Interview With Adrian Ferrero and Alberto Acedo
Describe your product or service:
“Our company provides tech solutions and data-driven diagnostics to optimize soil health, enhance farming productivity, deliver food security, and restore a sustainable balance to the agricultural ecosystem. Our proprietary platform, BeCrop®, is the industry standard for functional soil analysis and sustainable soil health recovery. Our Gheom® platform provides an independent assessment program measuring the impact of crop inputs and farming practices to support customized agriculture.”
Describe your company culture in 3 words:
“Innovative, motivated, bio-protectors”
Describe your company values and mission:
“We’re on a mission to restore soil health worldwide and promote a more sustainable, responsible agriculture.”
What are you ultimately hoping to achieve with your business?
“It’s become abundantly clear to us that technology is an indispensable tool for agriculture in the fight to confront overpopulation, climate change, and food insecurity. Today more than ever, boosting crop yields sustainably has taken on a new level of urgency. Our company is committed to meeting this challenge, developing the tools and technology to change the way growers interact with soil, helping them transition from traditional farming to more biodiverse, microbiome-based methodologies that can mitigate the hurdles associated with climate change.”
How are you funded?
Private investors, in-house company initiatives, and product sales.
How big is your team? Tell us a little about them.
“Our international team of 40 is an ambitious group of like-minded individuals working from all corners of the globe to provide a singular, cross-cultural contribution to our common cause of a more sustainable planet. Our team is composed [of] geneticists, agronomists, data scientists, software engineers, designers, and administrators. We combine different skills to develop the most advanced technology to connect the biology into the decision-making tools.”
Did you always want to start your own business? What made you want to become an entrepreneur?
“We were raised in the same small farming town in Spain and met for the first time in a martial arts class when we were just six years old. The principles of honor and respect we learned in that class really resonated with us, plus the competitiveness of Judo was something we were able to integrate into our own personal relationship as well as within the overall business culture of Biome Makers. Honor, respect, and the competitive spirit were early motivators that came together to form the very foundation of all of our future entrepreneurial efforts.”
How did you develop and refine your idea/concept? How did you decide to actually act on the idea? What gave you confidence that you were on the right track?
“We hope to leave a positive and lasting impression on society. The opportunity to do so came after we graduated from school and landed our first jobs. This was a key time in our lives, a moment when we decided to create our first company, a genetic diagnostic center for human-genetic diseases in Spain specializing in emerging DNA sequencing technologies. The idea to start a company based on precision medicine, specifically focused on a region that had been experiencing a high level of colon cancer, was well received and afforded us the opportunity to up our game in the entrepreneurial world.
Despite this early success and subsequent recognition of this first startup from esteemed entities such as the MIT Technology Review, the Spanish Government, and the European Commission, we were ready to move on to our next adventure. And we didn’t have to wait long! When a Tweet was posted from the Illumina´s president announcing a global call for startups to join the Illumina Accelerator, we were off and running! This new venture afforded us a chance to apply precision medicine to agriculture. For us, the opportunity to address the challenge of soil health, an issue that would have an immediate, global impact, was one we embraced whole-heartedly.”
How did you come up with your company name? Did you have other names you considered?
“Given that soil microbiome plays an important role in the company’s DNA, ‘Biome’ felt right to us. And as entrepreneurial advocates for the future of ecological health writ large, ‘Makers’ seemed like a great fit as well because we love the makers movements: “when you see a problem without a solution, then you make the solution” — coming together to form our company name: Biome Makers.”
What makes your company unique?
“Biome Makers has distinguished itself as one of the foremost global agtech leaders, providing microbiome insights to empower smart agriculture. We have succeeded [in] decoding the ecological relationships and connecting them to the digital world.
Our company has developed a patented technology integrating DNA sequencing and ecological computing technologies using one of the most complex biomarkers: the soil microbiome.
By thinking big but trying to create change on a local level, we’ve integrated our global aspirations within the context of a modest startup. Until our company’s recent microbiome breakthroughs, agronomists have never had access to the kind of vital data required to make predictive crop decisions based on soil functionalities. By better understanding soil microbes and, in turn, better understanding crop needs, growers can boost food production and build efficiencies around crop yields to mitigate food insecurity.”
What is the greatest challenge you faced starting your business, and how did you overcome it?
“Trying to locate an appropriate space to house our headquarters (one that fit our particular biotech and administrative needs) was one of the first hurdles we faced, but after an extensive search, the perfect location was found in Sacramento, California. Another big challenge involved the company’s capacity to test products and quickly bring them to market. Fortunately for us, our collaboration with Bayer CS and the Illumina Accelerator were invaluable in helping us overcome these potential obstacles.”
What's your favorite entrepreneurial book and podcast?
What is the biggest lesson you learned during your journey?
“Mainly three lessons: 1) Hard work always pays back, 2) stay focused, and 3) we are limitless, so let’s dream big.”
Who is your support system?
“Family and friends encourage us to rise higher, reach farther.”
How do you stay motivated?
“Staying in touch with nature (where I can breathe) and engag[ing] in sports (to balance brain-body energy).”
Did you have to develop any habits that helped lead you to success? If so, what are they?
Get obsessed, face problems from different angles, look for feedback, listen to people, and switch off from time-to-time.
What are you most proud of as an entrepreneur?
Providing so many families with the ability to make a living from our ideas and launch/grow their own companies.
More on Biome Makers
The founders of agtech startup Biome Makers shared valuable insights during our interview that will inspire and motivate aspiring entrepreneurs.
We asked the founders of Biome Makers to share the most impactful ways to support their startup, and this is what they had to say.