Crop protection at the top, precision agriculture growing and drones and satellites falling: these are the main trends in agriculture technology for 2018 – so far. The information is provided by Finistere Ventures in its most recent report on AgTech investments.
“Agtech as a whole is maturing in a short amount of time, as more expertise and resources are drawn to the category. Underlying technologies are improving and milestones are being hit more often and quicker than ever before,” the document reads.
2017 was an important year for the sector, with “$123.8 million worth of financing across 108 angel & seed-stage rounds.” What about 2018? The answer is different for each segment.
Technological solutions for livestock management make up an AgTech segment which “is rising,” with 21.3 million dollars invested in 2017 and 9.1 million by June of this year.
Includes all the companies who work on plant and organism modifications in order to make them more profitable, such as genetic alterations.
“Despite plant sciences representing the agtech segment with some of the most wellknown and profitable exits and technologies, it receives less angel funding than its counterparts. This is likely due to the complexity of technology development, regulatory barriers, and long development timelines in this sector,” according to Finistere Ventures.
Crop protection and input management
This market segment refers to products that, when applied to crops, improve their profitability and health, such as seed treatments.
The startups in this area are the ones that receive the most investment. “The push to improve plant yields has drawn significant interest since 2012, which recorded an unusually high $21.7 million worth of financing.” Since the beginning of 2018, the segment has received $24.1 million in investment.
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This segment includes hardware and software systems that have the purpose of enabling crop cultivation inside of rooms.
Both the value and the volume of this segment fell drastically in 2016 – almost $40 million – but there was a strong recovery last year. “Indoor ag is a nascent sector within agtech, and activity is expected to trend higher as consumer interest in controlled environment production and local food systems continue to rise.”
This segment includes software for information management and analytics solutions for farm management. This remains a very popular segment for investors, according to Finistere Ventures. Until June 2018, it already had received $14.4 million in investment.
This is where drones and satellites for aerial crop monitoring come in. Startups in this segment have been getting a lot of attention from investors, especially the ones with a background in tech and hardware, due to its “simple solutions.” Still, investment in this market segment fell from $19.5 million in 2016 to $14.3 million in 2017. Up until June 2018, it seemed to be recovering, having already gathered $9.4 million by that point.
Cleantech and sensors are the focus of many startups
Finistere Ventures’ report includes the results of a qualitative assessment of the AgTech market solicited from industry players.
The survey discovered that “clean tech”, that is, technology that intends to reverse negative environmental impact, is the focus of many responders.
Another discovery was that “precision agriculture and sensor plus farm equipment were the top sectors in terms of self-reported investment focus plus observed deal flow.”
Livestock technology and aquaculture, along with supply chain analytics and infrastructure, were also noted as areas of potential interest.