The UK and Europe are leading the way for global agritech investments, having received nearly £81 billion from over 1,700 investors, according to a new report.
The report has highlighted that global investment in agritech is growing, almost doubling to £100 billion between January 2020 and January 2021.
Since 2000 – when worldwide investment stood at less than £1 billion – companies headquartered in the UK and mainland Europe have attracted over 43% of global investment in agritech.
These 564 companies have received nearly £81 billion from over 1,700 investors.
The importance of agritech has been recognised by the UK government. At a recent conference in the US, Defra Secretary Thérèse Coffey said: “It is through science, innovation and technology that our farming industry will continue to be sustainable.”
Looking at the UK’s ambitions, Innovate UK comes joint top globally for the number of agritech companies invested in, tying with Horizon 2020 and SVG Venture-THRIVE.
It is also the number one investor in Europe, highlighting the UK’s impact on the sector.
The report on agritech investment was created by IP specialists GovGrant, to discover the global hotspots attracting capital to the sector.
The UK specialises in indoor farming and animal agritech, which accounts for around 40%of its investment, whereas in Europe or globally, they make up under 10%.
With significant expertise in these areas, the report says there is 'great potential' for UK growth and differentiation in indoor farming and animal agritech.
Indoor farming involves components, systems and growers that are all focused on farming indoors, including tech contributing to vertical farming, aquaponics and hydroponics.
London-based Vertical Future raised the largest-ever series A investment for a European indoor farming company: £21 million, which included participation from SFC Capital.
Adam Simmonds, research associate at GovGrant, said the rise in UK agritech investment in recent years was 'nothing short of remarkable'.
"As the world faces surging food demand, it’s also becoming increasingly urgent to curb emissions from food production," he explained.
"This combination of factors only makes the case for agritech more compelling, so we can expect even more investment."
Mr Simmonds said venture capital would account for most of the early investment, particularly for agritech startups.
"Then, private equity investors will come on board to help thriving companies grow," he added.
And as agritech becomes ever more vital and goes more mainstream, many agri-tech companies will be listed on stock exchanges.
"It all points to more-than-healthy growth for the sector," Mr Simmonds said, adding that in the UK, indoor farming would be at the forefront.
The UK's Fresh Produce Consortium are running an agritech-focused event on 16 March 2023 at the East of England Arena and Events Centre, Peterborough. FPC Future will showcase all that is possible by embracing agritech innovation, with live demos and expert speakers throughout the day. Click here to register for your free place.