TOM LEYDE6:10 p.m. PT Feb. 7, 2017
Small Salinas Valley farmers are selling more of their crops at higher prices, thanks to a startup e-commerce company called Aggrigator.
Through its food hub and a user-friendly website for both sellers and buyers, the company is creating a farm-to-shelf model that can be used around the world.
In December, Aggrigator reached a major milestone when it partnered with Agriculture and Land-Based Training Association in Salinas. ALBA, which trains small farmers, faced a funding shortfall for its ALBA Organics food hub. So it agreed to turn management of the hub over to Aggrigator. The move gave Aggrigator a base to advance its goals.
The company is the brainchild of co-founder Gerard Rago. Rago came up with the idea in an entrepreneur lab at Stanford University while doing a fellowship.
“He has a history of startups and entrepreneurships and a heart for helping people,” said Karen Marie Feliz, Aggrigator’s vice president of supply and economic systems.
Rego, she said, had done something similar in India and wanted to give small U.S. farmers a larger voice in the fresh produce marketplace. He wrote a thesis based on the idea of an online marketplace to sell and buy fresh produce and found private investors to help fund it.