March 27, 2017
Corporate investors such as Mitsui, Monsanto, and Syngenta have backed startups improving irrigation, crop spraying, harvesting, and more.
As population growth increases the need to ramp up food production, tech startups are creating a range of agricultural software, services, farming techniques, and more aimed at bringing more data and efficiency to the sector.
We used CB Insights data to identify more than 80 private companies in agriculture tech and categorized them into eight main categories.
We define ag tech as technology that increases the efficiency of farms (in the form of software), sensors, aerial-based data, internet-based distribution channels (marketplaces), and tools for technology-enabled farming. We only include companies that primarily target the agricultural sector.
The breakdown is as follows:
- Farm Management Software: This includes software like that produced by Andreessen Horowitz-backed Granular that allows farmers to more efficiently manage their resources, crop production, farm animals, etc.
- Precision Agriculture and Predictive Data Analytics: These startups include those that focus on using big data and predictive analytics to address farm-related issues and make better farm-related decisions in order to save energy, increase efficiency, optimize herbicide and pesticide application (such as Prospera, which uses machine vision and artificial intelligence), and manage risk, among other uses.
- Sensors: Startups in the sensor category include Arable, which offers smart sensors that collect data and help farmers monitor crop health, weather, and soil quality.
- Animal Data: These companies provide software and hardware specifically aimed at better understanding livestock, from breeding patterns (Connecterra) to genomics (TL Biolabs).
- Robotics and Drones: This category includes drone companies and related drone services that cater to agricultural needs (such as TerrAvion), as well as robots or intelligent farm machines that perform various farm functions more efficiently (such as Blue River Technology, backed by Monsanto Growth Ventures, Syngenta Ventures, and Khosla Ventures, among others).
- Smart Irrigation: These startups, including Hortau, provide systems that help monitor and automate water usage for farms using various data exhausts.
- Next Gen Farms: A growing category of companies that utilize technology to provide alternative farming methods to enable farming in locations and settings that cannot support traditional farming. Examples include AeroFarms for vertical farming and BrightFarms for new greenhouses.
- Marketplaces: These startups offer marketplaces relevant to agriculture by connecting farmers directly to suppliers or consumers without any middlemen. While some are e-commerce platforms, others use tech to facilitate physical marketplaces (La Ruche Qui Dit Oui).
Some companies may overlap with different categories and are grouped according to their main use case.
By CB Insights