Last Thursday, July 2nd we added another edition to our series of international webinars as we delved into the power of agtech investment to building a more resilient food system amid the covid crisis. In our latest offering with partners Eatable Adventures “Investing in Agri-Food Tech: Building Resilient Food Systems” we were joined by some of the agtech industry´s biggest experts including Anne Greven, Global Head of F&A Startup Innovation at Rabobank, John Friedman, Director of AgFunder Asia & our very own José Luis Cabañero, CEO of Eatable Adventures, who offered their insights into the keys behind investing in agtech, the main drivers of change and which companies are currently leading this new agricultural revolution.
As the covid crisis affects every part of the food industry, investor and entrepreneur mindsets are changing and the pandemic has uncovered a fragile and overly traditional food supply chain that begs for change. Agtech offers new power and possibilities to leverage disruptive solutions. In 2019 startups raised approximately 20 billion worth of investment as they develop new solutions towards redesigning a more active supply system across the industry including in blockchain, automation and robotics.
Here are the key takeaways from the webinar in case you missed it:
The main drivers of agtech
– in 2015, agrifood only made up 5% of VC funding, which is minuscule if you consider the industry employs 40% of the worlds population.
– the main challenges we face as a food supply chain are population growth, climate change and changing consumption patterns.
– there has been a spike in agtech players entering the market, especially those that offer more sustainable practices that are kinder to our planet. For example, plant-based leader Beyond Meat garnered attention when they went public, which is when many other startups realized the agtech space was worth investing it.
– a big driver of change has been the covid crisis as it uncovered a stressed-out supply chain begging for change.
– its not only startups and corps who are interested in the space, governments and universities are also showing their support for increased agrifood investment.
– for small countries like Singapore (that relies on 90% of food importation to feed its population) covid has realized a need for increased domestic food production.
How agritech innovation is adding value to more traditional farming and agricultural practices
– agritech innovation has created greater efficiencies for farms and offers more margins for farmers.
– the farmer must come first; community farmer apps are a prime example which puts the power back into the farmers hands and cuts out the middle man.
– the technology innovations securing the most funding are those that are low tech but high impact.
How they compare in terms of profitability, complexity and availability of quality deal flow to other areas in foodtech
– the agrifood space is implementing more technology year after year and the return is similar, if not bigger, than that of other areas in foodtech.
– as more technology is being implemented, people are realizing that the greater the tech advancement, the greater the return for the investor.
– Europe and LATAM have been the main leaders of entrepreneurship and innovation, and South East Asia definitely needs to catch up.
– we can expect the continued implementation of simple but high impact technology with small holder farmers at the forefront across the globe and increased investment for startups that offer disruptive agtech solutions.
The most relevant and promising areas worth investing in
– carbon trading soil is garnering increasingly more interest as investors look for sustainable solutions that reduce carbon emissions.
– anything that offers greater efficiency to the farmer as a general goal can expect investment, as well as those that give back dollar to the farmer.
– predictive analytics has always been a growing area, but increasingly so as data sources are getting bigger and predictive measures more advanced.
– many startups have already designed solutions using AI and predictive analytics, including simple solutions like phone apps where farmers can download data including crop performance.
Check out the full video here: