Agvesto operates a simple to use insurance platform for farmers and agricultural businesses so that they can protect their agricultural assets against perils such as drought, hail, flood or heatwaves. The company partners with insurance companies, brokers and insurance agencies to offer farmers a wide choice of tailor-made protection instruments. It also provides advice and AI driven services to state municipalities and companies in the issuance of green and sustainable bonds.
We spoke to Dr Srini Sundaram, founder and CEO, about the company's long-term growth plans and the importance of having a presence in the UK.
What does your company do?
Our world today has a number of major challenges of which climate change is one. As climate change effects gets severe in various parts of the world it affects the livelihoods of farmers in various ways. There could be countries where farming could be non-existent or where farming capacity falls by 25%.
It's not just the developing countries that are worried about food security. The problem is universal. So, our mission as a company is how do you bring the capital markets and the insurance markets together so that the agricultural sector can become more resilient and more sustainable over the long term?
We act as an intermediary between farmers, capital markets and insurers so that farmers can get insured against natural hazards. We also provide services to issuers of green bonds such as municipalities and companies both in pre- and post-issuance market.
Tell us about your UK and global operations.
The headquarters of Agvesto is in London and this is where all strategic decisions are made. We also have subsidiary operations in Mumbai in India. We have done quite a lot of work in the US market over the last two and a half years and have major insurance companies providing capacity and underwriting risks.
The political administration in the UK is very pro-business from a technology and sustainability point of view which is extremely important. This has translated into a lot of tech investment coming in.
What are the main benefits to being based in the UK?
There are a number of factors that make London and the UK attractive for a business like us. The political administration in the UK is very pro-business from a technology and sustainability point of view which is extremely important. This has translated into a lot of tech investments coming in.
The UK is also internationally recognised for its solid legal and regulatory guidance. Our business model directly links to capital markets and insurance which in many parts of the world are covered by two different regulators. This can mean it's extremely hard to have a uniform business model. In the UK it is much simpler as we deal with just one regulator.
It is important to have a base in the UK so we can more easily highlight to international insurance companies and international investors the opportunities in global agricultural markets and sectors where sustainable finance markets are yet to develop. This is critical if countries are to meet their sustainable development goals. In an international city like London it is also extremely easy to find the right talent on both the insurance and capital markets sides of our business.
It is important to have a base in the UK so we can more easily show international insurance companies and international investors the opportunities in agricultural sector.
Tell us about your company's growth ambitions and how the UK features in these.
We measure growth from the economic and the social impact we create. In the next five years we want to mobilise our services across all parts of the value chain including livestock, fisheries and poultry businesses so that there is a really strong resilience against climate change in these sectors and transition into a net zero state. That would help us achieve growth from both an economic and social point of view.
We have ambitions to look to the US market as well to make the business more scalable from a growth point of view. But we will always maintain a presence in the UK. Having a base in the UK means you're situated well geographically to see what's happening in the west as well as in the east in terms of global trade.