Fintech Agrolend nabs BRL 80 million from Valor Capital to become Brazil's
Agrolend's co-founders: Carlos Fagundes; Valéria Bonadio; Andre Glezer; Alan Glezer and Leopoldo Vettor. Photo: Agrolend/Courtesy

Fintech Agrolend nabs BRL 80 million from Valor Capital to become Brazil's "agribusiness bank"

Series A round will be used to expand the credit offer for small and medium-sized rural producers in the country

Ler em português

Eyeing the growth trend in the technology and innovation market focused on agribusiness in Brazil – to get an idea, between 2020 and 2021, the number of Brazilian agtechs increased 40%, according to Radar AgTech Brasil 2020-2021 report – and with solid experience in the financial market, brothers Alan and André Glezer, in partnership with Carlos Fagundes, Valéria Bonadio and Leopoldo Vettor, founded in December 2020 Agrolend, an agfintech that provides credit to small and medium-sized rural producers from all over Brazil.

Just over a year old, Agrolend has just raised a BRL 80 million Series A round led by Valor Capital Group and followed by existing investors such as Continental Grain Company, SP Ventures, Provence Ventures, and Barn Invest.

Agrolend is a financial institution authorized by Brazil‘s Central Bank to operate as a Direct Credit Society. Fintech has built an online platform for requesting and granting rural credit without guarantee. Everything is done in-house: Agrolend has chosen not to operate as a credit intermediary; thus, the fintech originates the credit and formalizes the securities, does the risk analysis, makes the loan, and does the collection at the end.

READ ALSO: Which startup will be the first LatAm agtech unicorn?

“We never wanted to be a credit intermediary, we always wanted to be an actual credit bank. That’s the only way to really disrupt the industry. Doing everything end-to-end has allowed us to deliver a unique experience in terms of ease and speed in granting credit and to put together a competitive operation in terms of cost. And that, at the end of the day, is what credit offer is all about: convenience and competitiveness,” said CEO André, in an interview with LABS with his brother, Alan.

Agrolend’s target public is an estimated contingent of 700,000 small and medium-sized rural producers of all kinds of crops (grain, livestock, dairy) spread over all Brazilian states, with annual revenues between BRL 500,000 and BRL 5 million. According to the Glezer brothers, these are individual producers, with a slightly more robust operation, who demand capital to buy inputs, pay suppliers, access technology – the basics to make the operation run.

READ ALSO: Agribusiness is fertile ground for startups to grow

“We are taking wealth, taking credit to remote parts of the country… To Rondônia, Pará, Tocantins states… Our business model is not to lend to those who are near the big cities, but to those who are in remote regions and have less access to capital to produce, less access to technology,” said Alan, Agrolend’s CFO.

The entire credit request and approval process is online and can be done via cell phone. Agrolend’s platform performs a risk analysis based on the producer’s social security number, which generates a score to define the credit limit. According to the company, the request, the risk analysis, and the final approval of the credit are made in less than five days. The fintech grants loans of the average size of BRL 200,000 and no more than BRL 300,000.

With technology developed in-house and a lean operation, Agrolend currently has 230 active clients and manages a BRL 40 million credit portfolio. The startup does not disclose its revenues but says it has been doubling its size month by month.

READ ALSO: Brazilian agri-fintech A de Agro debuts with BRL 1.8 billion for rural credit

Agrolend plans to invest its Series A round on three fronts: improving the platform’s technology and credit offer model, growing its team from 15 people to 50 by the end of the year, and, of course, expanding the credit offer.

According to André, the demand for credit by rural producers should increase by BRL 220 billion over the next five years, and “Agrolend comes to fill this gap and focus on small and medium-sized rural producers, who struggle most to get credit”.

The fintech projects to reach a credit portfolio of BRL 1 billion in two years and reach 5,000 clients.

Agribusiness is a key driver of growth in Brazil, accounting for a third of the country’s GDP, and it needs innovative financing instruments. Until recently, agribusiness was financed in a scrapped way, through the credit lines of Plano Safra. The country needs new credit alternatives for this sector. This is our purpose, to help finance this growth engine and bring development to underserved regions.