2020 AGRIFOOD INVESTMENT TO DATE SHATTERS RECORDS
Aug. 3, 2020
Source: Finistere Ventures news release
Palo Alto, CA - Agrifood venture pioneer Finistere Ventures today released its midyear findings of its ongoing AgriFood Tech Investment Review series. According to Finistere, the start of 2020 turned out to be an extraordinary investment period in both ag and food tech, with the bulk of capital occurring in Q2 in reaction to the global pandemic.
Agtech investment totaled $2.2B for the first two quarters of 2020; almost reaching the record-setting $2.7B raised in all of 2019. Foodtech investment during the same period reached over $4.8B, in contrast to the $7B investment total for 2019.
Developed in collaboration with PitchBook Data, the midyear analysis covers global financing activity across the agtech and foodtech industries and ranks the top startups across the ecosystems. Key findings include:
- Syndicates with dry powder moved quickly to extend the runway for existing portfolio companies with bridge funding or round extensions intended to push drywell (or cash positive) dates out to the end of 2021 and beyond.
- Investors are helping startups push their funding needs outside the "Covid zone" and build more evidence of their value and scalability to entice future growth investors.
- Rounds led by new investors have been a lesser part of the 2020 total, which is likely to continue while capital managers take stock of the market conditions.
- The underlying trend toward growth in capital for the sector continues, aided by a continued growth in new investors gravitating to foodtech in particular.
- The major change in the agtech segment is the increased domination of the crop inputs and input management segment, capturing 60 percent of all agtech funding.
- Animal tech, which captured ~ 7 percent, emerged as an important new agtech category and continued growth is likely.
- The meal kits and delivery category continued to lead the foodtech sector, but alternative proteins displaced e-commerce and rose to the second-place spot.
While early stage agtech saw a decrease in pre-money valuations, valuations for late-stage financings continued to increase in 2020 despite the pandemic. However, mega rounds (>$100M aggregate capital) have continued - with all top ten foodtech deals and half of the top agtech deals fitting the bill. According to the analysis, the top 10 deals by funding size were:
2. Impossible Foods
6. Apeel Sciences
8. Memphis Meats
10. Wolt Enterprises
1. Indigo Agriculture
2. Manus Bio
4. GreenLight Bio
5. Pivot Bio
7. Ginkgo Bioworks
8. Ascus Bioscience
10. MealFood Europe
"While the start of the year provided a massive infusion of capital, agtech companies are likely to face a turbulent outlook for 2021. With farming margins already under pressure prior to Covid, the availability, cost and health of labor, trade conflicts and consumer/voter pressure for sustainability gains all pose meaningful headwinds. The venture investment consequence is likely to be that startups in this space are under a double imperative - to prove their return on investment to farmers and their agronomists that they are essential and will help drive better on-farm profit, while also showing they can scale to profitability," said Arama Kukutai,co-founder and partner at Finistere Ventures.
"In contrast, the foodtech sector, while challenged in foodservice, has some promising tailwinds. In particular, meal solutions and e-commerce grocery startups are benefiting from the move to dining at home. We expect there will be lasting and persistent changes to consumer behavior in at-home consumption; retaining these customers and growing margins will be key to future funding rounds," said Kukutai.
To explore the findings in more detail or to get access to the accompanying charts, please reach out to Finistere.