Farmers typically consult the calendar and the weather forecast to figure out when to plant their crops, but figuring out how to grow a tech startup focused on the farm can be a far more complex task.
The challenge can call to mind the old joke about the farmer who won the lottery. When asked how the winnings would be used, the farmer answered, “Well, I guess I’ll just keep farming until the money runs out.”
When it comes to ag tech ventures, the money isn’t running out: Last year, a Crunchbase survey found that venture capitalists were investing roughly $4 billion a year in farm-centric startups — and the flow is continuing despite the COVID-19 pandemic. So far this year, investors have put about $700 million into more than 90 ag tech ventures, according to Crunchbase’s tally.
Some of the stars of the show are Pacific Northwest entrepreneurs who found success in the software industry and are now bringing their startup savvy to the food and agriculture industry. We checked in with four founders to get a sense of how they’re cross-breeding technology with agriculture.