Deep expertise of the emerging market and education of potential investors
The second episode of “Fund Your Way” follows the experience of Robin (co-founder and CEO of eAgronom) during the raise of $7.4m USD as a Series A round. eAgronom develops farm management software, AI, and remote sensing technologies with an addition of blockchain-enabled carbon market.
Robin is a second-time founder, born in Estonia, ex-professional football player ⚽️, a fan of tv shows related to nature projects, who spent as a child much time with his dad — farmer and investor.
Robin wishes he could always know what to do and do what he wants, “to be present and aware, to separate between automatic actions&habits and actual wishes and be able to actually perform them.”
He founded his first project in high school — Three Little Pigs, which is still operating and performing science shows for school children.
Robin realized that “if there is a problem in life — the best thing is to build a business around it.”
This realization played a crucial part in eAgronom foundation story as well. When Robin’s father was unsuccessfully looking for a tool for his farm back in 2016, Robin with his Computer Science education ended up building the software, which became the first small prototype of what eAgronom offers today.
Many product versions and updates later, in the middle of 2021, the team at eAgronom initiated raising Series A round. As this was not the first round for the company, Robin started with approaching existing investors, who in turn made some introductions to their network. Moreover, due to the fact that the company showed growth results and great potential, eAgronom was also approached proactively by investors willing to participate in the round. As the company operates at the intersection of different industries, such as sustainability, fintech, blockchain, Robin was looking for investors in those areas.
“The largest value of our product is in the fintech and blockchain parts of it, that is why our two lead investors are coming from those industries”.
However, the sustainability part of the solution, i.e. carbon credits and farmer markets are still the ground of the company. The main challenge of raising capital was in the lack of knowledge and understanding of the industry from investors coming from fintech and blockchain backgrounds. The education is the binding thread of the whole Robin’s journey, as he was educating the farmers in the beginning when nobody realized that they needed such a product, how to use it and what value they could get out of it.
The second challenge that can be transformed to be a piece of advice was the absence of an experienced CFO during the fundraising.
“Now we have the CFO, who is in charge of this, who will be responsible for the next rounds. So I can focus more on the main things — growing core business and revenue,” says Robin.
Speaking of advice, Robin believes that having an in-house lawyer early on in the company is the right strategic decision for the CEO,
“She was our number 7 employee, which is very rare for startups.”
He felt this actually in a reverse context when the lawyer decided to found her own startup and could not invest as much time as she used to, which led to Robin having to invest more time into the legal part of the deal.
The future plans of eAgronom team and Robin are massive, which is fully supported by the progress and results the company delivers, including the issue and sale of tokens for more than $2.5m USD. Robin has a clear path towards the company’s success, where
“fundraising is the important part, but not the main one”.
🗣 I wish Robin and the whole team at eAgronom the best of luck in their product development and company growth. I fully support the notion raised by Robin that fundraising is just a small part of the overall business development. Unfortunately, this small part might take a large portion of the founder’s time and energy. It is a learning process for all of us and I hope some of the insights, shared by Robin might be useful and save such much-needed and cherished time of other founders.