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The Rappi team, from www.rappi.com

Agri-FoodTech is global: here’s a list of the top 15 deals outside the US in 2019

March 12, 2020

The US still dominates investment in the agri-foodtech space, with 44% of all fundings last year taking place in the country. But while deal numbers and investment value actually decreased Stateside compared to 2018, other geographies picked up the slack – with one non-US startup banking 2019’s biggest funding across the sector.

According to AgFunder’s Agri-FoodTech Funding Report 2019, the US saw 653 agri-foodtech deals last year, worth a total $8.7 billion. This represented a year-on-year decrease in both deal numbers and overall investment value.

Meanwhile, markets in Asia Pacific, Africa, and Latin America grew to offset the States’ slight slowdown.

Colombia, the UK, the Netherlands, Spain, and South Korea were among the top risers when it came to investment in dollar terms. Countries including Japan, India, Mexico, Kenya, and Singapore saw an increase in the number of deals.

Colombia’s placement is skewed by local on-demand delivery app Rappi, which raised $1 billion in a Softbank-led round last April.


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China and India remain the biggest agri-foodtech investment markets outside the US. China clocked $3.2 billion in investment across 181 deals last year, with India notching up $1.3 billion across 152 deals. Investment value was down for both countries compared to 2018, though India saw an increase in the number of deals.

Here are the top 15 non-US fundings of 2019 (note that Spain’s Glovo had two funding rounds during the year, both of which place in the top 15 by deal value). Of the 15 ex-US deals, five involve Chinese startups:

    • Rappi (Colombia) – This Bogota-based Y Combinator grad offers on-demand delivery for food, groceries, and other categories across South America. Its $1 billion Softbank-led raise in April 2019 was the largest ever VC round in Latin America, as well as the year’s largest recorded agri-foodtech funding globally. It hasn’t all been plain sailing for Rappi, however; the startup reportedly laid off several hundred staff earlier this year.
    • MissFresh Ecommerce (China) – Tencent-backed MissFresh sells groceries through its app and delivers them direct to buyers. It also counts Goldman Sachs, Tiger Global, and computer and mobile device maker Lenovo among its earlier investors.
    • Deliveroo (UK) – The London-based food delivery service banked $575 million from Amazon in June 2019, in what some observers see as a precursory move towards an acquisition. However, the deal is currently under the regulatory spotlight in the UK.
    • Glovo (Spain) – Barcelona’s Glovo provides on-demand delivery within 60 minutes in several European and Hispanophone countries. A $169 million Series D led by Switzerland’s Lakestar in April 2019 was quickly followed by a $167 million Series E last December, co-led by an affiliate of UAE sovereign fund Mubadala. Both deals make it onto AFN’s top 15 ex-US fundings list for the year.
    • Yipin Fresh (China) – Launched in 2013, tech-enabled supermarket Yipin focuses on selling fresh food. A $298 million investment led by Tencent last March is targeted at developing the chain’s ‘smart retail’ offering to bring more tech solutions into its store. Meituan-Dianping affiliate Longzhu Capital also joined the round.
    • Picnic (Netherlands) – This Amsterdam-based startup has revived the ‘milkman’ concept, delivering fresh groceries to customers’ doorsteps using electric vehicles. Its November Series C round saw it rake in $275 million from existing investors NPM Capital, De Hoge Dennen, Hoyberg, and Finci.
    • Ubox (China) – Beijing’s Ubox operates internet-connected vending machines, allowing consumers to buy and collect items using their mobile devices. It raised $225 million in August 2019 from fintech giant Ant Financial and Primavera Capital Group.
    • Grofers (India) – This online grocer raised $220 million in 2019 from investors including Softbank’s Vision Fund, Tiger Global, KTB Ventures, and Sequoia Capital.
    • Benlai (China) – Based in Beijing, Benlai is an ecommerce portal specialising in fresh produce. It raised $200 million in a round led by Mingde Holdings, which is also majority shareholder of Shenzhen-based logistics firm SF Express.
    • Furong Xingsheng (China) – Hailing from Fujian province, this network of community-focused convenience stores scored $200 million in funding from US private equity giant KKR in September 2019. This followed a $46 million capital injection from Tencent in May.
    • Iwoca (UK) – Iwoca provides credit lines to small businesses, including several in the food and agriculture segments. It received $168 million in debt financing from NIBC Bank in February last year.
    • Loggi (Brazil) – Sao Paolo’s Loggi is deploying its tech to improve shipping logistics across wholesale food delivery, ecommerce, and courier services. In June, it landed $150 million from high-profile investors including Softbank, Microsoft, and GGV Capital.
    • Bigbasket (India) – With May’s $150 million investment from Alibaba, CDC Group, and Mirae Asset-Naver Asia Growth Fund, online grocer and food delivery app Bigbasket entered the billion-dollar startup club. It’s competing in India’s fierce on-demand market with the likes of Walmart-owned Flipkart, US behemoth Amazon, and rival local unicorn Swiggy.
    • Wolt (Finland) – Helsinki-based Wolt offers on-demand food delivery services across 19 countries. In June it raised $130 million in a round led by California’s Iconiq Capital to fund further international expansion.

Download the full report here for more insights.

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