In the agricultural technology (agri-tech) sphere, Indonesian firm Koltiva has been well-known for creating tailor-made software solutions for rural farmers and multinational companies. Koltiva’s competitive advantage continues to be the combination of proprietary technologies (agritech, fintech, climate tech) and “boots on the ground” services (KoltiSkills).
The company, established in 2013 by Ainu Rofiq (current COO) and Furqonuddin Ramdhani (current CTO), is now operating in 30 countries and more than 400,000 farmers and producers registered for their services.
Koltiva, perhaps the largest agtech firm in Southeast Asia with 500 employees, aims to be the first agtech company with boots on the ground to make supply chains traceable, reliable and sustainable, specifically in the expressed oil, coffee, cocoa, natural ingredients, and textiles sectors.
“Our mission statement is Beyond Traceability,” says Manfred Borer – CEO of Koltiva. “We work with multinational companies in rural smallholder farming to not only establish traceability, but also resilient and sustainable global supply chains from seed to table. Koltiva aims to get 5 million farmers and producers on our platform solutions and lift farmers’ income by more than 300% with our bundled service and product offerings.”
Recognizing the important role Koltiva can play in solving big challenges in Vietnam’s agriculture, the GRAFT Challenge Vietnam 2021 team invited the company to apply for the program, and Koltiva was selected for the final cohort in August 2021.
The first challenge that Koltiva set out to tackle is one that is familiar to Vietnamese farmers: the difficulty for smallholders to access funding sources due to an underdeveloped rural financial services infrastructure where lenders have limited visibility to manage credit risk.
The solution to this challenge lies in Koltiva’s newest product: KoltiPay, an e-wallet that comes with the usual benefits of cashless payments while complementing existing payment options in rural areas through a split-payment method. Integrated with other Koltiva products such as FarmCloud for farmers access to their data and interactions with supply chains, FarmGate for agribusinesses buying farmer produce, and FarmRetail for agricultural inputs (agri-inputs) from shop owners, KoltiPay offers greater payment transparency while supporting the subsequent entry of other Koltiva products in Vietnam.
The company has been focusing on understanding the market needs and locality features of agricultural specialties as well as loans accessibility for farmers, and has identified several sectors, such as tropical fruits and coffee, as grounds for entry and expansion.
“Vietnam has been on our agenda for quite a while due to its proximity and similarity to Indonesia”, shares Muhammad Fadli Mr. Borer – Key Account Manager of Koltiva for South East Asia. “We aim to finish adaptation of our proprietary software solutions over the coming months and to provide our products and services to Vietnamese companies and its multinational buyers within the first semester of 2022.”
To further help Koltiva to implement its fintech solutions, GRAFT has identified several potential strategic partners in the financial services sector and has assisted Koltiva through direct introductions and facilitation of partnership agreements. This effort has led to the establishment of several pilot schemes for Koltiva’s products in Vietnam.
Besides working with Koltiva to clarify viable entry points, refine product-market fit and explore potential channel partners for the company in Vietnam, GRAFT has helped the company identify and engage with potential strategic partners in the handicraft/wood carving, textile and apparel, cocoa, rubber and coffee sectors, either through direct engagements or relationship building with regulatory bodies and industry associations. Operationally, GRAFT has helped initiate the establishment of a local representative office for Koltiva in Vietnam, as well as provided support for the successful recruitment of a Vietnam-based Customer Success Officer (CSO) for the company.
“Cultural gaps are both popular and critical when an international business is expanding to new markets,” says Tran Tri Dung, Program Manager of the Swiss Entrepreneurship Program and Senior Advisor of GRAFT. “The leadership of Koltiva addresses this challenge very well as a Swiss entrepreneur working in Indonesia. In addition to the recruitment of a Vietnamese women CSO, being adaptable to the country’s business culture increases Koltiva’s chance of success in Viet Nam.”
Currently, the GRAFT programme aims to bolster support for Koltiva’s newly appointed CSO in initial meetings with clients and channel partners in Vietnam, as well as support road testing of a translated prototype product. Looking into the future, Koltiva aims to successfully complete current pilot programs in 2022, as well as build up a large local network of strategic distributors to adequately build a sustainable natural resources local supply chain in the next three years. Given the level of support received so far, the partnership with the GRAFT Challenge will provide the next step for Koltiva to achieve these goals.
If you or any entities in your networks are interested in partnering with Koltiva on its journey to scale up in Vietnam, contact the GRAFT team at email@example.com.