Judging by the interest of venture capital firms, the “agtech” sector is poised for major growth. Why? Major companies and startups are always looking for ways of creating more efficient, profitable and sustainable farming operations.
Agtech is simultaneously a powerful way to grapple with the effects of climate change on traditional agriculture, as well as addressing supply chain disruptions that have been caused by the pandemic and global conflicts.
What is Agtech?
Agtech is being employed by numerous major industries including food, textile production, cannabis and pharma, and has sparked the development of several new business areas, including:
- Vertical or urban farms that make use of soilless farming techniques such as hydroponics, aquaponics, and aeroponics.
- Meat alternatives, synthetic and lab-grown meats.
- Sustainable fish farms.
- Aps that rely on data analysis and/or AI that can inform production schedules.
- E-commerce technology that can address supply chain issues.
As you might imagine, all this growth is posing unique challenges for agtech firms and the venture companies that back them in terms of hiring qualified executives who can:
- Successfully apply data-driven technologies to existing agricultural operations and supply chains
- Oversee growth in an emerging field
- Hire the operational and managerial staff needed to scale
Venture firms are betting big on Agtech
Crunchbase reported that $5 billion invested in the agtech sector in 2021, in 440 funding deals to VC-backed startups, outpacing the $3.3 billion invested in 422 deals in 2020.
Venture capital is also pouring into the “vertical farming” sector, totaling nearly $1.2 billion worldwide in 2021, and over $800 million this year, according to Pitchbook.
Examples of High Growth Firms in the Agtech and Vertical Farming Sector
Some of the most exciting new companies in the ag tech sector are using technology to create sustainable growing opportunities in urban environments. Consider:
- Aerofarm: Based in Newark, New Jersey, Aerofarm is 70,000 square-foot facility built in a former steel mill and is the largest indoor vertical farm in the world based on annual growing capacity. Capable of growing two million pounds of leafy greens per year, Aerofarm also has a functioning farm in the dining hall of the Phillips Academy Charter School in Newark.
- Gotham Greens has grown from a 15,000 square-foot greenhouse in Greenpoint, Brooklyn to numerous greenhouses across the United States. In 2020 Gotham Greens raised $87 million series D funding round led by Colorado VC Manna Tree with participation from Florida real estate and private equity investor The Silverman Group, bringing the fast-growing company’s total financing to $130 million.
- Brooklyn Grange is a 5.6-acre organic urban rooftop farming operation in New York City encompassing 140,000 square feet of space, making it the largest rooftop farm in New York City and one capable of growing 80,000 pounds of organic vegetables per year.
How We Assist Agtech Firms in Recruiting Talented Candidates
We here at ACCUR Recruiting Services had experience in recruiting for fields like tobacco and cannabis, where seasoned executives are well positioned for roles in these emerging businesses. Further, we have experience in the following areas:
- Working with venture capital firms to recruit executives who can lead growth or turnaround in existing companies
- Hiring growth-minded executives in sales, marketing and revenue roles
- Successfully matching experienced executives from Fortune 500 backgrounds to emerging companies
Need Help Finding an Agtech Executive?
Contact us for more information.
Edouard Thoumyre is a seasoned executive recruiter with over 17 years of experience in executive search, as the Founder and Managing Partner of ACCUR Recruiting Services. Specializing in the Consumer and Luxury Goods industries, he has a proven track record of placing senior level and C-level executives in family, private equity-backed, and Fortune 500 companies in the beauty, wine & spirits, watch & jewelry, home goods, and tobacco industries, among others. Edouard Thoumyre holds a master’s degree in Entrepreneurship from HEC Paris (#1 European Business School, Financial Times rankings) and a master’s degree in industrial engineering from Centrale Lille (a top 10 French engineering school). ACCUR Recruiting Services has been recognized as a Forbes Top 100 executive search firm since 2018.
Edouard Thoumyre and his firm, ACCUR Recruiting Services, have been featured in numerous publications such as WWD, Business Insider, Newsweek, CPG Specialist, Yahoo Finance, Nasdaq.com, Marketplace by NPR, Business of Fashion…