By 2050, our meals system might want to present for an estimated 9.7bn individuals. Add to that the menace that local weather change poses to our meals safety, and it’s clear that agriculture must adapt, quick.
Regardless of this urgency, agritech has largely remained a distinct segment focus, with VC funding into European agritech startups at $726m this yr. That dwindles compared to a sector like healthtech, which introduced in $15.5bn this yr.
And but, early successes are stoking buyers’ consideration. These embrace the sector’s first unicorn, vertical farming startup Infarm, in addition to insect farming startup InnovaFeed, which raised a €140m Collection C final yr.
With the sector choosing up steam, Sifted requested 4 agritech-focused VCs which startups are on their radar. The one catch: they couldn’t nominate firms from their portfolios.
Laetitia de Panafieu, funding principal at Astanor Ventures
Belgium-based Astanor Ventures launched its $325m fund final yr, Europe’s largest targeted on agriculture and meals. They help startups in Europe and North America. Portfolio firms embrace Ynsect, Infarm and Notpla.
Neofarm — France
Neofarm offers “turnkey farms” to companions, that are based mostly on ideas of regenerative agriculture to provide native, natural greens. The startup takes care of the farms’ set up and upkeep and offers software program to handle and partially automate farming processes. CEO and cofounder Alexia is a task mannequin for feminine entrepreneurship within the agritech sector and a part of the Sista affiliation, which promotes feminine entrepreneurship.
Neoplants — France
Though 90% of our time is spent indoors, indoor air air pollution is 5x greater than outside air air pollution as a result of unstable natural compounds (VOCs). Neoplants is growing crops which are bioengineered to get rid of air air pollution at dramatically elevated ranges. The duo of founders has a powerful technical and enterprise background and an formidable imaginative and prescient for development in a class that they’re constructing themselves. We love how the corporate is discovering elegant methods to resolve a big downside by way of “crops with a function”.
FA Bio — UK
At the moment, 2.5% of worldwide greenhouse gasoline emissions will be instantly attributed to artificial fertilisers. FA Bio makes use of a novel focused sampling technique to gather microbial isolates from agricultural fields and examine their potential to be developed into superior bioproducts. On this means, the startup helps uncover microbial biofertilisers and biofungicides that might enhance agricultural productiveness while enhancing soil well being. FA Bio founders Àngela and Kerry are extraordinarily impact-driven, and creatively enhance our understanding of the relationships between microbes and crops to contribute to the safety of our pure ecosystems.
EV Biotech — Netherlands
EV Biotech creates microbial cell factories (MCFs) for the commercial manufacturing of high-value chemical substances and proteins. Utilizing digital modelling, the startup determines best genetic adjustments with the very best compound yield for higher growth effectivity. All of that is made attainable by an exceptionally interdisciplinary and various workforce with completely different technical backgrounds working collectively in the direction of a typical objective.
Daniëlla Vellinga, affiliate director at Rabo Meals & Agri Innovation Fund
The Rabo Meals & Agri Innovation Fund was launched by Rabobank to spend money on meals and agriculture startups in Western Europe, Israel and the US from seed to Collection B. The fund has invested in startups similar to 30MHz, Saga Robotics and InnovoPro.
The businesses listed with an * are usually not portfolio firms of the Rabo Meals & Agri Innovation Fund, however have partnerships with the fund via different initiatives together with its Carbon Farming initiative and Foodbytes! Pitch 2021 programme.
Sencrop — France
Sencrop has the most important community of proprietary native climate stations in Europe, which give dependable and ultra-local information to farmers by way of an app. With climate circumstances turning into extra excessive and unpredictable because of local weather change, the startup permits farmers to anticipate climate circumstances early on and streamline their farming operations to spice up productiveness and cut back prices.
Hummingbird Applied sciences* — UK
Hummingbird Applied sciences is an imagery analytics supplier. Utilizing AI to analyse information inputs on soil and climate circumstances, the startup offers a data-driven software which farmers can use to make choices about their crop manufacturing. Examples embrace predicting yields, figuring out areas in want of fertiliser in addition to crop rotations, doubtlessly permitting farmers to maneuver in the direction of regenerative agricultural practices extra simply.
Protealis — Belgium
The choice protein craze continues, with increasingly shoppers recognising the necessity to shift their consumption patterns. Producers of meat and milk options want plant protein enter and are more and more searching for options to soy. On this context, legume crops are rising as a key piece of the puzzle.
Protealis develops seeds and seed know-how for legume crops, together with new varieties which are tailored to native circumstances and worthwhile for the farmer to help native sourcing and optimum seed high quality. Aside from the immense alternative for different protein functions, legumes cut back the necessity for fertilisation and enhance soil well being as they’ll repair their very own nitrogen. Rising extra legume crops in Europe will due to this fact be good for farmers and for the setting.
Greeneye Know-how* — Israel
Because of present broadcast spraying practices, weeds are growing resistance to herbicides, threatening meals manufacturing. Utilizing machine studying and AI, Greeneye has developed a know-how that integrates into any agriculture sprayer. This permits farmers to optimise spraying by making use of pesticides with nice precision and in real-time, and determine and battle herbicide resistant weeds.
Mathias Brink Lorenz, funding supervisor agrifood at Rockstart
Rockstart is a world accelerator and VC investing throughout agriculture and meals, power and rising applied sciences. Portfolio firms embrace Past Leather-based Supplies, Råhandel and MyCrops.
Plantlab — Netherlands
Plantlab has developed proprietary “Plant Manufacturing Models”: indoor farms for rising produce regionally in optimum rising circumstances. We love that their manufacturing setup has a powerful IP angle, they usually have established a stable distribution mannequin.
Chromologics — Denmark
Chromologics makes pure colourants utilizing a non-GMO fermentation course of, thereby providing a substitute for typical pure colourants extracted from fruit and greens. They’re deeply rooted within the Danish tech ecosystem and their proprietary fermentation course of represents an actual innovation within the foodtech sector.
Fieldsense — Denmark
Fieldsense makes climate stations for farmers to help hyper-local climate forecasts and inform choices on farming operations. Because of its sturdy workforce and stable IP, the startup has developed a distribution mannequin with good community results.
Christian Guba, affiliate at FoodLabs
FoodLabs is an early-stage, Berlin-based VC investing in meals, well being and sustainability startups. Portfolio firms embrace Formo, Mushlabs and Gorillas.
Glaia — UK
Glaia has developed a non-GMO biostimulant (fertiliser) that improves crops’ photosynthesis effectivity and considerably enhances their yields. This biostimulant makes use of a carbon nanomaterial generally present in nature and quite a lot of meals and drinks to boost crops’ pure traits and assist higher utilise present land. CEO David Benito has a PhD in natural chemistry and is passionate concerning the subject.
FarmInsect — Germany
The price of soy and fishmeal have risen dramatically and are linked to deforestation and overfishing. On the identical time, insect feed usually must be shipped over lengthy distances, resulting in elevated costs and carbon footprints.
FarmInsect offers a turnkey resolution together with equipment and larvae so farmers can produce their very own insect feed with quite low effort. This helps set up a extra resilient, decentralised, and sustainable agriculture business beginning with aquafeed.
Sincere AgTech — Netherlands
Sincere AgTech is a robotics startup for greenhouses. The corporate has developed a proprietary working system for his or her robots, which assist with monitoring, deleafing, harvesting, and pruning tomatoes. This addresses each the shortage of automation and labour shortages in greenhouses, which act as a bottleneck for scaling.
Founder and CEO Renji John combines enterprise and engineering experience as an ex-BCG marketing consultant and mechanical engineer, and leads a really sturdy workforce of engineers based mostly within the Netherlands, the “greenhouse” of Europe.
Amelie Bahr is Sifted’s intelligence analyst.