Biome Makers Announced Agripreneur of the Year 2019 | Future Agro Challenge

Biome Makers Announced Agripreneur of the Year 2019

There is a wave of new biological products landing in agriculture. While at the same time, more restrictions are being placed on the use of agrochemicals, actively questioning their efficiency. Increasingly, farmers worldwide are testing new biological solutions for their soils under the promise that the products are more respectful to their soil life and will improve fertilization. The reality is that while these products seem to be more suitable, we do not accurately know the real impact in the soil’s biodiversity, which is why it is crucial to provide data-driven insights on how agriculture impacts the soil bioactivity.

Biome Makers have built the first digital platform providing a functional analysis of arable soil using the microbiome as a biomarker.  Their technology digitizes the microbial biology of the soil offering independent and user friendly data-driven insights on soil bioactivity.  Their unique datasets compile of samples worldwide from different crops and have set many alliances and partnerships in different areas. This gives them the opportunity to become the global leader in functional soil analysis.  So far more than 300 clients have benefitted from their platform and they have processed over 8,000 samples from 24 countries.

“We are facing a unique time in human history when it is being very difficult to maintain soil productivity, specially in agriculture. It is taking much resources to activate soils and compromising other vital bioactivities as carbon sequestration. We need to start understanding the soil biodynamics and our technology provides the first functional analysis of soil bioactivity by using soil microorganisms as biomarkers. We provide data driven insights on how to keep the soil active and make it productive” states Adrian Ferrero, CEO and Co-Founder of Biome Makers.

Successfully on their second startup, Adrian Ferrero and Alberto Acedo, have previously founded AC-Gen Reading Life in 2012, a profitable disruptive genetic diagnostics center that was helping doctors to better prescribe treatments for hereditary cancer using DNA Sequencing, receiving the reward “Best Spanish Entrepreneurs 2014”.  Alberto Acedo has also been recognized in the MIT Tech Review as on of the “Most Talented Innovators under 35”.

“Now we have decided to help agronomists and farmers to choose the right farming practices for their fields to secure yields, food provision, and activate our valuable soils. Soil is the most valuable asset to support life in earth. We could not be doing anything different until we help to solve this problem,” the founders mention.  “We are entrepreneurs by nature. We love taking challenges and risks. Biome Makes has been one of the main incentives to wake up to everything full of energy as it was needed to overcome all the difficulties that we found in the way.”

However, success hasn’t been so easy, talent acquisition has been one of their main challenges in growing their company.  Building an international company requires a specific way of understanding the world. They are proud that they have now achieved a rock-star team fully committed to Biome Makers.

Another relevant challenge has been to understand their customers, the farmers.  While their solution seems vital to researchers and data savvy individuals, the team had to understand the most meaningful way their customers  could use these datasets to undertake immediate action.  After interviewing more than 500 farmers, Biome Makers have found the best solution is to make suggestions to farmers of the immediate actions they could take within the report they provide.  We are working to deliver value to farmers worldwide, restore soil bioactivity, teach how to care for the microbes and ensure that we have more rewarding life, because better soil, better food, better life.

Dealing with obstacles hasn’t been a lonely journey.  Adrian and Alberto, have encountered great mentors along the way, in which they refer to as they continue to build their successful company.  In addition, their families have been great role models on maintaining the focus and perseverance.

Biome Makers joined the Future Agro Challenge Global Competition to verify that their solution would be well received in other areas, specifically about the potential added value in Africa. It has been refreshing to know their assumption holds valid. “Now we are more stimulated than ever to start developing pilots and actions in Africa.  Being part of the FAC Global Network has given us worldwide recognition and very good friends. The high level and performance of the rest of the finalists is a great incentive to keep moving fast. We are impressed with the wide recognition of this award having competed against great agritech startups” states Adrian Ferrero.

While asked what he would advise someone who wishes to pursue a startup in the agrifood sphere, Ferrero, continued to say “it is the best moment to be in agriculture. We see new technologies arriving into the market regularly and investors are very interested in this area. Make a good assessment of your idea and if you see it clear, do not be afraid to jump in.  Never stop dreaming, but turn some dreams into action. If you make a dream real, the world can change for good.”