26 November, 2020
There is huge potential for technological innovation – from mobile weather-tracking to using sensors to monitor plant health, so that farmers need fewer chemicals – to transform our global food systems, so that food production becomes more sustainable and more effective.
But until recently, the food and agriculture sector has faced relatively low levels of investment compared to others. So much so that, between 2010-2018, a total of just $14 billion was invested in just over a thousand food system start-ups, compared to a whopping $145 billion invested in healthcare start-ups over the same period.
All of this is set to change, though, as this week our friends at Astanor Ventures announced the launch of their $325m fund dedicated entirely to agriculture and food. This will be Europe’s largest fund of its kind to date. The company has already invested in some pretty impressive ventures including vertical farming company, Infarm, which allows sustainable urban agriculture at scale, and insect protein company, Ÿnsect, which breeds insects for use in plant and animal nutrition. With their new fund, Astanor Ventures will continue to invest in 25-30 game-changing start-ups that will help build a food system that is nourishing, regenerative, scalable, trusted and – importantly – produces delicious food for everyone, delivering financial, social and environmental returns.
With estimates suggesting the need for a 70% increase in global food production by 2050 to satisfy demand, it’s essential that we find ways to meet this demand that don’t come at the expense of the planet. So while it’s a long way from digital music (Spotify was an earlier investment of the Astanor founders), we are excited about the game-changing potential of this sector.
By Gemma Coate