The Salinas Valley is home to major growers, industry veterans and serial entrepreneurs eager to share their land, resources and knowledge with aspiring agtech leaders.
Among them include Raja Ramachandran, serial entrepreneur and co-founder of foodtech startup Ripe.io, a resident at Salinas-based Western Growers Center for Innovation and Technology (WGCIT). Ripe.io is making waves in the agriculture and food industries for using blockchain to create food product histories from seed-to-fork, enabling new analytics and business models for the journey of food. We caught up with Raja in March to learn how the company is using blockchain in the Salinas Valley to solve global issues around food.
In addition to ripe.io, Raja helped co-found and lead other two venture funded startups to exit – he calls entrepreneurship “a contagious disease.” Here are three tips he shares with aspiring entrepreneurs looking to get their ideas off the ground:
- Expertise: It’s great to have experience in a domain, and an understanding of the problems that are not being solved within that domain. Then, ask yourself: is there an economic viability for a business that can grow at scale to solve the problem? Outside of that, it comes down to a one thousand percent belief that you know how to do something that no one else does.’
- Critical Mass: It’s important to prove a path to revenue and profitability, but at the same time, understand that capital is just one tool you need in order to get to your destination. Capital is important, but entrepreneurs find a way no matter what. Beyond capital, it’s important to focus on your solution and what you believe to be the product market fit, i.e., you should be able to prove that what you’re doing is uniquely situated to meet a demand that isn’t being met by other entities.
- Insanity and Luck: You’ve got to a be a little fearless and a little insane. Certainly, having a little luck along the way doesn’t hurt, so try to place yourself where chance favors you. Otherwise, it comes down to perseverance and getting it done.
You can learn more about Ripe.io here, and find additional resources that help agtech startups thrive in the Salinas Valley here.