The Brazilian Conglomerado Alfa, which brings together companies operating in different financial and insurance segments, has just announced its first investment agreement in a startup. Through its innovation hub, Alfa Collab, the group plans to invest up to BRL 600 million over three years in the startup E-ctare, which develops credit solutions focused on agribusiness. With the injection of resources, Alfa Collab will operate the structuring of E-ctare’s digital wallet.
“The investment is aimed at improving the platform, enhancing technology, and bolstering the operation. Alfa becomes the funding provider to expand E-ctare’s credit offer. There are ‘two monies’. One for the startup’s operation and another to expand the business’ credit offer,” explained Francisco Perez, New Business director, responsible for the Alfa Collab Innovation Hub and for Alfa’s ESG Area.
E-ctare is the first company participating in the Alfa Collab program to receive an investment from the innovation hub, which already has 16 companies. The program was launched less than a year ago, last November, with the objective of doing business with startups from various segments, aligned to the markets in which Conglomerado Alfa operates. In addition to E-ctare, the following companies are also participating in the program: 88i Seguradora Digital, Bot Nicks, CashU, Fiduc, Finpec, Go Bots, InstaCasa, LooqBox, Marvin, Prestho, Predify, Size, SMU, Vuxx, and Zink.
Founded in 2017, E-ctare developed a platform of credit solutions for rural producers. The agfintech’s flagship is a digital wallet called E-ctare Pay, which can be accessed via an app and offers services such as anticipation of receivables, transfers, or payment via QR Code. Still, in 2021, the startup should include the PIX (the Brazilian instant payment system) and, in the next, launch a credit card for producers.
With E-ctare Pay, the producer also can anticipate the value of the crop before it is sold. Through a network of warehouses associated with E-ctare, the producer can choose to take the harvest to one of the warehouses and anticipate up to 70% of the total value of his crop. With this anticipation, explains the startup, he can continue with his operations, such as buying inputs, paying suppliers, among others.
According to Marcell Salgado, CEO and founder of E-ctare, since the beginning of its operations, the startup has already traded about BRL 200 million, considering loans and other services. With the capital injected by Alfa Collab, the expectation is to exceed BRL 5 billion traded in the next three years.
The agfintech currently focuses its operations on coffee and milk crops, for which it also offers production, inventory, and product sales management services. The startup allows the producer to send the crop to one of the partner warehouses and sell it through the platform, with the option to sell in the future or immediately. Through the platform, the producer can also offer his production or receive offers from buyers.
“Our culture brings information and intelligent solutions to benefit the rural producer, especially in the coffee and dairy sectors. Our goal is to encourage the growth of this chain with more possibilities and technological service offerings that facilitate the daily chores of our customers,” said Salgado.
The startup‘s expansion strategy also foresees entering other segments, such as the grain sector.