As we enter a new decade of agtech, long-standing investors reflect on the ‘heroes’ and ‘villains’ which have characterized investment since the Climate Corp acquisition, what lessons were learned along the way, and what new value-creation can shape the industry moving forward.

If the past 10 years of agtech were a comic, who or what would take on the role of the supervillain, and which one would emerge as the hero?

Kiersten Stead, DCVC BIO

Kiersten Stead, Managing Partner, DCVC BIO: “The supervillain is misleading, unhelpful, marketing of food as “natural”, “non-GMO”, “clean”, or suggesting “processed foods are bad” , higher GHG emitting farming methods-“organic” “biodynamic”. The heroes are new cover crops, nitrogen producing microbes for crops and gene editing to produce never-been-possible-before products and traits.”



Michael Lee, Managing Director, SYNGENTA GROUP VENTURES:  “In the last 10 years, the joke supervillains are agtech SPACs (Scheme for Purposefully Alleviating you of Cash?).

Almighty Dollar, who could make loose change shoot out of his wrists, would be a match given that the average Agtech SPAC share prices are down about 90%. The fade to zero is complete in many and well underway in the remainder.

X-Statix was a group of mutant superheroes who were more preoccupied with becoming rich and famous than doing anything altruistic like saving the world. A match for the SPAC backers.  Finally,

Arm-Fall-Off Boy, who could detach his own arm and use it to beat up villains. Retail investors in SPACs lost an arm and a leg from their 401k, so the comic hero wasn’t quite enough of a loser to match SPAC reality.

As for heroes, any entrepreneur that manages to run the VC gauntlet and get a >1x return deserves praise, at the very least for effort. My second hero would be my former colleague Christine Gould, who has just hung up her boots after ten years as Founder and CEO of Thought For Food. We should all keep an eye on her next step, whatever that might be.”


Mark Brooks, Managing Director, FMC VENTURES: “My supervillain is ScorchedFarm, who exposes the vulnerabilities of modern agriculture in the face of climate change.  He manipulates weather patterns to bring on drought and extreme temperatures, summons pests that are resistant to pesticides, and degrades the soil.  His nemesis is HarvestHero, who’s abilities include advanced biologicals and futuristic farming.  He accelerates plant growth, restores soils, analyses vast amounts of data to make futuristic decisions, and collaborates with farmers and scientists and input providers.  HarvestHero is winning, barely.


Vipula Shukla, Senior Program Officer, Agriculture R&D, THE BILL AND MELINDA GATES FOUNDATION: “The hero is always the progressive, technology-driven farmer/producer who understands what does and does not add value to their operation.  The past 10 years have demonstrated that practical, user-facing tech on the production side can make a difference in what consumers (e.g. anyone who eats!) have available and how much they have to pay for it.  Ag-tech that is smart, innovative and actually improves or increases the quality, productivity or profitability of crop and livestock production will find a market and eager adopters.”

The last 10 years have also shown that, despite being a 15,000 year-old industry, agriculture is still vulnerable to fads and fashion.  If anyone is a villain, it’s the short-term-thinking investors who expect the same kind of inflated valuations, quick returns and high multiples that one sees in other tech fields. Without patience, and patient capital, great innovations and game-changing products don’t have a chance to permeate into the production-ag market, grow market share, and make a difference.”


Sara Olsen, Senior Director of Venture Investments, Agriculture, LEAPS BY BAYER: “It’s easy to vilify uninformed investors for having poured capital into the space – but the real supervillain has been astronomical valuations with no viable paths to exit. If you can’t afford to exit, everyone loses – the founders, the investors, and the incredible science and engineering under development. The heroes are CSOs and CTOs. In an era when there is more scrutiny on the science of growing food than ever before, these technical specialists have been repeatedly tasked with breaking down complex scientific topics into understandable, digestible explanations for their investors, for regulators, and for the average consumer.”

Cristina Rohr, S2G VENTURES

Cristina Rohr, Managing Director, S2G VENTURES: “The average farm generates 500,000 data points daily, which is expected to double by 2025. I don’t know if I would necessarily call this a supervillain, but the issue has become that farmers are drowning in data without the capabilities to analyze it, meaning most data goes unused. Also, if data cannot be synthesized between platforms, it has limited benefit. Today, most data platforms provide granular information to farmers when they need tailored solutions, leading to fields of abandoned tech. The hero would be solutions enabling data interoperability and providing farmers with actionable insights.”


Connie Bowen, Co-Founder, FARMHAND VENTURES: “Supervillains are Tech bros fixing the farm and Evil sidekicks are VCs who throw money at the overvalued companies of these tech bros. Heroes are People who do the work on farms. Hero sidekicks are those who amplify and translate the work of the people feeding us to folks in the tech world.

The antihero to the villainous Climate Change is “Big” Agriculture. All due respect to the small, regenerative/organic/biodynamic+, feel-good farms (genuinely – I believe that we need both), but the large & med scale, industrial, often asset manager owned, employee-operated farms are making the real difference here. Land use change is the thing that matters, and it’s the openness to change that the big guys exhibit that is going to make a dent in agricultural emissions, sequestrations, nutritional yield, and worker well-being.  These groups are rarely the press-worthy feel-good story, and as Taylor Swift so wisely points out, it can be exhausting rooting for the anti-hero. That said, the changes these groups have and hopefully continue to make are going to have the biggest impact on reducing agriculture’s footprint and unlocking its potential in climate change mitigation and resiliency.”

A decade post Climate Corp acquisition, what unexpected truths have surfaced in agtech investing that you wouldn’t have predicted? Who or what was missing from the table that could have reshaped the current landscape, and where do we go from here?

Kiersten Stead, Managing Partner, DCVC BIO: “Farmers don’t like “paying by acre”, incentives are perverse. Big ag consolidation and deleveraging reducing innovation, porous culture of innovation within big companies has been hampered while they focus on other matters”

Michael Lee, Managing Partner, SYNGENTA GROUP VENTURES: “Digital solutions, typically in the form of pretty-coloured maps (PCMs), sat apart from farmers, doesn’t change their world enough to make them pay abundant dollars. Monsanto’s presumed remorse for such an overinflated acquisition price has spread like contagion, and it is likely now a career-limiting move for anyone in corporate M&A to suggest a $1b acquisition of a digital company with next-to-no revenue. Agtechland should take note: buyers are likely not coming to rescue that red bottom line in your start-up.

Further, the median exit valuation of the top ten agtech acquisitions by BLACKJACKS (home-made acronym for machinery OEMs and agchem companies) in the last decade is $300m, which starts to look like a severe cap on the last round valuations of agtech companies, rampantly breached by many. Expect pain.

So where from here? The the more valued companies will tend to be those where the oft-touted hockey stick potential has some kinetic reality in the P&L. The industry needs to think about customer value and capturing it rather than PCMs and data tomfoolery.”

Mark Brooks, Managing Partner, FMC VENTURES: “Underestimation of the impact of data analytics and machine learning in crop protection. What’s missing is more innovation for small holders in emerging markets and more mental health innovation for farmers who continue to be some of highest stressed demographic.”

Vipula Shukla, Senior Program Officer, Agriculture R&D, THE BILL AND MELINDA GATES FOUNDATION: “How hard it is for companies with seriously great technology to exit the venture model, either by acquisition or PE/public transactions. Between operational disruptions from the pandemic and the challenging interest-rate environment and cost-of-capital, it’s understandable that the current investment landscape is more conservative and in hunker-down mode than a few years ago.  As we work towards a more favorable economic environment going forward, it’ll be critical to have investors around the table with a good appreciation of agtech fundamentals, realistic expectations and an enthusiasm for the unique nature of the Ag sector writ large.”

Sara Olsen, Senior Director of Venture Investments, Agriculture, LEAPS BY BAYER: “The unexpected – and frustrating – truth is that it takes a lot of time to develop and mature an agricultural technology. Crops take time to grow. Regulatory approvals are lengthy processes. Gaining market share for a new product or service takes multiple seasons. Much of the industry – from investors to would-be acquirers of technologies – has been in denial about this fact. What the space needs to reshape the current landscape is more patient capital. Ag tech returns can be incredible, but they’re rarely made in a conventionally venture-friendly 3-5 year time span.”

Cristina Rohr, Managing Director, S2G VENTURES: “The agtech business model progression has shifted, particularly regarding the progression towards commercial scale, Previously, agtech companies were acquired before they reached full commercial scale. In this environment, where capital is more constrained, we see an increased focus on unit economics and achieving commercial traction, which could redefine the exit landscape.”

Kieran Mahanty, OTPP

Kieran Mahanty, Investor, Teachers Venture Growth, ONTARIO TEACHERS’ PENSION PLAN: “The farmer/grower was missing from the table. Too many technologies made sense in slide decks but not at the break of dawn in muddy fields. By necessity, farmers are amongst the most entrepreneurial and enterprising groups: agtech should cater much more closely to their needs. In short, find a better route to validating product market fit.”

Connie Bowen, Co-Founder, FARMHAND VENTURES: “We’re still talking about Climate Corp because there have been so few realized unicorns in this space. Let’s stop trying to force agtech companies and investments to fit the Silicon Valley mold, and instead let’s leverage innovative financing to resource solutions for agriculture.

Farmers, farmworkers, women & non-binary people, and people of color have and continue to be massively underrepresented throughout agtech to the detriment of the industry as a whole. Fund these underrepresented groups and empower them to be in positions of leadership in our industry.”

Despite the economic fluctuations, agtech is still finding its feet as a growing tech field. How does its trajectory compare to other industries who have been through the same kind of wild ride at the beginning? Are there any lessons or unexpected insights we can borrow from their playbook?

Kiersten Stead, Managing Partner, DCVC BIO: Ag is overly influenced by the age of (customers) farmers- a generational turnover is likely needed for new technologies in data, software and monitoring to take hold.”

Michael Lee, Managing Director, SYNGENTA GROUP VENTURES: “Despite the same wild ride at the beginning, the outcome is the same. Healthcare investing is superficially the same (chemistry/life sciences/regulators), but this has many cash rich and highly valued prospective corporate buyers, a concentrated customer base in cities, a high value per patient for even incremental improvements, a clear path to de-risking and value creation via clinical trials, and deep investor interest in promising newly public companies. In contrast, agtech has fewer corporate buyers, hard-to-reach distributed customers, all of them growing commodified food at low value per acre and hardly anything going public, and those that do, regretting it. The lesson for agtech is to target only the truly massive addressable markets to offset these downside issues. The rest won’t get paid.”

Mark Brooks, Managing Director, FMC VENTURES: “AgTech is still in its early days.  Its trajectory is unique, but may have some similarities to the renewable energies sector or even automotive sector.  Renewables evolved from a niche market to mainstream, driven by technology advancements and market demands.  Similarly, automotive companies are now evolving from making internal combustion cars to electric vehicles, also driven by tech advancements and market demand.  AgTech has some parallels in that it’s undergoing a transformation, driven by tech and demand especially with a shift to biologicals.”


Sarah Nolet, General Partner, TENACIOUS VENTURES: “In the first iteration of agtech, investors were just finding their feet and there was a lack of confidence in the investment category. As a result, much of the deployment we saw was largely aligned to traditional venture capital paradigms, i.e., a focus on software.

While there have been some notable exits, this approach has struggled because much of agtech is not software. Agtech is intrinsically tied to the physical world. Investments must feature biology, chemistry, and physics. They must deal with seasonal cycles. And ultimately, scale up timelines and exit dynamics will be different.

Today, the agtech industry is gaining confidence to embrace how and why it’s different. There’s less pressure to apply traditional venture capital templates, and more appetite to double down on deep tech solutions, and match them with a capital stack that is sector specific in terms of timeframes and growth profiles.”

Cristina Rohr, Managing Director, S2G VENTURES: “Agtech has, in many ways, seen a trajectory similar to the clean energy sector. The adoption of renewables was slow at first due to considerable barriers from policy regulations to high initial costs, reliability issues, limited access to financing, limited public awareness and support, and the need to reimagine our electrical grid. However, the last decade has seen an acceleration in the adoption of clean energy. Falling costs due to positive feedback loops have been the most significant factor in increased deployment. Policy support has also been crucial, as have creative financing mechanisms. And education and public awareness have substantially increased demand for things like solar panels and electric vehicles. Similarly, agtech adoption should improve substantially with cost reductions, and increased collaboration between companies, government bodies, and investors will improve financing opportunities, policy support, and market penetration.”

Adam Bergman, CITI

Adam Bergman, Global Head of AgTech Investment Banking, CITI: “Like the internet; renewable energy, electric vehicles and energy storage, (together “CleanTech”), the AgTech sector is experiencing growing pains.  One thing they have in common is that they received significant public interest, which caused them to be “overhyped”, leading to an overabundance of capital investment at unsustainable valuations. Unsurprisingly, the AgTech sector is learning about the downsides of being a media darling that has underperformed as investment dries up, and questions about the sector’s long-term viability are raised.  However, like with the internet and CleanTech, reports of the death of AgTech are greatly exaggerated. This is because the mega trends underpinning the need for innovation throughout the food & agriculture sector, including: increasing food insecurity; the need to develop a more sustainable food system; and consumer focus on health and wellness, have become more pressing as time continues. The challenging capital markets that AgTech companies are facing today, are similar to what the internet sector faced after the internet bubble burst in 2001 and CleanTech experienced following the Great Recession in 2010. Internet companies realized they needed to quickly pivot their business models from pushing topline growth to profitability. CleanTech companies were forced to do the same more than a decade ago when that sector fell out of favor.  In both instances, a number of high-profile bankruptcies resulted, but winners ultimately emerged, with the familiar names of Google, Tesla, and SunPower.

My advice to AgTech companies is that they must follow a similar strategy to ensure their survival as the current bleak financing market shows no sign of improving as we head into 2024. On the positive, there is no shortage of capital interest in investing into the AgTech sector, as investors see an opportunity to disrupt the highly inefficient food & agriculture sector. However, investors have changed how they evaluate companies, with profitability and capital efficiency having replaced hype and hope. The next two years are going to be difficult for most AgTech companies, but at the same time, the challenges to the food system will only continue to worsen. Companies that can build viable and economically sustainable businesses during that time will be well positioned once capital markets re-open.”

Connie Bowen, Co-Founder, FARMHAND VENTURES: “The customer matters most, and therefore ag(tech) matters for more than (ag)tech. Industries tend not to last if they don’t have a clear understanding of their customer base.” That said, here’s a fun industry to compare to – the hearing aid (HA) industry. The HA industry is severely broken, particularly in the US. There have been several efforts to disrupt the industry, from big tech players with hearables to audio players to startups, but none of them could have worked in the US. Until now. Last year, as the US finally passed the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act, which very much opens up how hearing aids are sold. Furthermore, Medicare health insurance plans are finally starting to include HA coverage – in 2024.

Bringing it back to ag – I think we’ll see a similar dynamic play out in “carbon markets” – offsetting wont really work until policy sets clear guidelines. It can kind-of work, and it might even be true that it must work, but the timing of the policy that begins to unlock that is everything, and it is the companies in the MRV and project who can manage to be alive and healthy at that time who will capitalize. (And, if the policy isn’t right, well….)

The trick then becomes building and backing companies that are positioned to survive the hard times while influencing policy, in order to ultimately ride the tailwinds inspired by said policy change, which isn’t easy”

Hadar Sutovsky, ICL PLANET

Hadar Sutovsky, VP External Innovation of ICL Group & GM, ICL PLANET: “Companies have been on a rollercoaster for the past few years as the pandemic, soaring commodity prices, high interest rates and political disruption have resulted in good profits for many and bankruptcy for a few. Geopolitical risks, particularly the impacts of war are affecting international investment strategies. The global venture capital showed decline in 2023 in deal number it also suffered from decreased valuations, slower investment pace and increased bridge rounds, with the same trajectory in Agtech, but still the sector showed positive improvement QoQ in deal values and valuations. Over 2023, the venture capital industry experienced an influx of new investment firms, indicating healthy market dynamics. We wish to see this trend manifest itself in the agtech investment ecosystem, since having more investors onboard will increase competition and diversify investment options.”

Looking ahead to 2024, where do you see the most promising opportunities – what technological advancements, market niches or create tech solutions that will capture attention and drive growth in the sector?

Kiersten Stead, Manging Partner, DCVC BIO: “Enhancing labour with automation that will transform how growers operate, leisure time and ability to scale, and a new stealth company we are incubating in ag biotech!”

Michael Lee, Managing Director, SYNGENTA GROUP VENTURES: “Munger said a key part of investing is “trying to be consistently not stupid, instead of trying to be very intelligent”. Here that means avoiding situations which require lots of time, capex or energy, such as that other ten-year bonfire of cash, vertical farms, whose business model is to lavish cheap dollars on greenhouse capex and burning the lights 24/7, while outside, the sunshine is free. Avoid small molecule chemistry or germplasm, where the timelines to getting regulatory approval/scale up/revenues are pharma in length, but farmer in value. Avoid relying on a business model which needs a rainbow and a magical pot of gold (a lavish license agreement from BigAg) when the reality is it’s an oligopoly of buyers with very tight purse strings on a small wallet.

Our recent bets are faster to revenue, such as in fintech, which get money into farmers’ hands so they can more easily invest in their farm, or in e-commerce, which allow farmers to access inputs or markets more readily.”

Mark Brooks, Managing Director, FMC VENTURES: “Opportunity abounds in anything that will help a farmer become more profitable.  This includes the use of AI/ML to derive farm-level or even plant-level insights, FinTech to enable better access to capital and pricing transparency, automation that alleviates labor challenges while delivering higher precision, and biologicals that deliver equal or better control than synthetics in a cheaper and more sustainable way.”

Sarah Nolet, General Partner, TENACIOUS VENTURES: “To date, much of the climate conversation in agri-food has focused on decarbonization. While this is massively important, there’s also an urgent opportunity – to invest in adaptation and resilience solutions along the value chain. We expect this to be an investment priority in 2024 and beyond, especially as the impacts of climate change on agriculture and food become ever more apparent.”

Vipula Shukla, Senior Program Officer, Agriculture R&D, THE BILL AND MELINDA GATES FOUNDATION: “There’s obviously been a lot of interest and attention (as well as anxiety and trepidation) around generative AI and LLMs this past year. I think, in 2024, the real opportunity for this tech is in how it’s used for R&D – better modelling, predictions and data interrogation to enable the design and creation of Ag products.  We’re already seeing some of this in the genetics and chemistry domains.  No one can replace a creative innovator and the ideas they generate, but real AI and ML can make their jobs easier, faster and a lot more fun!  I hope we’re going to see a new wave of ideation and useful, novel technology developed with these tools.”

Sara Olsen, Senior Director of Venture Investments, Agriculture, LEAPS BY BAYER: “The reality of a changed climate is taking center stage and entrepreneurs are responding with creativity. A great example is Oerth Bio’s work to develop PROTACs that will help crops manage through environmental stressors without losing yield. Another exciting area is the development of crops that are currently seen as niche into high yielding, resilient, high-value cash crops the way NuCicer is doing with the once-humble chickpea.

Cristina Rohr, Managing Director, S2G VENTURES: “One of the most promising opportunities is the broader integration of AI into commercialized agricultural technologies and across the food supply chain. These technologies and their applications and implications are just beginning to emerge, but they offer a powerful toolkit to accelerate breakthrough solutions and increase value generation. Also driven by AI, agricultural robots have become substantially more capable over the last few years, being used in diverse settings, providing them with more robust experiences from which to derive data. For example, S2G portfolio company Burro has expanded its collaborative robots into new use cases to include scouting and surveillance. Lastly, there is a significant opportunity for alternative crop protection solutions due to increased regulations and price volatility. For example, New Leaf Symbiotics uses microbial inoculants to make crops more resistant to pests. Companies that can translate these advances into clear value for farmers while showing profitability will drive growth in the sector.”

Kieran Mahanty, Investor, Teachers Venture Growth, ONTARIO TEACHERS’ PENSION PLAN: “I look for no brainers: genetics that protect against threatening diseases, biologicals that improve efficacy and avoid negative impacts on human and animal health, precision tools that allow expensive products to be used only where needed, solutions that avoid wastage in the supply chain”

Adam Bergman, Head of Global AgTech Investment Banking, CITI: At the start of 2023, there were hopes that the challenging investment environment experienced throughout 2022 would improve and the financial markets would rebound. However, despite a few positives, like an improved IPO market and the Dow Jones Industrial Average hitting an all-time high at the end of 2023, the investment climate for earlier-stage private companies remained challenging. As we enter 2024, activity is expected to accelerate as companies look to raise capital in advance of the upcoming president election. Although the capital markets outlook will remain gloomy for most AgTech companies in 2024, there is optimism for those companies that can generate commercial revenue, achieve positive unit economics and inch closer to EBITDA. Additionally, the mega trends underpinning the need for innovation throughout the food & agriculture sector, including: increasing food insecurity; the need to develop a more sustainable food system; and consumer focus on health and wellness, have only become more pressing over the past couple of years. This will keep a few areas in the spotlight this coming year: advanced irrigation, Ag BioTech; alternative proteins; automation & robotics; digital agriculture; and indoor farming.

Water was a prominent issue at COP28, including being the subject of a symposium co-hosted by the UN World Food Programme and Citi on the nexus of food, water, and climate change. Farmers are being forced to implement more efficient water irrigation technologies given the decrease in freshwater availability, prices rising and regulators becoming more active. However, the two primary  constraints to mass adoption are that water remains highly subsidized in many parts of the world; and drip and other advanced irrigation technologies are expensive, and financing is a challenge for smallholder farmers globally. As water resources decline and costs rise, pressure will increase throughout the food & agriculture supply chain, including on lenders and insurance providers to provide upfront financing so that farmers can implement more efficient irrigation technologies.

The Ag BioTech sector is benefiting both from regulatory changes and technology improvements that are making biologicals and bio-stimulants more cost competitive and effective. Brazil is a good example of a market that has embraced the adoption of these products and had success. There is optimism that in other regions, like Europe, regulatory changes involving these products, will have a positive impact. CRISPR also received a boost recently when a cell-based gene therapy for the treatment of sickle cell disease became the first FDA-approved product utilizing CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing technology. Even though it is in the medical field, this success should provide a boost for investment in companies utilizing CRISPR in animal and plant genetics as the regulatory landscape looks more favorable.

After rapid growth from 2019 – 2021, alternative protein consumption plateaued during the past couple of years as consumers grew disenchanted with plant-based products, following complaints of  inferior taste, limited nutritional value and higher price. As new products hit supermarket shelves, including those made through precision fermentation and using mycelium, along with improved plant-based formulations, consumers will have better product options and demand is expected to increase. In addition, whereas most of the first generation of alternative proteins (mainly burgers and sausages) were sold directly to consumers, many of the next generation companies are selling their products directly to consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies as ingredients that are mixed into existing products, providing not only better taste, texture or a more environmentally sustainable product, but also more consistency of availability, quality, and pricing for CPG companies.

Another issue for the food & agriculture sector is labor availability. Automation & robotics remains the most viable solution, which is being introduced on farms, especially with permanent and specialty crops, which remain more labor intensive. In addition to automation & robotics, there is a growing demand for farm electric vehicles (EVs) which, when coupled with a  growing incentive for supporting energy transition in different countries, implies that electrification on the farm is expected to accelerate.

Agriculture is one of the least digitized sectors of the economy. However, that is about to change. With more sensors and robotics on the farm, the ability to implement platform technologies that can drive positive return on investment (ROI) will quicken. Although farmers often are hesitant to implement new, expensive technologies, for fear they won’t in fact help their bottom line, many of the digital technologies available today, including artificial intelligence (AI), data analytics, and machine learning (ML), are used effectively in numerous other sectors of the economy and have shown instantaneous ROI for users. Farmers will be able to implement these technologies to drive profitability as their margins continue to get squeezed.

The indoor farming sector experienced a very difficult 2023 with several high-profile bankruptcies.  Despite much negative press, we are seeing the emergence of industry leaders, who have a proven business model and are poised to achieve profitability. Those companies that survive will be able to grow more rapidly, with access to less expensive capital, either bank debt, mezzanine finance or project debt & equity.  The indoor farming sector also is poised to benefit from an expanding product portfolio to move beyond leafy greens and tomatoes to higher prices berries and specialty ingredients.

The agriculture sector is making strides in adopting technology. As we enter 2024, these innovations will continue to gain more acceptance as their use increases and efficacy improves. Each year, more technology arrives on the farm and, as more of these products show an improved ROI, they are likely to become more widespread. The mega trends underpinning the AgTech sector show no sign of abating, and the adoption of technologies created to take advantage of inefficiencies in this sector will continue to accelerate. Profitability will be a key focus for investors. For those companies that have achieved profitability, growth capital will be available and at a much more reasonable cost. Even as capital markets improve in the coming years, the new reality for AgTech companies will be prioritizing profitability over revenue growth to demonstrate long-term economic viability.

Connie Bowen, Co-Founder, FARMHAND VENTURES: “Labor is the biggest problem in agriculture and the existing crisis will only worsen. There will continue to be a drive towards automation, but it’s the simpler robotics solutions that will gain the most traction on farms, fastest, providing the pathway to actually enable the promise of “precision agriculture.” Further, it’s the solutions that are designed with and for the folks doing the work (think collaborative robots) that will really get traction.

I’m also excited to see increased experimentation and transparency around agtech financing & resourcing mechanisms. I think we can and, with the right leadership, will start to see similarly experimental and transparent reporting amongst commodity groups and extension orgs conducting time trials and other quantifiable comparisons of existing technologies, enabling us to more efficiently solve problems in agriculture.

I hope that we continue to see leadership share learnings and mistakes so that we can all move together towards actual solutions for our agrifood systems.”

Hadar Sutovsky, VP External Innovation of ICL Group & GM, ICL PLANET:Regenerative Agriculture innovation: Innovative technologies, business models and novel practices that are enabling the transition to regenerative agriculture to support specific regenerative agriculture goals or methods such as soil health and carbon sequestration or cover crops. Technologies such as robotic soil sampling and biological fertilizers, or market-based solutions such as carbon removal marketplaces and ecosystem service payment schemes leveraging technology and data to provide innovative financial solutions. Integration of AI: As a general trend AI retains its position as the most promising area for technology innovation, with generative AI expected to disrupt and create unicorns. Integrating AI as a key technology in discovering and developing innovative compounds could save nearly 70% of discovery costs and significantly shortening time to market. Remote Sensing – MRV & Carbon markets: MRV is referred to by the World Bank as the cornerstone of the carbon market, the better the monitoring, reporting and verification processes and systems are the easier it will become for countries to shift to decarbonization pathways as well as meet their sustainability goals. However, carbon market remains small, as measuring soil carbon levels and fluctuations over time is complex and challenging, physical sampling is expensive and time-consuming, emerging technologies like satellite imaging, remote sensing, and AI modelling can support a more accurate understanding of soil carbon stocks in a faster, more scalable, and more cost-effective way. These advances in MRV technologies are creating opportunities in carbon markets, connecting the ‘supply’ of sequestered soil carbon to the ‘demand’ for offsets and insets by ensuring that carbon farming practices achieve verifiable results.”

Join us at the World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit this March to hear investors, tech providers and policymakers take a closer look at the venture capital outlook moving forward, and exciting technologies shaping these investments. Don’t miss out, secure your place today.