*updated to provide full Q214 report.
Corporate and venture capital investors have increased their exposure to the agriculture sector during the second quarter of the year, according to i3, part of the Clean Tech Group.
Some 45 deals by VC firms and corporates raised nearly $350 million mark in the three months to June 30, 2014, as agtech becomes a more visible asset class for investors, according to Andy Ziolkowski, managing director at Cultivian Sandbox Ventures, a VC firm focused on agriculture and food technology companies.
“We have seen more money coming in from institutional venture capital firms as well as the strategic firms. Generalist funds are also investing much more in the sector,” he told Agri Investor.
Macro economic trends are also impacting the appeal of agtech to investors. “I think people believe that food demand will continue to increase and that’s what is drawing them to the agtech sector,” said Ziolkowski. “It’s certainly something we believe at our firm.”
The results show the agtech investment market has recovered from lows in the fourth quarter of 2013 when under $100 million was raised and compared to the second quarter of last year, when under $300 million was raised.
Deal examples include Invested Development, an impact investment firm which invested in Kenyan company iProcure from its $20 million BSP fund in June this year; and Blue River Technology, an agri robotics and software firm, raised $10 million in a Series A round led by Data Collective Venture Capital, a big data-focused investment firm, alongside Khosla Ventures, the California based VC firm.