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Biomilq founders
Biomilq founders Leila Strickland (L) and Michelle Egger (R). Photo credit: Biomilq

Bioreactor breastmilk, farm tech, and (of course) Covid-19: AFN’s top 20 stories in H1 2020

August 24, 2020

By popular demand and given the unprecedented nature of the first six months of the year, AgFunder released its H1 2020 investment review last week. As might be expected, the half-year report showed that the continuing Covid-19 pandemic has impacted venture funding in the agrifoodtech space; though for many players in select verticals such as eGrocery, Innovative Foods, and Midstream Technologies, that impact appears to have been largely positive as consumer habits and supply chains change in light of the global crisis.

In keeping with the mid-year theme, we decided to take a look at AFN‘s top stories and readership stats for H1 2020. It won’t come as much of a surprise to learn that, as with the report, Covid-19 was one of the main topics of interest for AFN readers between the start of January and the beginning of July.

But it wasn’t all about the pandemic. AFN‘s most-read article in H1 2020 was our report on a breakthrough at Biomilq – a US startup that’s culturing human breastmilk in bioreactors.

Co-founders (and moms) Michelle Egger and Leila Strickland revealed in February that their team had successfully cultured samples containing casein and lactose, the key protein and sugar components in human milk.

“[Breastfeeding is] unrealistic for most and impossible for many,” the duo told AFN, explaining the value proposition behind Biomilq.

“Whether it’s low milk production, incompatible workplaces, or the ongoing stigma around breastfeeding in public, families feed infant formula out of necessity rather than preference [and] they want an option that doesn’t force a trade-off between babies’ nutrition and mothers’ wellbeing.”

Another particular theme of interest was farm tech, with a market heatmap, AgFunder’s dedicated investment report, and several upstream startup fundings making the top 20 articles.

Here are the top 20 most-read stories by unique page views on AFN from H1 2020:

1. These two women are taking the ‘breast’ out of breastmilk

2. Farm tech market map: Why it’s time to distinguish farm tech from the messy supply chain

3. Syngenta leads Series A for WeedOut to commercialize first species-specific biological herbicide

4. Meet the FoodTech 500’s top 10 startups powering the food revolution

5. 2020 predictions from agrifoodtech’s leading VCs

6. India’s answer to vertical farming raises $5.5m Series A

7. Ag robotics startup Tortuga comes out of stealth with Tesla co-founder Tarpenning on board

8. Amazon for ag? Agrofy closes $23m Series B in LatAm’s largest-ever agtech deal

9. Indigo Ag closes $200m convertible & debt round with FedEx, a potential buyer of Indigo Carbon credits

10. Covid-19 is accelerating inevitable food trends but which changes will stick?

11. A quick look at the impact of Covid-19 on fresh produce and ag commodity prices

12. What if we viewed ranches as national parks instead of simply places to produce meat?

13. Fly, my pretties! NextProtein closes $11.2m Series A to scale up insect production in Tunisia

14. Why is no one talking about agriculture as a solution to climate change?

15. Unfazed by Covid-19, Infarm arrives InJapan and InCanada

16. Farm tech investment up 370% in 6 years. How will Covid-19 impact 2020 trends?

17. From AgFunder with love: Global agrifoodtech funding reaches $19.8bn in 2019

18. Agtech acquisition alert! Israel’s ICL acquires Growers to boost digital offering

19. Solinftec raises $60m as the Amazon of LatAm leads record-breaking Series B

20. 2019 was a breakout year for alternative protein startups. What’s in store for 2020?

Looking at readership numbers, AFN was visited by 540,794 users in H1 2020, up 24% from 435,039 in H2 2019.

The top 10 countries over the six-month period, in descending order by number of users, were the US, India, the UK, Canada, Australia, Singapore, Germany, the Netherlands, France, and Brazil.

The top 10 cities by users were London (UK), New York (US), Chicago (US), Singapore (Singapore), Bengaluru (India), Sydney (Australia), Hyderabad (India), San Francisco (US), Mumbai (India), and Los Angeles (US).

The US continues to be AFN‘s leading source of readers, accounting for 39% of users during H1 2020. But its share of the total has declined since H2 2019 as we have added new readers from other parts of the world. The biggest growth in users during the period came from Asia (up 52% on H2 2019), Africa (+42%), and Oceania (+37%).

The team here at AFN is thrilled to see our global community of agrifoodtech aficionados continuing to grow. A big thank you to all our readers — wherever you are in the world!

Got a news tip? Email me at [email protected]

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