Agritech is attracting a diverse range of investors. And large funding rounds — FBN raised $110m last year and is now valued at $660m by Pitchbook, a data provider on private companies — are providing the foundation for the first wave of agritech start-ups with the potential to be valued at $1bn.
The single most important reason for this interest is innovation. It is not simply changing agriculture and food production, bringing in more transparency and new products as well as shortening supply chains — it is also offering investors such as SoftBank, Google and sovereign wealth funds a road map they recognise from other industries that have been transformed by technology.
This has provided start-ups with a financial foundation to grow their operations, attract executives from a wide range of sectors, including Silicon Valley, and eventually look to float on the public markets. Coupled with the falling cost of available technology — from data processing to artificial intelligence and storage — it is boosting the firepower of these start-ups.