Data Snapshot is a regular AFN feature in which we analyze food and agriculture technology investment data provided by our parent company, AgFunder.
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A sneak peek at AgFunder’s upcoming global agrifoodtech investment report shows that investment in Asia-Pacific farm management software, sensing and IoT startups increased 13% in 2022 to $300 million. Up from $285 million in 2021, the category bucks the overall decline in investment seen across agrifoodtech but also more broadly in global venture capital during 2022.
The pullback was evident in the number of deals, however, which was down to 62 from 70 in 2021, according to AgFunder’s Asia-Pacific AgriFoodTech Investment Report.
In the Asia-Pacific, the farm management software segment could be valued at $2 billion by 2028, according to some estimates, catalyzed by increasing demand for food, more need for automation in agriculture and the increasing application of data and cloud computing in farm management.
Farm management software, sensing and IoT systems give farmers insight into where and when to make improvements on their farms. This can be through optimizing inputs, minimizing manual errors, remotely monitoring their operations, recording and tracking data, reducing labor costs, and overall making better management decisions to drive more productivity.
A significant portion of startups in this category serve the aquaculture industry and appear to be catering to booming demand for management and monitoring solutions. FAO estimates that around 90% of global aquaculture production is done in the APAC region. The sector is however undergoing rapid change and uncertainty, resulting in diminishing fish yields, a situation calling for advanced aquaculture management.
Other startups in this category broadly fall under farm management, specifically from India, a country with the second-largest agricultural output in the world. FAO says even though India’s agricultural sector has achieved grain self-sufficiency, it is still very resource intensive which causes stress on resources such as water.
Apart from India, other countries with significant adoption of these technologies like Indonesia, Japan, South Korea and Australia share the same need for efficiency, agricultural digitization, and increased agricultural output.
A look at 2021 data shows that India took a massive lead in investment in the category; Indian startups secured $105.8 million. In second place with $66 million raised was South Korea.
In 2022, Indian startups were still the most active, constituting nearly 50% of deal activity with 23 deals. Raising $83 million in total, India was behind South Korea but only because a single Korean startup raised a whopping $140 million. See below for more details on that deal and others in 2022.
- Country: South Korea
- Founders: Charlie Sanghoon Shin, Scott Sungwoo Choi, Luke Donghyun Ahn
- Amount: $140 million
GreenLabs, still one of the startups to secure a lot of investments in 2021, dominated 2022 investments with its Series C mega-deal which constituted almost half of 2022 APAC investments into farm management software, sensing and IoT.
The Seoul-based startup founded in 2017 provides cloud and AI-enabled data, automation, remote control and farm connectivity solutions. GreenLabs has grown to be a full-stack platform catering to farmers’ needs from production to distribution. It’s other verticals include agricultural construction services, an e-commerce platform, a livestock management platform and supplying carbon reduction solutions.
The Serie C which was led by Hong Kong-based BRV Capital Management with participation from Seoul-based firm SkyLake Incuvest and SK Square of South Korean conglomerate SK Group was to propel the startup’s international expansion.
GreenLabs’ total investments now surpass $200 million, according to the startup. It also claims that one in four farmers in South Korea use its platform.
- Country: India
- Founders: Rajamanohar Somasundaram
- Amount: $15 million
Aquaconnect is a full-stack aquaculture platform founded in 2017 that leverages AI and remote sensing technologies to serve shrimp and fish framers in South East Asia.
With an ISO certification and claiming to have the largest network of fish farmers in the region, the startup’s solutions range from data-driven farm and aquatic health advisory services which are automated, to a farm inputs marketplace, to market linkage provision to embedded fintech solutions.
- Country: Indonesia
- Founders: Arief Witjaksono, Rymax Joehana
- Amount: $14 million
Pitik offers poultry farmers a full-stack farm management and monitoring platform via a mobile app, specifically catering to broiler chicken farmers. The startup which just launched in 2021, also supplies input to the farmer under a buy-now-pay-later model, offers financing to farmers as well as an offtake service.
This Series B round was led by Indonesia’s Alpha JWC Ventures. Existing investors MDI Ventures which is Telkom Indonesia’s corporate VC arm and early stage firm Wavemaker Partners based in the US and Singapore also participated.
The startup is also reportedly one of Indonesia’s largest poultry tech companies, owing to its sale of over 16 million chicken annually.
- Country: India
- Founders: Krishna Kumar, Kunal Prasad
- Amount: $13.7 million
Cropin is a full-stack platform founded in 2010 that caters to various players in the ag value chain ranging from farmers, to processors, to input providers to ag lenders and insurers.
It provides predictive intelligence, management and monitoring solutions for farmers via Cropin Grow, which was recently made available on Amazon Web Services (AWS) Marketplace.
Its other products are Cropin Trace, a farm to fork traceability platform and Cropin Connect, a communication tool for farmers, agribusinesses and field officers.
- Country: India
- Amount: $13 million
MoooFarm offers livestock farmers a digital livestock management platform. It’s other services include linkage to veterinary services, credit and insurance as well as an e-commerce platform for dairy inputs.
- Country: Japan, Singapore
- Founders: Ken Fujiwara, Masahiko Yamada, Takuma Okamoto
- Amount: $9.2 million
Umitron combines machine learning, IoT systems and provide satellite remote sensing to provide remote feeding and monitoring, fish size measurement, mortality estimation and other data services for the aquaculture industry. It also offers consumers a seafood products marketplace.
The startup whose aim is to ‘install sustainable aquaculture on earth’ was founded in 2016 and locked in this pre-series B financing from multiple Japanese corporates who included oil and metals company ENEOS Holdings, QB Capital and product packaging manufacturer Toyo Seikan Group Holdings. The $9.2 million also included debt financing from a variety of financial institutions such as Shoko Chukin Bank.
The financing was to go into international expansion. Its would specifically focus on Southeast Asia due to its huge shrimp farming industry and Chile and Nordic countries which are strong salmon cultivating regions.
Prior to the funding announcement, the startup had launched Umitron Eagle, which was claimed to be the world’s first real-time AI-based analytics solution for the shrimp industry.