Those who followed the recent IPOs of agribusiness companies, such as Boa Safra Sementes and, more recently, Raízen, noticed that the participation of retail investors was very representative. There is a genuine interest on the part of the capital market in agro, which is experiencing a boom. And startups in the sector have also noticed this interest and have been exploring a funding model that has become popular: equity crowdfunding.
As the name already indicates, it is a version of crowdfunding adopted by platforms such as the Brazilian Catarse and the American Kickstarter. On these sites it is common to find projects such as movies, books, music records and comic books, as well as electronic gadgets and various inventions. In the case of equity crowdfunding, retail investors band together to buy shares in the company in exchange for future shares.
The most recent case is that of LeveAgro, an agtech that operates in the purchase and sale of fertilizers. With just over a year of existence, the company wants to raise R$ 10 million. Of this total, R$ 2.5 million were offered to retail investors via crowdfunding – and the campaign is still open. Another R$7.5 million will be offered to institutional investors. With the resources, the startup wants to accelerate its growth and plans to earn R$ 200 million in the next 12 months.
But LeveAgro is not the only one. In June it was Flowins’ turn, a platform focused on coffee growing that includes solutions such as farm management, grain quality analysis and traceability, among others. The startup projected to raise R$ 500 thousand in 30 days at SMU Investimentos, but managed to reach the goal in just four.
Earlier, in March, Pink Farms, which developed the largest urban vertical farm in Latin America, also used the same equity crowdfunding platform. And it managed to raise R$4.8 million, 20% above the original target. With the resources, agtech will increase its production capacity, expand the team and invest in other crops, such as mushrooms and strawberries.
More than investments made on the stock exchange, equity crowdfunding offers a different, closer relationship with the company. In addition to democratizing investments, it allows for greater engagement with the value proposition offered by the startup. In agro, where sometimes clients and investors mix, the tool found a fertile field.
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