AgFunder, an AgTech investment platform, released its 2018 report on global agrifood tech investments. The analysis, which was based on data from almost 30.000 companies, revealed several trends that defined the year that’s gone by.

Here they are.

1. 2018 was a record year for agrifood tech

With $16.9 billion invested in the industry worldwide in 2018, investment grew 43% and deals increased by 11%.

Most of it was due to a bump in the size of later stage deals. But seed stage deals also made “a strong comeback after a big drop off in 2017.”

2. Deal activity in China rose drastically

In 2018, China stood out in the agrifood tech investment arena. The number of deals in the country rose 500%, with a total of $3.5B invested. It was the second country in the world with the most investment in the industry, after the USA, where investment reached $7.9B.

Chinese investors, however, continued to invest strongly in consumer-facing food tech, like Dada-JD Daojia and Dianwoba, both meal delivery companies. Startups directed at farming and supply chains, on the other hand, were virtually ignored.

3. Consumer tech takes the lead

Agrifood tech startups directed at consumers (In-Store Retail & Restaurant Tech, eGrocery, etc.) were the ones that got the most investment – a total of $10B, which represents an increase of 41.8% from 2017.

Specifically, restaurant marketplaces were the ones that attracted the most funding, in the context of what AgFunder refers to as “a global phenomenon triggered by consumer demand for convenience and increased choice.”

4. Investment in AgTech grew the most

Upstream technologies (those for farms and supply chains) received less funding ($6.9B) than consumer technologies, but the year-over-year increase for the former was higher – 44.3%. Never before has this segment registered such an acceleration of investment growth, AgFunder claims.

Particularly, the funding for farm robotics, mechanization, and equipment startups jumped 56% from 2017. On the other hand, novel farming systems registered a 17% drop in deals.

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