Erick, tell us a little about yourself and your background.
My full name is Erick Montañez, I’m 22 and I’m from Mexico. I’ve been involved in the entrepreneurial ecosystem since I was 15 years old and one of my biggest passions is to talk, give speeches, conferences, and mentorships to young entrepreneurs, I’ve always thought that trying to reach your own dreams and inspiring others to do the same is basically the cause why I’m here today.
Nowadays I have a company in Mexico that generates solutions for the farmers in order to give them a better quality of life. My grandfather was a farmer and my dad quit farming because he thought that it was not a profitable business. This was mainly my motivation to start studying why farming is not leaving money to all of these people that wake up at 4 AM in the morning every day to do the same activity for years.
What does AllFarmz do? How did you guys come up with this idea?
Since the very beginning of the TrepCamp Entrepreneurial Simulator 2019 in Silicon Valley, I encouraged my team to look for the small farmers and I showed them all of the problems that they have. On those 3 weeks of hard work we generated several ideas, actually we had one where we wanted to deliver the fruits and vegetables from farm to table using technology and avoiding all kind of middleman, but on the first pitch round all of the judges told us that it was not scalable and that logistics might be a very hard problem.
From that moment we started thinking about other possible solutions and we came with AllFarmZ, a platform where small farmers can organize to buy all their farming supplies together, generate an economy of scale and increase their bargaining power with the big companies. Also, we are giving this digital community the possibility to have essential information on their hands like the forecast of the weather, engineers to ask and answer questions so that they can plan each season smartly. Plus the possibility to interact within the platform, farmer to farmer and generate a real and loyal community.
What you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others?
We are proud of all the hard work and passion that every member has for the project. Our mission, vision, and values are all aligned to help this sector of the population and besides that, we are a team of Latin Americans from different countries that share the same problems.
Our differentiator is that we are a very experienced and diverse team with skills in app development, law, finance, design and farming, and also we are always looking to go to the next step, we are ambitious and we never give up on anything.
What’s the biggest lesson you took with you from the TrepCamp Entrepreneurial Simulator 2019 in Silicon Valley?
The biggest lesson I took with me is to be patient with your team, we are all leaders and our generation is very empowered so sometimes it’s hard to get to an agreement but when the cause is meaningful, all of us looked for the best solutions.
Also, one great lesson that one of our mentors, Ron Shigueta, gave us is to be critic and never stay in a comfort zone.
Has it been a smooth road? What were the biggest business challenges you have faced and how did you overcome them?
It hasn’t been a smooth road at all!
One of the biggest challenges in our business was to convince the farmers to use their phones to purchase their supplies. To start we made an ambassador’s program when we have young farmers that are leaders in each community to show old farmers how easy it is to buy and scale our business.
How powerful and influential has it been to go through and win the TrepCamp Global Demo Day 2019 at 4YFN in Los Angeles? What are your next steps as a startup?
It has been very powerful because from that event we’ve received a lot of messages and proposals from several companies that want to work with us and from other entrepreneurs that are working in the same industry and got motivated from our journey.
The next steps are to constitute a company in the U.S. in order to raise funding and develop our platform to launch our MVP in the next months. Also, I’m going back to Mexico to increase our community and establish commercial relationships with suppliers.
What piece of advice do you wish someone had given you at the start of your entrepreneurial journey?
This advice would be to never hesitate to ask all of your questions, in this journey, you might find some people that have more business knowledge than you, even though, never feel less and ask every time you can.
How do you see yourself and AllFarmz 10 years from now?
I see myself working hard and having a big company that is helping thousands of farmers around the world, providing education to the people in Latin America and generating hundreds of new jobs.
I see AllFarmz as a large community of small farmers that have an amazing power on society, giving advice between each other to have better production and having more money in their pockets because the large farm supply companies would want to work with them. I can also predict that AllFarmz will be recognized around the world as the company that created the next generation of agriculture by developing products and services that help farmers to have a more profitable business.
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