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A Conversation with Mr. Bart Kroon, CEO of AGIBOO

I recently caught up with AGIBOO CEO Mr. Bart Kroon. Mr. Kroon joined AGIBOO as CEO earlier this year, and has a trading background, having held a number of senior executive positions in finance, procurement and trading, amongst others at Grontmij NV, Nutreco Holding, Continaf B.V. and Amtrada Holding.

The major news from Mr. Kroon was that AGIBOO has its first energy customer in the shape of Geneva-based City Trade and Investment s.a. City selected AGIBOO over other well-established competitors to handle its physical and financial oil trading in what is a major coup for AGIBOO. Mr. Kroon indicated that AGIBOO continues to focus in Softs and Ag’s, given its track in for example Dairy, Sugar, Cocoa, Coffee and Grains and Oilseeds, but was naturally very pleased with its ability to broaden its target market and customer base into energy. “The implementation will not include any coding or software customization,” he told us, “rather, it is simply a configuration matter to set up the AGIBLOCKS software for oil and this confirms to us that we have succeeded in building a real agile multi-commodity CTRM Solution.

AGIBOO’s AGIBLOCKS product has now reached a stage where it is a competitive commercial product and the company has been hiring recently as it transitions from a development orientation to more of a sales and delivery focused company.

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AGIBOO had also launched an initiative recently called the Commodity Knowledge Awards and I was keen to learn how that was going. Apparently, the uptake has been good and is still growing but Mr. Kroon had been surprised at how patchy commodity knowledge really was.

This led on the discussion topic of sales and marketing where AGIBOO has been quite innovative in showing its product in videos available on its website, for example. According to Mr. Kroon, AGIBOO targets traders and procurement managers primarily, and “traders and commodity buyer are usually quite attached to their existing tools and work processes, as that provides them security, so changing platform and bringing in new complexity is usually resisted. AGIBLOCKS however is intuitive, easy and agile in its use. When experiencing AGIBLOCKS through a demo or videos Traders recognize within seconds, that the AGIBLOCKS Software brings unique value without adding complexity. It is the type of software the traders like and want to work with.” He told us. Furthermore, AGIBOO is not afraid to be copied and publishes screen shots in articles in the trade press. “Of course, one could copy a screen lay-out, but it is not that easy to copy the philosophy, technology and processes behind it.

AGIBOO is indeed making a transition into a competitive software vendor now and in many respects, like all newcomers, it is also shaking things up in terms of marketing and sales approach. So far, the approach seems to be working quite well for AGIBOO and the product does indeed look good in a demonstration. If you want to take a look at it, they will be at the Global Grains event in Geneva later this 2nd week of November 2014.