Agri-Tech is growing up
In agriculture a lot of time is spent waiting for things to mature – fruit to sweeten, grains to fill, vegetables to ripen and livestock to grow up – this month we have seen evidence that agri-tech is growing up.
Raising crops and animals through that crucial development period – providing the best environment for their growth – is usually expensive, hard work, and sometimes stressful.
Nurturing a company through its birth, growing pains and scale-up, is no different – with one of the major goals being that someone else (customers, investors, other businesses) recognises and reward the value you have built in the business. That value hopefully increases as the business matures and attracts more revenues, investment and opportunities, leading to growth and expansion.
Big wins for British agri-tech
This month there have been some big wins for British agri-tech. These successes demonstrate the investment in time and money resulting in several home-grown businesses which are making their mark and showing that UK agri-tech is, indeed, growing up.
Yagro (featured in our REAP Start-Up Showcase in 2015) and Outfield have both revealed major developments this month – Yagro has joined forces with the Frontier Group and Outfield has raised £750,000 in a funding round, while Breedr (Start-Up Showcase 2018) has launched a crowd-funding campaign building on its success to date in the livestock / beef supply chain. Index-based insurance scale-up business Stable (featured in our Weather event March 2020) has also just announced a massive new investment of $46.5m after several years of building global leverage in insurance.
Maturing innovation ecosystem
Although the UK has an impressive track record in R&D and frequently punches above its weight in terms of its research outputs, it is important to show this maturation to build investor confidence and demonstrate a flow of ideas and talent to attract the money – and more talent. And so the circle continues, resulting in a functional innovation ecosystem.
Global investment into agri-tech – particularly farm-focussed technologies (rather than downstream food / consumer-facing businesses) is buoyant despite the pandemic, and investment success is largely a matter of timing. The UK routinely ranks in the top 5 of countries in terms of investment into agri-tech. Capturing the value that has been created is exactly what building a business is about – just like farmers when they sell crops and livestock.
Like agriculture, growing a successful business is a large part of being in the right place at the right time. And waiting for time to pass – while working hard to protect, support and provide the right conditions for growth – is a much about growing a business as it is about running a farm.
Perseverance and resilience, with a dash of innovation and harnessing data driven insights, diversifying when it makes sense, listening to your customers, collaborating where you can and going it alone when you need to.
From individual farm businesses, to agri-tech empowered companies, to an innovation ecosystem. Growing up is not easy, nor should it be taken for granted. As the saying goes – growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional.
REAP 2021: Changing Time(s) for Agriculture – 10th November 2021
Imagine a world where agriculture is not constrained by time. The ability to manage and manipulate time is increasing and REAP 2021 will explore the advances in technology and breakthroughs in science that is making this possible.
REAP brings together people from across the agri-tech ecosystem who believe that innovation is the engine for change. The conference bridges the gap between producer needs and technology solutions and showcases exciting agri-tech start-ups.