AG Tools Receives Orange County Business Journal’s Innovator of the Year Award

Past Tides
October 6, 2020 By Kaitlin Aquino

Wayfinder startup AG Tools recently added a third award to its winning streak, receiving Innovator of the Year at the 6th annual Orange County Business Journal Innovator Awards.

Out of 52 nominees, Martha Montoya, AG Tools CEO and founder, emerged as one of the five winners recognized for creating game-changing products and services and championing innovation. AG Tools strives to optimize the food and agricultural supply chain by providing real-time data analytics to farmers and their customers.

The pre-recorded virtual awards ceremony featured brief Q&A segments with all the winners.

During her Q&A, Montoya shared that despite AG Tools’ success, securing sufficient funding proved to be one of AG Tools’ greatest obstacles.

“When I went out to fundraise, I discovered that we women are very underfunded in the world of venture [capital],” said Montoya. “And then if it’s in technology, it’s even less – from 2 percent to less than 0.1 percent. And if you’re a minority, 0.01 percent.”

But with the help of a mentor who reminded Montoya of her roots playing professional tennis in Colombia, she eventually overcame AG Tools’ struggle with fundraising by following a familiar piece of advice.

“When [I] used to lose … the next day I would train more and focus more. It’s the same thing [with business],” said Montoya. “Just focus on fundraising. Drop everything. Don’t get so scattered doing marketing and sales.”

Montoya also expressed gratitude for the Orange County business ecosystem’s promotion and prioritization of creativity. She mentioned that growing up, Montoya was led to believe that business and creativity were mutually exclusive.

“[In my family,] either you’re business or creative,” said Montoya. “But now, the world can merge. And Orange County is one of the best places in the world for creativity and business.”

Learn more about AG Tools.

Main Graphic: Orange County Business Journal

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