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Produce with Apeel's shelf-life preservation coating. Image credit: Apeel

Midstream Tech startups continue to bolster food supply chains navigating uncertain times

August 31, 2022

Data Snapshot is a regular AFN feature analyzing agrifoodtech market investment data provided by our parent company, AgFunder.

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Midstream Tech startups — that is, those operating in the middle of the agrifood value chain — raised $3.8 billion in 2021, just a tad more than the $3.7 billion in 2020, according to AgFunder’s 2022 AgriFoodTech Investment Report.

Tools and services that bolster the food supply chain made up the bulk of funding deals for midstream technologies in 2021. This is unsurprising, given the state of the current supply chain that’s been upended by war, inflation, and pandemic-related breakdowns, and which may continue to be chaotic in the near term.

Midstream Technologies defined

The AgFunder-defined Midstream Tech category includes technologies and services that address the middle of the agrifood value chain. That includes food safety and traceability, logistics and transport, and processing.

As Midstream Tech is in the middle, there’s often quite a bit of overlap with the consumer-facing Downstream category and Upstream companies working closer to the farm or lab. It also encompasses a wide range of technology types.

Top Midstream Tech Deals for 2021:

California-based Apeel Sciences aims to improve the supply chain through its shelf-life enhancing edible coating that’s applied to produce items post-harvest as they travel between growers, suppliers and retailers. In 2021, the company raked in the largest deal for Midstream Tech with its $250 million Series E round of financing. [Disclosure: AgFunder is an investor in Apeel via the latter’s acquisition of ImpactVision.]

Israel’s Wiliot, which makes an IoT platform for supply chain management, tied for second place with Benchling, a cloud-based platform to assist with biotech R&D. Both companies had $200 million deals (Series C and E, respectively) in 2021. Benchling nabbed an additional $100 million in Series F financing at the tail-end of the year.

Other supply chain-focused top deals in 2021 ranged from robotics (Dexterity) to software (FourKites) to procurement, and logistics (Choco, Ninjacart, GudangAda).

Investors backed companies in the US, China, Germany, India, Indonesia, Israel, Kenya, and elsewhere.

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