Australian agtech attracts global investors’ attention at World Innovation Summit

19 Apr 2018

An Austrade-led agtech mission to the US has helped position Australia as an exciting source of agtech innovation for investment and commercial collaboration.

The 2018 World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit (20-21 March) in San Francisco brought together experts from around the world to focus on agtech commercialisation, share best practice and identify opportunities for investment and strategic partnerships.

The Australian mission to the global summit comprised 19 organisations – nine companies and 10 industry and research organisations including CSIRO, universities, rural development corporations, a cooperative research centre, startup accelerators and a think tank.

Austrade and CSIRO both sponsored the summit. During an Austrade Australian Innovation–themed breakfast sponsored by CSIRO, the research organisation announced a new Memorandum of Understanding with Finistere Ventures, a US agtech VC fund.

Three Australian companies won innovation awards sponsored by AgFunder, an online VC platform based out of San Francisco, which invests in leading agtech companies:

  • AgriDigital in the Supply Chain category: Most Innovative International Startup Series A and Beyond
  • The Yield in the Farm Tech category: Most Innovative International Startup Series A and Beyond
  • SmartShepherd in the Farm Tech category: Most Innovative International Startup Pre-Series A

‘Australian agtech companies attracted attention from investors and organisations from Europe, Japan, the US and Latin America, and clearly punched above their weight in visibility and innovation,’ says Anne Maree Weston, Austrade’s Senior Investment Specialist in Agribusiness and Food. ‘The global opportunities in food and agtech are substantial – the realisation of these opportunities will benefit existing Australian producers by delivering continued growth in on-farm productivity, and create a new industry category with significant trade and investment opportunities.’

During 2017–18, the Australian Government is investing A$10.3 billion in research and experimental development. Australia’s R&D expenditure places it among the world’s leading innovative countries, including the US, Japan, Germany and South Korea. Australia’s gross R&D expenditure has increased on average by 8.5 per cent a year in real terms since 2000, well above the OECD average growth rate of 4.8 per cent.

The Australian Farm Institute filmed a short video podcast of Australian perspectives during the Summit. Watch the video here, which includes Austrade Senior Adviser Arianna Sippel as the first speaker.

Visit Austrade for more information on investment opportunities in agtech.