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February 28, 2020
By Isis Almeida
Indigo Ag Inc., a company trying to take the old-school world of crop trading onto digital platforms, is cutting jobs in order to focus on the most-profitable areas of its business.
Reductions at the Boston-based company meant 150 staff members lost their jobs, a company spokesperson confirmed. The layoffs come as Indigo zeros in on areas where it’s seeing the best returns such as its Marketplace, an eBay-style grain platform connecting farmers directly with buyers and bypassing some of the world’s top crop traders.
Startups like Indigo, Farmers Business Network and Grainster Inc. have emerged in recent years to challenge the likes of Archer-Daniels-Midland Co., Bunge Ltd., Cargill Inc. and Louis Dreyfus Co. -- the storied quartet of agricultural commodity traders that dominate the market. The trading houses historically made money by buying crops from farmers, storing and selling them at a higher price later.
“The accelerating demand from our customers is why we’re focusing our resources on the fastest-growing areas of our business and scaling them with increased investments in software and engineering,” Chief Executive Officer David Perry said in a statement to Bloomberg.
Indigo, which raised $200 million last month, will focus on areas including software development and its grain platform. It will give less priority to businesses like agronomy and transportation. The transport segment was originally envisioned as an Uber-like solution for trucking grain in the U.S.
Despite the job cuts, Indigo still has more than 1,000 employees, 280 more than it did last year. Indigo has raised $850 million in total from investors including the Alaska Permanent Fund and the Investment Corporation of Dubai.
“Indigo is on a path to self-sufficiency and we aim to be generating positive operating cash flow near the end of the year and for the full year 2021,” Perry said.
--With assistance from Lydia Mulvany.
To contact the reporter on this story:
Isis Almeida in Chicago at [email protected]
To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Lynn Doan at [email protected]
Millie Munshi, Anna Kitanaka
© 2020 Bloomberg L.P.
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