AgFunder put together a list of the agrifoodtech companies that raised the most venture capital funding this year. As they note in their report, Covid-19 made it a difficult year for many but agrifoodtech still attracted a substantial amount of investment as both new pain points and opportunities emerged. For example, “E-commerce and restaurant tech saw steady deal flow…as companies clamored for new ways to get their products into hungry, quarantined consumers’ hands.”
The list below includes the agrifoodtech companies that attracted the highest investment dollars last year. I’ve tried to group them by “type” as best as possible to get a better understanding of where in this broad space that money is flowing. Within those groups, they are listed by total funding, highest to lowest. I also noted each companies ranking out of all 20 included. Keep in mind, the funding numbers AgFunder has compiled are preliminary and based on publicly disclosed records as of December 30, 2020. The full report is HERE.
Alternative Protein Products:
Impossible Foods (US), #2 at $700 million –The alternative meat maker raised $500 million from predominantly Asian investors in March as it eyed expansion in the region. It completed an additional $200 million raise later in the year, led by New York’s Coatue Management.
Ÿnsect (France), #11 at $224 million —The mechanized mealworm farming startup raised $224 million in October as part of an ongoing Series C round, the first close of which was announced in February 2019. Ÿnsect’s total capital raised to date stands at $425 million, which the startup claims is more than the total amount raised by rest of the insect protein sector globally.
Memphis Meats (US), #13 at $161 million —The cell-cultured animal protein startup raised $161 million for its January Series B round, which was co-led by SoftBank, Temasek, and Norwest and saw celebrity tycoons Bill Gates, Kimball Musk, and Richard Branson hop on board too.
Zomato (India), #3 at $660 million – With plans to go public in the first half of 2021, the food delivery unicorn has raised at least $660 million this year — including a $52 million injection from US-based Kora Investments in October — as part of an ongoing Series J funding round.
DoorDash (US), #5 (tied) at $400 million — Food delivery services like DoorDash saw a boon of business thanks to the pandemic and shelter-in-place orders. In June, the company closed a $400 million equity financing that valued it at $16 billion, prior to its $71 billion IPO in December.
Swiggy (India), #14 at $156 million —This food delivery unicorn has raised at least $156 million in Series I funding during 2020, across multiple tranches – in much the same manner as archrival Zomato (see above.) This includes a $43 million injection from Samsung, Tencent, and Mirae Asset in April.
Kopi Kenangan (Indonesia), #18 at $109 million — This “grab and go” coffee chain’s app enables customers to pre-order coffee for collection at their nearest branch. The company raised $109 million in its Sequoia Capital-led Series B round in May. It’s also backed by celebrity investors including hip hop mogul Jay-Z and tennis player Serena Williams.
MissFresh (China), #1 at $801 million –This company operates a series of mini-warehouses close to delivery areas, promising grocery deliveries within 30 minutes. In July, the e-grocer announced a $495 million round from investors including Tencent and Goldman Sachs. It closed out the year with another $306 million round in December from Chinese state-linked funds.
Dingdong Maicai (China), #6 at $300 million —This e-commerce platform for fresh produce closed a $300 million venture round led by General Atlantic that valued it at $2 billion. Dingdong reported a 14% boost in user activity in January as Covid-19 took hold in China.
Instacart (US), #10 at $225 million — At a valuation of $13.7 billion, this grocery delivery startup raised $225 million in a round led by DST Global and General Catalyst to ramp up operations and advertising amid a surge in pandemic-related demand.
Tongcheng Life (China), #12 at $200 million — A group-buying platform that offers fresh produce directly from farmers, Tongcheng Life closed a $200 million Series C in June led by major players in the region, including livestreaming app developer Joyy.
Market Kurly (South Korea), #15 at $150 million — This next-day delivery app for fresh groceries raised $150 million to build out its fulfillment capabilities and customer base, but left the round open. It is using the funding to build a new fulfillment center and expand its cold chain capabilities.
Restaurant Management: Toast (US), #5 (tied) at $400 million — Restaurant and retail tech saw a huge boost of interest as consumers sought out new and ‘contactless’ ways to order food. Restaurant management and point-of-sale platform Toast raised a $400 million Series F amid what it called “tremendous” growth.
Food/Grocery Services: Berkshire Grey (US), #8 at $263 million —At the start of the year, this robotics and AI startup announced a $263 million Series B financing. It company offers retail, e-commerce, and fulfillment automation services.
Food Packaging/Distribution Tech: Apeel Sciences (US), #7 at $280 million —This startup is hoping to reduce food waste with its stickers and packaging that extend produce shelf life. It added star names like Oprah and Katy Perry — as well as Singapore sovereign fund GIC — to its cap table in a May funding round worth $250 million, following that up with a $30 million injection from the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation and other investors in October. I should also mention, RWDC Industries (Singapore), #16 at $133 million — With facilities in Georgia, US, as well as Southeast Asia, RWDC raised $133 million in its May Series B financing. It’s seeking to replace single-use plastics in food retail, foodservice, and other industries with biodegradable, biopolymer-based materials that it produces through microbial fermentation of plant-based oils and sugars.
AgTech: Samsara Networks (US), #5 (tied) at $400 million — The industrial IoT startup, which provides sensor and networking tech for supply chain and other contexts, raised $400 million in funding and outlined a detailed plan for how it intended to cope with Covid-19 – including layoffs.
Biotech: GreenLight Biosciences (US), #17 at $119 million — This biotech startup (and AgFunder portfolio company) is working on applications of RNA-based solutions in contexts such as crop protection. It raised $119 million across back-to-back rounds after shifting some of its focus to work on Covid-19 vaccines.
Agribusiness: Farmers Business Network (US), #9 at $250 million — The online agribusiness marketplace announced it had raised $250 million in Series F funding in August, with asset management giant BlackRock leading the round. 2020 also saw the startup expand to Australia with its acquisition of Perth-based counterpart Farmsave in July.
Farm Services: Indigo (US), #4 at $560 million –Offering a range of ag services including farm input and carbon credits marketplaces, this self-described “five startups in one” had a busy year in funding terms. It closed a $200 million debt round with FedEx and Pacific Western Bank in January 2020, and announced a $360 million Series F equity round in August 2020.