It was only as recently as 2017 that the founding five of AgbioInvestor established their business and started trading, making the fact that they have now won a Queen’s Award for international trade all the more remarkable.
But then they are a company that lives and breathes their work; operating in the agricultural industry with offices in the middle of a working farm in Midlothian, Scotland, they could hardly be better placed, inspired and more immersed in nature.
AgbioInvestor provides market intelligence and analysis using online subscription-based products and bespoke reporting for the global crop protection and seed & trait industries.
They work across the world and their clients include academics and small research companies, as well as multi-national billion-dollar corporations – the likes of Bayer, BASF, Corteva, Syngenta, Limagrain and KWS.
In the three-year Queen’s Award application period their overseas sales have seen an outstanding growth of 78 per cent and the proportion of sales exported in the final year was 93 per cent of total sales. Meanwhile staff numbers have grown to 22.
Founding partner, Fraser McDougall puts the rapid success and growth down to a philosophy that he believes differentiates them from their competitors.
He said: “Our team has existed in one shape or another for 15 years because we were originally part of a much larger public business intelligence company. The five of us who started AgbioInvestor felt that there should be more focus on the client and their requirements and that has been at the forefront of our thoughts and operations since the beginning.
“As part of that approach we see it necessary to travel a lot to our clients who are located from Japan and China to remote parts of the US and far flung places in between and its paying dividends.”
AgbioInvestor see their role as impartial observers and measurers of the industry, providing up-to-date analysis of what is happening in crop protection and seeds. Theirs might be a niche service, but their clients help feed the world.
They started life with three core products, AgbiCrop, AgbioSeed and AgbioSelect and as they have grown they have expanded their offer to meet more client needs and so there’s now also AgbioGuide, AgbioTrade and AgbioChem as well as a comprehensive industry news service.
Fraser said: “Ours has been a really interesting and very fast journey. We have captured the entire Japanese market and all the leading companies in our sector around the world are subscribed to our services. We’re now at the point where it’s a case of making sure we maintain that client base through excellent continued customer service.”
For a young company the last two Covid-19 hit years could have caused major disruption, but AgbioInvestor staff were able to work from anywhere and so successfully maintained their operations.
Fraser said: “Of course, food production can’t and doesn’t stop, so we ensured even greater focus on close customer contact with our clients, while they also pivoted their spend and bought in more business intelligence. As a result we managed to achieve robust double digit growth during the pandemic.”
Fraser believes that the recognition that comes with a prestigious Queen’s Award will help them kick on even further. “It means a lot in terms of an outward face to our industry,” he said, “but equally in terms of the team’s moral and it has engendered a real sense of pride in the company.
“There are certainly big growth opportunities for agriculture focused companies and there are areas that we have always been interested in which we will pursue. We want to further the business intelligence that we provide, develop new services for our clients and investigate adjacent industries that hold interest for us.”
Young, small and perfectly formed, they may be, but AgbioInvestor is a mature player making a big impact.