As the CEO and founder of an edtech firm, Laís Xavier didn’t expect to change careers late last year. But an opportunity to work at Muda Meu Mundo, a company looking to transform agriculture and supply chains, was tempting. So, too, was the growth of the four-year-old company, which just launched a pre-seed funding round. Muda Meu Mundo uses a database to best connect large grocery stores with smaller farmers, which not only reduces food waste but also boosts profits for both parties — in just one Brazilian state in 2020, more than 70 farmers had partnered with Muda Meu Mundo and increased their income by 120%. 

What was the most important decision of your career?

The change from one business vertical to another. For the past 13 years, I was the head of the edtech firm Mídias Educativas [through 2020], and now I am the CTO of Muda Meu Mundo, which takes data intelligence to connect small organic farmers with retailers. When we talk about agriculture, we don’t have any infrastructure or hardware — access through the net — and so it has been difficult, but we implanted new technology in this segment. This has been a big transformation for me, and this change I made was only possible because of my experience as a CEO.

What investment trend for your market are you most excited about?

Investments in startups that think about the production chain and sustainability. Investments in startups that think about the production chain and sustainability. We’ve seen a transformation in the behavior of shoppers. As time passes, people have become more conscious of what they eat. People now question where their food comes from and whether it is sustainably produced. That change in the mindset of shoppers is new, and this investment in sustainability, and food without chemicals, will specifically impact our segment when the shopper is in the grocery store. This was apparent during the pandemic — we were able to generate value for everyone in the production chain, and we now have consumers more concerned about the origin and sustainable practices of the supply chain.

What’s the most common misconception about doing business in South America, and particularly in Brazil?

We have a lot of opportunities because we have so many problems to solve. And because of this, we have good spaces for lots of businesses, but there are those that try to start without taking into account our culture. We realized that people have more money to spend on organic foods, but we started slow, and now expect to grow to 13 states in Brazil by 2024. 

*This 3 Minutes With interview first appeared in the Rest of World weekly newsletter. Sign up here.