According to the latest AgFunder Agri-FoodTech Investing Report, $19.8 billion has been invested in AgriFood tech across 1,858 deals in 2019. AgFunder, a food and agtech venture firm, publishes the annual report utilizing Crunchbase data to build its unique analysis. The report represents a wide swath of industries from innovative food, eGrocers and restaurants to farming, ag biotech, farm robotics and equipment, bioenergy and biomaterials.
The largest growth year over year in funding includes meat alternatives, indoor farming, robotic food delivery and cloud kitchens. Investment in startups operating what the report terms upstream–closer to the farmer and before retail–increased 1.3 percent year over year, accelerating in the second half with the highest numbers for H2 on record. Alternative proteins (Impossible Foods raised $300 million, Motif FoodWorks, $90 million and Puris, $75 million) and vertical farming (AeroFarms raised $100 million, Infarm, $100 million and AppHarvest, $82 million) drove much of this. The whole sector showed 250 percent growth in the last five years.
Closer to retail and grouped as downstream in the report are eGrocers, restaurants, delivery and home cooking, which saw an overall decline of 7.6 percent year over year. The largest sector decline is food delivery by 56 percent year over year.
Agritech and foodtech experienced growth in investments in regions outside of Asia and North America. According to Louisa Burwood-Taylor head of media and research at AgFunder “Europe continued its trend for growth across VC industries posting a 94 percent increase in agri-foodtech funding, while Latin America had a breakout year, closing $1.4 billion in agri-foodtech funding across 40% more deals than in 2018; that’s more than the entire LatAm VC industry in 2017. Africa also more than doubled its funding in the space.”
Notable investors in the sector cited by the report include venture investor Sequoia, corporate investors Amazon and Microsoft, and late-stage private equity investors SoftBank, Temasek, KKR and T. Rowe Price.
Illustration: Dom Guzman