We’re gonna be in a world of hurt if we don’t act quickly to head off the global food shortage.
It’s startups like this one which give me faith we’re not all doomed.
Crop yields increase 10-20% and farmers see a significant reduction of input costs (ie. water).
Why is it so important?
Rapid population growth and shrinking water resources are adding mouths at a pace not sustainable under our current farming practices.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) projects that we need to increase our current production by 70 percent to accommodate 2050s global population of 9.1 billion people.
But it’ll take more than this one startup to make the change we need.
And if you want to help make the change by supporting startups focusing on this problem…
Enter the World of AgTech
AgTech, or Agricultural Technology, refers to disruptive startups in the field of agriculture.
This space solves problems related to farming and uses innovative technology to make food production cheaper, faster, safer, and more efficient.
We just added one such startup to our private deal flow (watch them pitch us here).
This vertical is relatively new. Ten years ago, no one knew what AgTech was or why it mattered. Even the scientists and entrepreneurs who were advancing the field didn’t have a name for it.
But today, its practices and innovations are widely known and have become a hot topic. You’d be hard-pressed to find an investor who doesn’t know at least a little about the industry.
Trust me, this is a big deal. Over the past five years, around $6.7 billion was invested into AgTech startups. Big players like GV, Softbank, and the Investment Corporation of Dubai are all backers.
There is loads of opportunity here — we are dealing with something that is picking up momentum fast.
And as more and more consumers realize the problems with our food system, and more entrepreneurs see the potential in solving them, we’ll sit back and watch AgTech become the next big thing.
The thing that makes AgTech different is the necessity behind it.
Sometimes the driving force behind an industry is the desire for shiny new things — but the driving force behind AgTech is survival.
The universally touted goals of society are to achieve world peace and end world hunger. While PeaceTech may take some more time, AgTech is the legitimate answer to fix hunger across the globe.
Here’s the problem — experts predict that by 2050 the world’s population will be around 9.1 billion. And to feed the many hungry mouths, we may need to more-than double global food production.
Unfortunately, we aren’t currently on track to meet this goal.
Salvation lies in the hands of today’s AgTech startups. Food innovations made today will have a lasting impact on our economy and will save countless lives.
And the best part is — it doesn’t take a miracle to fix our food problems.
One of the simplest and most effective steps is to tweak farming and make it more efficient.
Rather than planting more seeds or inventing new tools, AgTech extracts everything it can from current land and infrastructure.
The key to this is data analysis and monitoring techniques. Everything from machine-learning, to big data, and robotics are being used.
Moving forward, we will also see major innovations that change agriculture as we know it. We are already watching the developments in groundbreaking techniques like vertical farming, aeroponics, and aquaculture.
These fields will continue to evolve and entirely new ones will be made.
Luckily, these food-ideas don’t need to be shoved down the throats of consumers — they’re already hungry for them!
People want cleaner food — the demand is there. They want food that is both safe for their bodies and safe for the environment.
Amazon’s acquisition of health-food giant Whole Foods is a big wakeup call.
Organic, fairtrade, eco-friendly, made with recycled materials, and the rest, are not going away.
The call to arms by health advocates and environmentalists alike have been heard.
And this is a great thing for startups and investors. The entire food system is hungry for better food, safer methods, and alternative products.
Here are some of the most interesting innovative startups making waves in AgTech today.
1. Biome Makers
This AgData startup has developed the first machine learning system for using microbiome information to make smarter decisions.
A microbiome is basically the microscopic ecosystem of bacteria and fungi that exist in the soil. A better understanding of the microbiome leads to smarter farming and improved soil health.
Not everyone knows this, but soil quality is degrading. Improper farming techniques leave soil that is depleted of essential nutrients and minerals. Startups like Biome Makers are bringing new technology to the table that can help to fix the situation.
Since its founding in 2015, Biome Makers has raised $6.4 million in funding.
Imagine if businesses and individuals could grow their own produce, without needing a green thumb or extensive knowledge?
With Smallhold, this is a reality.
Smallhold makes automated, modular, remotely-managed growing systems and sells them in a subscription service.
These growing units are monitored and controlled by Smallhold. They produce herbs, leafy greens, and organic mushrooms — up to 120 lbs per week with a footprint the size of a bookcase.
Restaurants and retailers can use these units to bring food closer to the customer and reduce their supply chain.
Smallhold has raised $3.7 million in funding so far.
Put simply, Vence is the future of fencing.
Livestock farmers spend considerable time and effort placing and moving fences to allow the animals to graze. Since the dawn of animal husbandry, people have been fencing.
Now, there is an alternative. With Vence, you can remotely and automatically control the grazing of their animals with a virtual fence.
Each animal wears a sound-emitting device. Based on the farmer’s desired area for the animals and using GPS, noise guides the animals and prevents them from crossing the virtual fence.
Additionally, the device takes vital health information from the animals and sends it to your phone.
To date, Vence has raised $2.8 million in funding.
4. LettUs Grow
LettUs Grow is an innovator in aeroponic technology.
Normally, plants are grown in soil. In hydroponics, plants are grown entirely in water. And now, with aeroponics, plants can be grown in air.
The plant’s roots are suspended in a nutrient-dense mist. Using this innovative method, plant growth rates go up as much as 70%! And that’s with a 95% reduction in water usage.
Water use comes up frequently as a serious agricultural problem. Around 70% of all freshwater is used for agriculture.
With aeroponics, and the work being done at LettUs Grow, we could reduce water usage across a variety of crops.
LettUs Grow has earned around $4.16 million in seed funding.
AgTech is still young, but it is already a gamechanger.
Funding in the space has skyrocketed, and AgTech is now on the portfolios of some of the largest VC firms and angel investors in the world.
The thing that gives me the most confidence here is that the demand comes from real necessity.
We don’t need to gamble on whether this vertical is going to boom, we know 100% that it needs to. It’s really a matter of life and death.
Despite the gravity of the situation, things are looking optimistic. With the number of brilliant minds at work on our food problems, change is coming quickly.
AgTech is really a fun and profitable vertical for angel investors, and I strongly recommend that you keep your eyes peeled on it.
The Next Step
Startups like the ones you just learned about are looking for investors today.
You can gain access to professionally vetted startup deals in the AgTech space by joining Angel Investing Insider.
One of the most important things an angel investor can have is deal flow. And when you join this community, you get startup opportunities straight from our team of experienced investors.
When we put our name behind a startup, that means we really believe in what they are doing and are willing to bet on their success.
Additionally, all Angel Investing Insider members gain access to a library of educational content. Videos, lessons, and classes will teach you everything you need to know about seed investing.
Then you will be able to brainstorm with other angel investors, including seasoned veterans, who are all a part of our community.
This is how the modern angel investor operates — with the best team, the best tools, and the best resources.