Alternative protein gets plenty of limelight in the agri-foodtech arena nowadays. But there are startups from outside the “fake meat” craze that are having just as big an impact on the global ecosystem.
Agribusiness marketplaces are one such category, seeking to bring greater efficiency to the agrifood supply chain both upstream and downstream of the farmer.
They connect growers and livestock rearers with resources like machinery, financing, and agronomic support at one end, and marketing and sales at the other.
Some focus on specific areas, such as insurance or supplying restaurants. Others seek to provide a holistic, centralised service incorporating pretty much everything from buying seeds and offering cash advances to farmers during the growing season, to managing distribution and logistics once their produce is ready to go to market.
According to AgFunder’s Agri-FoodTech Funding Report 2019, startups in this category pulled in $786 million of funding last year – or 4% of total investment in the agri-foodtech space.
Much of that funding went to Asian startups, underlining the importance that tech-driven ag marketplaces are playing in the region. Of the top 20 investments, six went to Chinese companies, with two going to Indian startups and one to a Japanese outfit.
Here are the top 20 ag marketplace fundings of 2019, in descending order from the largest recorded round according to AgFunder data (note that the second-largest deal, worth $150 million, involved an undisclosed startup and is not listed here):