Twenty Seventeen has been quite the year for the agrifood technology startup scene, with some of the largest funding announcements on record. And we’ve been pretty busy at AgFunderNews too, nearly doubling our member and subscriber base to 55,000 and posting over 450 original articles.Over 45 of these articles were written by our amazing network of expert contributors, and four of the top 10 most-read articles were written by a guest author, including the year’s most read article.
(Would you like to be a contributor to AgFunderNews in 2018? Email [email protected].)
Here’s a look at the year’s 10 best read stories:
Written by Joseph Byrum, ex-senior R&D and strategic marketing executive in Life Sciences – Global Product Development, Innovation, and Delivery at Syngenta, this article laid out some of the key challenges in building AI tools for agriculture. In a year where artificial intelligence became an essential buzzword for many startups trying to raise funding, Byrum offered some necessary caution in how this technology is applied to agriculture.
Just as agtech investors were getting desperate at the lack of exits in the industry, two big deals closed at the end of the summer including the acquisition of Granular by DuPont. AgFunderNews staff writer Emma Cosgrove was the first to reveal the size of the transaction and spoke with Sid Gorman, the CEO, and DuPont vice president, strategic service and planning John Chrosniak about the deal.
Returning to the top 10 for a second year running, this story aims to help agriculture researchers and entrepreneurs find financial support in the early days. We hope it led to some grants for our readers!
Created by venture development organization TechAccel for exclusive publication in AgFunderNews, and published just a few weeks ago, this market map offers insights into the various different categories of ag biotech. A meaty guest contribution from Brett Morris of TechAccel.
For a young nation built on the collectivist agricultural ethos of the Kibbutz movement, it’s perhaps no surprise that Israel’s agricultural technology startup ecosystem is booming. In this market map, another exclusive publication in AgFunderNews, Israeli NGO Start-Up Nation Central and Greensoil Investments, a local agritech venture capital firm, pull together and categorize Israel’s growing agritech ecosystem.
Hemendra Mathur, agribusiness investment lead and venture partner at Bharat Innovations Fund, a new $150 million early-stage fund in 2017 with a focus on agtech, cleantech, health-tech and enterprise-tech ventures, is a regular guest contributor in AgFunderNews.
One of the biggest news stories for agrifood tech in 2017, Plenty’s record-breaking fundraising announcement hit the mainstream media globally as the vertical farming group came out of stealth with a whopper of an investment from Japanese banking group SoftBank. We spoke to CEO Matt Barnard about the deal and company’s plans.
Indoor agriculture has always captured the imagination of our readers and so articles about the category tend to perform well, particularly when they involve big names. AeroFarms, the New Jersey-based vertical farm, is one of the first in the US and most mature, attracting investment from a diverse pool of investors including Ikea, David Chang, ADM Capital’s new growth stage agriculture-focused Cibus Fund, and global asset management firm Alliance Bernstein.
One of the biggest deals of the year and certainly the largest ever for an indoor farming group, Plenty, the Californian vertical farming startup, came out lof stealth to raise $200 million. At the time this was the largest ever farm tech funding; microbial crop inputs startup Indigo surpassed it later in the year with a $203 million Series D. Plenty’s record raise included Japan’s SoftBank investing out of its $93 billion Vision Fund and confirmed the company’s global ambitions. (Listen to our recent podcast with CEO Matt Barnard here.)
The well-documented potential for drones to revolutionize agriculture reached fever pitch in 2015. But since then, their efficacy in agriculture has been called into question. In this in-depth feature, we look at the next wave of drone technologies hitting the sector and how they are looking to solve some of the main painpoints felt by farmers and their advisors in deploying the technology.