$500m raised and counting: Australia’s investment boom in agrifood tech
Australia's growing agrifoodtech sector is being showcased on the international stage with the launch of a report showing investors tipped more than half a billion dollars into Australian startups last year, and a bright outlook for 2022.
The inaugural Asia-Pacific AgriFoodTech Investment Report 2022, launched in Singapore on Tuesday, 25 October by influential venture capital firm AgFunder in partnership with AgriFutures growAG. and evokeAG., shows 55 deals involving Australian startups in 2021 totalling $US 360.4m ($AUD565.5m).
Australia already has a global reputation as an agricultural powerhouse, but it was restaurant technologies and a plant-based protein company that were responsible for the three biggest investment deals of 2021. Melbourne-based mobile ordering and payments platform Mr Yum raised $100m, followed by V2 Foods ($83m), and cloud kitchen startup EatClub ($63m).
AgriFutures Australia Senior Manager growAG., Arianna Sippel, who attended the launch, said the Asia-Pacific AgriFoodTech Investment Report demonstrated the growing maturity of the sector in Australia.
“The investment deals we’ve seen in 2021 spanned everything from eGrocery and in-store retail tech to farm management software and sensing so it shows the diversity of commercial opportunities in Australia,” said Arianna.
"AgriFutures Australia is excited about the growth of investment in Australian agrifood tech and is focused on helping increase investment and collaboration through the growAG. platform and evokeAG. program.
“growAG. makes it easier than ever for startups to list their commercial opportunities and to forge connections across the Australian agritech ecosystem, from researchers and producers to investors and entrepreneurs.”
The platform, which was launched in April 2021, has more than 80,000 users, a third of which are based overseas, and has listed more than 160 commercial opportunities and 2,700 research projects.
One of the featured startups in the Asia-Pacific AgriFoodTech Investment Report, Brisbane-based farm robotics company Lyro, connected with Artesian Ventures via growAG. Lyro reported that the connection helped lead to an investment deal with the VC. Lyro has since raised a further $US1.5m in a pre-Series A round to deliver 20 autonomous robotic packers to its agri-focused clients.
The Asia-Pacific AgriFoodTech Investment Report also indicates the outlook for agrifood tech is bright, despite the deteriorating global economic climate.
Investment in Asia-Pacific agrifood tech startups set a new record in 2021 reaching $US15.2b, with this positive trajectory poised to continue.
While China has experienced a significant pullback in startup funding, the rest of the Asia-Pacific region has recorded a 15% year-on-year increase in the first half of 2022, bucking a global trend.
Farm tech is also maturing with funding in the region reaching $US2.2b in 2021, double the level of 2020, driven by some large, later stage deals as well as a 17.5% uptick in the number of deals year-on-year.
Michael Dean, AgFunder founding partner and Asia-Pacific head said: “Early on we saw the potential of the region, with its booming population growth and emerging centres of technology innovation, as a destination for agrifood tech venture investment. We established our GROW Accelerator and Singapore-based venture impact funds to assist institutional and corporate investors in the region to access the disruptive technologies that have the potential to drive efficiencies, profitability and sustainability for decades to come.”
To explore the latest agrifood innovations and commercial opportunities in Australia head to growag.com or connect in person at evokeAG., the Asia-Pacific’s premier agrifood tech event where farmers share their experiences, startups pitch their potential, scientists showcase their discoveries, global business leaders share their insights and industry experts debate the hottest topics.
Tickets are on sale now for evokeAG. 2023 – Down to Earth, which will be held in Adelaide from February 21-22, 2023.
About AgriFutures Australia
AgriFutures Australia is a research and development corporation funded by the Australian Government and industry to grow the long-term prosperity of Australian rural industries and communities. It conducts research, development, and extension programs for a number of levied and emerging industries and has created the innovative growAG. platform and evokeAG. event and network.
The AgriFutures evokeAG. 2023 Down to Earth event will take place in Adelaide, South Australia on 21-22 February 2023. The evokeAG. 2023 Startup Program, is a prime opportunity for agrifood tech startups to showcase their technologies and products. Applications for evokeAG. Startup Alley, evokeAG. Startup Showcase and the evokeAG. Investor Pitch Dinner close on Sunday, 30 October 2022 at 11.59pm AEDT.
AgriFutures growAG. is an online agrifood innovation marketplace which allows users to explore and connect with relevant expertise, research, and investment opportunities from across Australia’s agrifood innovation system at growag.com. To list a research project, commercialisation opportunity or organisation, please visit growag.com/submit.