Europe has Surpassed the U.S. in Backing Ag-focused Startups

In an update posted today at The Wall Street Journal Online, Christopher Zinsli noted that, “After some ups and downs last year, global investment in agricultural technologies is back on track.

World-wide venture investment in the sector surpassed $684.8 million across at least 74 rounds through Aug. 6, according to Dow Jones VentureSource. This puts the sector on track to beat last year’s record of $1.09 billion raised across 95 rounds.

The U.S. still takes the lion’s share of capital, with $455.7 million going to ag startups there so far this year. But Europe is seeing a resurgence: There were 27 European ag deals through Aug. 6, compared with 26 in the U.S.”

The Journal item noted that, “In large measure, this is a result of the continent’s top-down strategy of supporting its ag startups. Government-backed funds, such as Hungary’s Hiventures, are among the most active investors in the sector this year.

“Meanwhile, Finistere Ventures has made two investments from ag-focused funds it manages that are backed by Ireland’s sovereign development fund, according to a spokeswoman. The deals haven’t been announced.”

Today’s Journal update added that, “Europe’s newly increased pace shows what can happen when a small sector gains a collection of dedicated investors. The U.S. ag sector has largely lacked this critical mass of investors. The governments of Europe appear to be happy to play this role there.”

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