Russia to launch Alibaba for farmers

Some of the projects submitted for the Digital Breakthrough contest are ready for implementation. Invest Foresight explored them during the pre-acceleration program at the Senezh Workshop, the educational center of the Russia – Land of Opportunity autonomous non-profit organization.

As many as 60 teams, finalists of the Digital Breakthrough competition, defended their projects in three categories: public, corporate and StartupTreck. In addition, Senezh offered an opportunity of training under a number of its other programs. As for projects that have already become a reality, one of them is Cloud Farmer from the Lipetsk Region, described by its founders as “an Alibaba for farmers.”

“We promote farmers and their products and optimize their logistics. All farmers need to do is to make a quality product. Today we are working with five farmers. We have made 11 transactions in six weeks, but right now we are promoting five farmers and 100 products,” says Dmitry Kravchenko, one of the project’s architects.

He adds that Cloud Farmer’s business model is as easy as falling off the log:

“We provide a sales channel through our farmers’ hub, which is a reliable farmer located at the entrance to the city. All products pass through the hub and it covers quality control risks. This model optimizes logistics, and gives a huge advantage to our farmers – and all this for only 20% of the proceeds.”

Another project that found its customers during the pre-acceleration program is Gemeter from the Perm Territory. “We invented a device that directly transmits utility meter readings to your building management company,” project CEO Roman Gribkov explains.

“Gemeter is for the forgetful and lazy. You can install it on your meter and connect it to your home Wi-Fi. Then you can forget about your monthly duty to submit readings on a specific day. Everything is automatic.”

The CEO added that over the period of the pre-acceleration program alone, the device was bought 15 times.

“For end users Gemeter costs RUR 1K ($15) plus a monthly fee of RUR 30 to 50 (47 to 78 cents). Users can carry the device with them and install it on any meters, which is convenient and practical. We will be selling directly via a website and in collaboration with our partners that build smart homes. Our Gemeter is one of the building blocks for these smart homes.”

Director of the Digital Breakthrough contest Oleg Mansurov told Invest Foresight that there were actually two events on that day.

“We enjoyed a very friendly atmosphere during the pre-acceleration program. Many participants already know each other and are really like old friends. The second event was an expert session in preparation for the next season of the contest. It was really nice to see that both contractors, customers and partners were all in for a common cause. Basically, we are building a full-fledged community,” he concluded.

By Taras Fomchenkov

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