Investors Warm To Agri-Biotech Ventures

06 Nov 2019 | 12.00 pm

Investors Warm To Agri-Biotech Ventures

Report from Idea 2 Scale and AgFunder

06 Nov 2019 | 12.00 pm

Agricultural biotechnology is the field which is attracting most attention from investors who focus on the food and agricultural technology sector, with six out of ten investors “most excited” by startups in the segment.

That’s according to an Investor Sentiment Report from venture capital firm AgFunder and technology incubator Idea 2 Scale which surveyed 50 food and agtech venture capital investors across the world.

Agricultural biotechnology is a wide-ranging category encompassing on-farm inputs for crop and animal agriculture, including genetics, microbials, breeding and animal health. A key focus for startups in this category is to help farmers increase their yields in a more environmentally sustainable way.

The next most popular categories were innovative food at 56%, which includes the alternative meat segment, and farm management software, sensing and IoT at 46%.

At the opposite end of the scale, 54% of investors said the online restaurants and meal kits category was the most over-hyped.

The report comes as Idea 2 Scale introduced its first industry-specific accelerator programme, ‘The Field Academy’.

Founder and chief executive Danny O’Brien  (pictured) commented: “Understanding the mindset of investors is intrinsically linked to predicting the direction of the industry itself, and separating what’s over-hyped from what’s garnering real interest.

“This research has reaffirmed the need for businesses to ensure they are coming to investors with an ‘investor ready’ opportunity. Businesses must assess whether they’re clearly communicating their value proposition, have a clear route to market and have assembled the right skillset in order to stand out from the crowd. These are non-negotiables for securing investment.

“Early on, we recognised the opportunity for technology across food and agriculture and set about designing a programme tailored to the needs of startups taking on this sector. We call it the Field Academy and we’re delighted to launch applications in tandem with this report. 

“We take a data-driven approach to working with hundreds of founders, enabling us to scout the most disruptive startups from emerging and established markets and connect them to our investment partners.”

AgFunder head of research Louisa Burwood-Taylor added: “While agri-biotech has consistently been the best-funded upstream category across the food supply chain, it’s interesting to see that it continues to grab investor attention, especially in light of recent prohibitive regulatory decisions in Europe. 

“What’s lesser known is that Innovative Food, the category including the trendy meat alternative segment, is still a very small part of the overall food-tech and agtech startup universe. With clear investor demand for more innovative food opportunities, including from us at with our New Carnivore Fund, it’s very likely investment will have increased dramatically in 2019.”

AgFunder is a global VC platform with 70,000 members and subscribers. The Idea 2 Scale platform has “a simple mission”: to democratise access to knowledge and mentorship for founders around the world, so they can help themselves become market and investor ready.

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