Big money and big ideas as global venture capitalists talk investment in agrifood
Billions of dollars and decades of experience in venture capital come together as five leading global investors talk agrifood tech – and their outlook is bright.
evokeAG. 2023 set the scene for this high-powered discussion about what’s impacting agrifood tech investment.
“When I got started in 2013, there were not a lot of people doing what we’re doing,” said pioneering venture capitalist and Chair of FoodShot Global Victor Friedberg.
“We couldn’t fill a small room, let alone a convention centre,” jokes Managing Partner of Anterra Capital Adam Anders.
Fast forward ten years and Victor’s track record includes leading investment in three agrifood unicorns and Adam’s venture capital fund is focused on innovation that’s transforming the safety, security, and sustainability of global food.
It’s not often you get some of the top thought-leaders in agrifood investment together on the one stage but the panel at evokeAG. 2023 delivered in spades with insight from across the globe.
Panel facilitator Ethy Levy, Managing Partner of Israeli-based venture capital fund, Kinneret Impact Ventures said, “Our panel may come from different regions of the world, but we all share a passion for technology, disruption, agriculture, food and sustainability.”
Plenty of upside despite pandemic, war and market instability
Ethy’s an impact investor and entrepreneur whose held senior roles with the Israeli government focusing on international trade, innovation and investments.
She asked about the effects of recent global disruptions like COVID-19, global conflict, and instability in capital markets on their investment plans.
“It’s been positive from our perspective, as it is so much easier to invest from Australia,” said the Managing Partner of Tenacious Ventures, Matthew Pryor.
“Despite the tailwinds around the reconfiguration of supply chains, manufacturing, farm inputs and concerns about the availability of food, growing acceptance of remote working has been to our advantage.”
For Adam early concerns that COVID-19 would lead to disruption on the scale of the global financial crisis were eased when he realised that technology was one way to make the food system work better, at lower cost, and more sustainably.
“Amid these global challenges, and volatility, the past two years have created opportunities for tech entrepreneurs and companies around the world,” Adam said.
“There has been less funding and more headwinds in tech markets generally, but in agtech, we have a positive advantage for now.”
Ethy was also upbeat about agrifood investment, “In Israel in 2022 we saw a 48 per cent decrease in investment in general, but the only sector that kept the same level of investment was the agrifood sector, so that’s very positive.”
Disruption brings new opportunity
Global investment firm Temasek has invested in 30 startups across the global agrifood chain that improve food security and increase food system sustainability.
Its Head of Agri-Food Anuj Maheshwari believes the last two years have seen huge changes, as consumers and farmers have gone online to buy groceries and farm inputs.
“This acceleration in digitisation by buying online will help us to become far more efficient,” he said.
Consumers have also developed a better understanding of the fragility of the food chain.
“Before the pandemic, consumers thought of food as a given, but the pandemic showed them that the food sector is fragile so things can only improve if the food chain is more efficient,” Anuj said.
Anuj Maheshwari, Matthew Pryor, Adam Anders and Victor Friedberg took part in a panel discussion hosted by Ethy Levy at evokeAG. 2023.
Early bird tickets are now on sale for evokeAG. 2024 to be held on 20-21 February 2024 in Perth, Western Australia. Following a sell-out event in 2023 we are encouraging delegates to secure their tickets, flights and accommodation early.
We look forward to seeing you in Perth for evokeAG. 2024, in the meantime, catch up on the other conversations about sustainability, climate resilience and the role of agtech in meeting those challenges from evokeAG. 2023 here.