Mario Bustamante, founder and CEO at Instacrops tells us about modern agricultural technology.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded Instacrops.
Mario Bustamante: This is my second startup, and I already had a failure before. In my previous project, we dedicated ourselves together with 20 other people to develop IoT devices that we were able to commercialize to important companies in the automotive and mining industries. Thanks to that first failure and an opportunity that arose to undertake and innovate in agriculture, we developed a prototype to detect late frosts in advance for cherry producers in Chile. There the Instacrops adventure begins.
How does Instacrops innovate?
Mario Bustamante: Instacrops is a full-stack platform that integrates and packages a set of technologies and services for giving real-time recommendations for farmers using ML and AI.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Mario Bustamante: The covid19 negatively impacted the first months to all industries that are not essential. Agriculture never stopped, so it was forced to speed up its digitization process. That for us represents a great opportunity to create business models that adapt to the new needs of LATAM farmers.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Mario Bustamante: Just last year, we had to tighten a lot of nuts. Our work team is the most important thing, and he felt very stressed at a time when there was a lot of uncertainty. Cash flow is important for any company, in different magnitudes, so we were strongly affected, especially in operations in Mexico. The great lesson learned is that we must adapt to the cycles and processes that are here to stay in the industry. Having eyes remotely on crops is going to be critical. Generating data to make decisions is our thing now, regardless of the type of technology we use.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Mario Bustamante: I think there are many applications that are standard for work in this and other industries.
Your final thoughts?
Mario Bustamante: We are going to create a new concept in the Latin American ag-tech industry. The challenges are on the side of financing and connectivity, the main challenges that lie ahead. We want to conquer LATAM and become the ag-tech startup with the highest value in the region