The kinds of venture capital investments that made Silicon Valley into a tech powerhouse are becoming involved with agriculture and food, which saw investments increase by 54% to $486 million last year, according to Dow Jones VentureSource. While the investments are small compared to pure tech, agriculture is becoming the forefront of a lot of innovation, from data collection tools to ways of making the supply chain more transparent, reported The Wall Street Journal.
Companies are looking into new ways to farm, such as using precise data to make better informed decisions and indoor farming methods that allow crops to be grown in urban areas through densely packed hydroponics systems. Keeping an eye on the consumer side, more and more ventures are looking into alternative foods that offer more sustainable possibilities than some traditional methods.
Major agribusinesses are making their own marks on the trend, expanding their investment units to get in on the ground floor, reported The Wall Street Journal. Companies such as Bayer, Monsanto and Syngenta are investing in up-and-coming companies and technologies to stay on the forefront and look for ideas outside the capabilities of their in-house research teams.