Following their successful fundraising campaign last December, which generated 3 million euros, French agribot start-up Naïo Technologies is now ready for international expansion. The growing sales team enables the robotics company to reach across French borders into other European countries and they also express their interest in the North American and Japanese markets. Naïo Technologies is actively looking for partnerships with local distributors who know their markets well and are swayed by the numerous benefits agricultural robots have to offer. Belgium and Denmark are the first countries to adopt the French weeding robots and sign partnership deals. Julien Laffont, Naïo Technologies’ international sales manager, explains their strategy in more detail.
Can you tell us more about Naïo technologies’ strategy for international development?
This year has been dedicated to exploring foreign markets in order to conclude partnership deals and introduce our robots in as many countries as possible around the world. We aim to accelerate our international strategy in 2017 and increase international sales for our entire range of weeding robots for market gardening, industrial vegetable production and viticulture.
In order to achieve our goals, we’ve started to attend foreign exhibitions. We presented our Oz agricultural weeding robot at the GFIA congress in Abu Dhabi and the FIMA fair in Zaragoza. Both exhibitions have helped us find potential partners to jumpstart our international development.
Which countries are you targeting?
At this point, we’re mainly targeting countries that are close to France, such as Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Spain,… However, we’ve also initiated discussions with countries outside of the European Union, such as Japan, Australia and the United States.
All of these countries have a strong vegetable growing industry and experience difficulties to efficiently weed their crops and recruit skilled workers. Our research confirms that developed countries no longer have the desire to manually weed entire fields of vegetables.
Julien at the Naïo Technologies booth at the GFIA exhibition in Abu Dhabi in February 2016.
Which countries have already signed up for distributorship?
Last month, we signed our first distribution contacts with Agronova in Belgium and Seedcom in Denmark. Both companies will start to distribute our robots starting this season.
We aim to sign as many distribution deals as possible in 2016. Our distributors will not merely be responsible for the sales of our weeding robots: we’re looking for partners that are a good fit in terms of company spirit and whose main goal is to deliver excellent customer service.
We will assist our distributors during sales events such as trade fairs, exhibitions and large-scale demonstrations.
A word for agricultural distributors outside France ?
We’re actively looking for distributors from the agricultural sector who have access to the vegetable producers and market gardeners in their country. All companies who’d like to develop the presence of Naïo Technologies’ weeding robots in their home country and position themselves as pioneers in agricultural robotics are welcome to contact us!