First Half Of 2015 Sees Record Investment in AgTech Sector

The Farm and food tech industry has been on fire in the first half of 2015, pulling in $2.06 billion from investors according to the latest figures released by funding platform AgFunder. The figure for the first six months was up 132% from the same point in 2014 and is only $300M shy of the $2.36B of investment for all of last year. AgFunder’s “Midyear AgTech Investing Report” compiled data from press releases, SEC filings, direct sources, and CrunchBase to provide an overview of major industry trends, along with information on all AgTech deals and investors in 2015. Here’s a further look at the numbers, dissecting the different sectors and startup money they are attracting:

  • Precision Agriculture Attracted Some of the Largest Deals: Last year, $276M was invested into precision agriculture solutions. Just in the first half of 2015, it has accounted for some $400 million. Some of the larger investments include satellite imagery company Planet Labs ($118 million) and drone makers DJI ($75 million), 3D Robotics ($64 million) and Pulse AeroSpace ($23 million).

  • Water Tech Sector Big Winner: In the first half of 2015, twenty six percent of all investment ($525M) went into water technologies. A great deal of interest seems to be stemming from the historic drought in California. Investment was led by Israeli drip irrigation provider Netafim with it’s $500M debt financing in Q1, while smaller startups like CropX ($9M), Hortau ($5M), and PowWow Energy ($3M) got off the ground.

  • Food Ecommerce Largest Subsector: Total capital invested in the food e-commerce sector reached $551 million in the first six months of the year, led by $135 million to Blue Apron, a startup which delivers ingredients and recipes. Other big funding rounds included food delivery services like Munchery ($85 million), Sprig ($45 million) and NatureBox ($30 million).

The latest figures do show that growth slowed a little in Q2 compared to Q1, but the same thing happened last year as well. However, the first half of 2015 seems to have pushed agtech into the mainstream of venture capital investing. In fact, more investors participated in deals in the first half of 2015 than in all of 2014 – 280 investors invested in one or more deals (versus 271 in 2014), with 14% making two or more investments. General technology startup firms – the major players in venture capital – jumped in to support the sector including Sequoia Capital, Innovation Endeavors, Accel Partners, Qualcomm Venture, DFJ, and even the World Bank’s International Finance Corp made an appearance. Taking into account current investments, agtech seems on pace to nearly double last years funding.

This article is only an excerpt of the 8/10/15 Van Trump Report. Sign up for a free trial by clicking here.


1 Comment

  1. Nice post Kevin. I recently wrote on the topic: Is Indian Agriculture ready for “Gadgetization” ??

    Technological innovation in agriculture globally has become one of the hottest and most debated topics recently. The sector, particularly in the West, is witnessing a huge influx of new entrants and innovative technologies attempting to take agribusiness to the next level.

    But to put simply, from a techpreneur’s point of view, Indian agriculture is still probably in the “Paleolithic period”, falling way behind its Western counterparts in terms of achieving efficiency through use of technological interventions.

    Read more here:

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