Indigo CEO David Perry has been very successful in raising money and running startups, but he is now facing a new kind of challenge; persuading farmers to adopt the latest technologies. Perry’s goal with Indigo is to help farmers improve environmental sustainability, create more nutritious food, and improve profitability.
Indigo Focused on Using Technology to Improve Farming
Indigo is focused on solving three problems, improving the environmental sustainability of farming, improving the consumer health and nutrition of the food that we produce, and improving the profitability of farmers. We do that using two technologies, microbiology that can replace a lot of the fertilizer and chemicals used today and then data sciences which help farmers make better farming decisions.
I had sold my previous company and was taking some time off to think about what did I want to do next and concluded that the problems of food and agriculture are some of the biggest that we face in the world today. One of the challenging things about building a company in agriculture is that there haven’t been a lot of technology successes in agriculture.
New Technology Hasn’t Been Adopted by Agriculture
If you look at all of the technology that’s driving the software industry or the medical industry all of those technologies theoretically apply to agriculture, but in fact, haven’t really been adopted by agriculture for various reasons. So there’s a huge uphill climb to figure out how to create the infrastructure to be able to overcome that industry inertia.
When Raising Money the No’s Don’t Matter
I’ve been running venture-funded startups for the last 20 years and therefore I’ve spent a lot of time talking to potential investors. Overall I’ve been successful. I’ve raised well over a billion dollars but I fail much more often than I’m successful.
At one point I did the math and I talked to 53 investors for every single one that I got to say yes and it still surprises me every time when somebody says no. What I’ve learned over time is that the no’s don’t matter and you just keep going until you find someone with whom your idea and story resonates.