AgriTech investments hit a total of $22.3 billion last year13 May 2021
Despite the tumult of 2020, investment in the agrifood space soared to $22.3 billion over the year, with Q2 of 2020 seeing $5.9 billion, or more than double the historical average quarterly investment of $2.7 billion, according to a report from Finistere Ventures and PitchBook Data. Funds raised last year accounted for 34% of the total $65.4 billion in investment in the category since 2010.
Such enthusiasm for investment in the space has led to the sector closing out with a 50% compound annual growth rate between 2010 and 2020, and Finistere Ventures co-founder Arama Kukutai said that with the continued interest in how the food sector impacts environmental and social concerns, investment in this space is a “rising tide that shows no sign of slowing in 2021.” Already in 2021, the report noted that agtech has secured $268.2 million in deals.
Last year there were 8,054 unique investors that participated across more than 9,000 transactions in the agrifood space. Foodtech, which includes e-commerce, alternative proteins, and food delivery, was the busiest segment within agrifood, where the compound annual growth rate jumped 152% since 2010 and represented the largest share of capital committed to the category ($10.2 billion) in 2020 alone.
Agtech made up a smaller portion of the market with investments totaling $5 billion in 2020. Within agtech, indoor agriculture and crop protection held leading positions, attracting the largest amount of investment last year. The report pointed to a growing consumer preference for local and fresh produce as the impetus for growth since many people affected by the pandemic had to learn to cook at home more frequently last year.
Many of the investors in agrifood came from non-traditional realms like family offices, large pension and sovereign wealth groups and late-stage PE, but these investors were by and large interested in late-stage startups that had strong revenue on their balance sheets and a foothold in the market. According to the report, 83% of funds in foodtech and 76.6% of funds in agtech went to late-stage companies.
The biggest deals of last year include an $800 million investment in e-commerce company Xingsheng Selected as well as a $660 million investment in Zomato and a $569.6 million investment in Deliveroo, two food delivery platforms. Over on the agtech side, Indigo Agriculture snapped up $500 million in funding and Ynsect took a $371.5 million deal. Indoor agriculture companies Revol Greens and Plenty also took home substantial funds of $203.7 and $315 (over the course of two rounds) respectively.
Going forward, the report noted that companies should continue to focus on climate change and carbon offset efforts as well as consider consumers’ rising interest in corporate governance trends when contemplating late-stage growth and exit opportunities. In foodtech, the report anticipated the market experiencing more investments directly into startups as well as M&A deals with larger companies and initial public offerings on global stock exchanges as companies look to continue their momentum gained in 2020.