Norjidi |
BRUNEI-based agritech startup Agrome IQ announced yesterday that it has raised a six-figure Pre-Series A funding led by Singaporean VC firm Cerana Capital.
The announcement was made during the ‘Agrome IQ: Advancing Towards Agriculture 4.0’ event held at the Design & Technology Building in Anggerek Desa Technology Park.
Attending the event as the guests of honour were Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Ali bin Haji Apong, and Minister of Energy, Manpower and Industry Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mat Suny bin Haji Mohd Hussein.
Agrome IQ Founder and CEO Dr Vanessa Teo said, “Agrome IQ is an agritech platform that started out with a simple vision of helping farmers make better decisions.
“We cannot avoid the challenges our farmers are facing today. It is getting more and more difficult for them to grow, and our growing global population reaching nine billion by 2050 will be a challenge that all of us face as a human race.”
She highlighted that the vision is to provide smart farming accessible to all, and said they have carried out this vision for the past two and a half years as a startup in Brunei.
“In the past year we have had the privilege of working closely with the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism through the Agriculture and Agrifood Department, working with farmers to understand what their key challenges are and how we as a digital platform can be the problem solvers for these farmers.
“We’ve been fund-raising for the past year and a half, trying to prove that what we have can stand in the global market, and we’re so happy today to announce the milestone whereby we have closed our Pre-Series A investment supported by Singaporean VC firm Cerana Capital.
“Due to this investment, we are able to expand our operational team here in Brunei and help more farmers,” she shared.
“There are a total of 4,723 smallholder farmers that we believe need the solutions that we are going to build. We’ve been a startup here at DARe (Darussalam Enterprise) since day one, and we are so happy to be part of an ecosystem that allows entrepreneurs to test ideas, drive their passions and in a way come back when things don’t work out,” she said.
The Agrome IQ founder and CEO went on to add, “We are excited to work with partners that want to support in feeding nine billion people by 2050 and we will now begin to increase our operations and product ranges while expanding our footprint in Brunei and Singapore before extending it to other Southeast Asian countries later this year.”
Managing Partner at Cerana Capital Kian Chun Lim also gave a speech at the event, saying, “Vanessa is a truly exceptional founder who is passionate about making a positive difference to the lives of smallholder farmers, and that is exactly why I think she has such a good chance at success.”
“She and her excellent team are fully dedicated to their vision of making smart farming accessible to all, and empowering stakeholders to make data-driven decisions,” he added.
Yesterday’s event also saw Agrome IQ announce their newly appointed Chief Technology Officer Michael Knott, who has over 20 years’ experience in Fintech, AI and Edutech.
Founded in 2017, the Agrome IQ platform supports digitisation of farm management processes to increase farm quality and productivity to enable farmers to access new markets.
Its mobile application allows users to keep a record of their farm processes which will allow them to achieve certifications and real-time support services. It also enables community-driven decision making for farmers within the similar geographic regions to source for farm inputs more efficiently. The app is currently available in both English and Malay language.
Additionally, Agrome IQ also provides training and support programmes for farmers. The startup plans to use the funds for regional expansion and team additions as well as to strengthen product development.