March 6, 2018 / 11:42 PM / 4 months ago

Global ag tech startup investments rise 29 percent in 2017 -study

March 6 (Reuters) -

* Global agriculture and food technology startups received a record $10.1 billion in investments in 2017, up 29 percent from 2016, according to an annual report from food and agriculture investment platform AgFunder.

* The number of deals fell 17 percent to 994 as investors made larger bets on fewer companies, the data showed.

* The year featured DowDuPont’s $300 million purchase of farm management software company Granular and Deere & Co’s $305 million deal for ag robotics company Blue River Technology. They were the two largest ag tech acquisitions since Monsanto Co’s nearly $1 billion purchase of Climate Corporation in 2013, AgFunder said.

* eGrocery businesses, the largest category in the annual survey, raised $2.4 billion in 2017, up 96 percent from the previous year. The category includes grocery shopping and delivery service Instacart and Chinese startups MissFresh and Yiugo.

* Ag biotechnology investments fell 11 percent to $670 million, but included large deals. Microbial seed treatment company Indigo raised $203 million, the largest farm tech deal to date, AgFunder said.

* Investments in novel farming systems jumped 233 percent to $652 million. The category included 15 deals in the cannabis space, a $200 million funding round by indoor farming company Plenty Inc and a $50 million investment in insect farming startup Protix Biosystems.

* The median deal size of agrifood deals was $2 million, up from $1.2 million in 2016. (Reporting by Karl Plume in Chicago Editing by Tom Brown)

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