Australian AgTech: opportunities and challenges as seen from a US venture capital perspective

Agriculture Innovation Foreign investment United States of America Australia

Innovation in agricultural technologies, or AgTech, is rapidly changing the world’s least digitised industry.5 Unprecedented global investment in AgTech reflects this growth, having quintupled from US$309M in 2013 to US$1.5b in 2017.

The implications of these changes for Australia are immense. While Australia’s venture capital market has expanded substantially in recent years — having doubled in total size from 2016 to 2017 alone — it invests dramatically less in AgTech on a per capita basis than most developed nations like the United States, where per capita investment in AgTech is nearly 50 times the size of Australia’s.

Australian agriculture is expected to make further inroads into export markets around the world and become a A$100 billion industry by 2030 — matching the country’s mining and construction sectors — but these ambitions cannot be met without further AgTech investment.

This report, the first of its kind, analyses the volume, value, and makeup of AgTech investment in Australia. It puts it in the context of the United States and provides insight into both how AgTech is developing as a new sub-industry and the broader venture capital market in Australia.

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