Watch Venture-Out Events featuring Kuza One and Piatrika Biosystems: two digital agriculture startups take the stage to share their technologies, and discuss with A4IP and Ram Dhulipala (ILRI) how scientists and entrepreneurs can work together to overcome barriers to scale.
Kuza One and Piatrika Biosystems are two digital agriculture startups bridging the worlds of science and entrepreneurship. On July 13, CGIAR’s Accelerate for Impact Platform invited these innovations and Ram Dhulipala, Senior Scientist for Digitial Agriculture and Innovation at ILRI, to showcase their technologies and dive into a discussion about the opportunities for scientists to partner with startups and conquer scaling challenges.
Kuza One is an organization focused on empowering smallholder farmers and promoting entrepreneurship. They address the challenges faced by farmers by empowering rural youth as ‘agripreneurs,’ providing bundled services like crop advice, access to inputs, credit, and market connections. Kuza One uses digital technologies to scale their impact, offering a library of 10,000+ videos in multiple languages.
Piatrika Biosystems offers technology solutions to seed breeders and partners, facilitating more efficient and cost-effective breeding processes. Specializing in the discovery and development of new crop varieties, their platform leverages genomics and data science to provide intelligence and decision support for variety discovery and release.
Kuza One Founder and Chief Mentor Sriram Bharatam and Piatrika Biosystems Co-Founder and CEO Vasudev Kumanduri each presented to the audience of innovators their technology and journey to scale. Then, CGIAR/ILRI’s Ram Dhulipala joined the panel for a discussion on the technologies, and how collaboration and science will accelerate their impact.
Key Insights and Soundbites from the Event:
1. Mutually Beneficial Validation
Collaborations between organizations like CGIAR and agri-tech ventures can be a crucial site for validating an innovation. While working with CGIAR scientists lends visibility and testimony to the startup, it is also beneficial for the scientists as a source for entrepreneurial thinking and data generation.
“Now to give any sense to data-oriented company, one thing very fundamentally that is becoming important is validation,” said Vasudev Kumanduri, Co-Founder and CEO of Piatrika Biosystems. “It's about the available data, the legacy of available data, and it's about the opportunity to collect. Both of these opportunities are available with organizations like CGIAR, which will eventually help us to strengthen that.”
2. Convening across the Value Stream
Collaboration across both upstream and downstream actors is imperative for cohesive scaling and understanding how innovations at different ends can best fit together to multiply impact. Given CGIAR’s convening power, it is important for the organization to engage with startups like these.
“My definition of 1 + 1 is not two – it has to be 11. And I think that is only possible today with all of these digital technologies that are giving us these capabilities,” said Sriram Bharatam, Founder and Chief Mentor at Kuza One. “And like Vasudev has said, It's extremely important for us to have an upstream and a downstream collaboration. ... Now that's where the CG strength comes in: the ability to convene, catalyze, and co-create.”
3. Digitalization toward Democratization of Access
Digital transformation and platforms which facilitate access to data, services and knowledge such as the featured startups can help toward democratizing access to resources and collaboration for growers and innovators.
“We really need to reduce the transaction cost for entrepreneurs to find the data that we are creating, all the services we are creating,” said Ram Dhulipala, Senior Scientist for Digital Agriculture and Innovation at ILRI. “There is, I think, a lot of work to be done, a lot of strategy that needs to be formulated to really democratize access to collaboration.”
Watch the event and build on these ideas by sharing with a fellow innovator. Stay tuned for the next Venture-Out Event, where guests from the innovation ecosystem including leading startups, ventures, and tech transfer experts showcase their success stories of bridging research ideas from lab to market. Do you have an idea for collaborating with these and/or other startups?
Meet the Team
The Accelerate for Impact Platform (A4IP) is the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT / CGIAR’s venture-space to co-design, accelerate and fund market-driven and multidisciplinary innovation at the nexus of agriculture, environment, and health: