The problems facing America’s farmers in 2018 are as diverse as their crop varieties: Labor shortages. Soil health. Food spoilage. Trade wars. Lack of access to data on seed pricing, yield information, and even commodity forecasting.
The good news? There is a veritable army of technologists and entrepreneurs working hard to solve these issues—and an army of investors seeking to fund them. In 2017 alone, ag-tech funding through investment or acquisition increased 32% to $2.6 billion, and half of the top 20 deals in the space exceeded $50 million. One of the year’s highlights included the multi-billion-dollar multinational DowDuPont DWDP -2.24%’s acquisition of software startup Granular for $300 million.
The bad news? There is now so much money flowing into the space and so many entrepreneurial solutions coming to the market that it’s harder than ever to cut through the noise.
To that end, Forbes has taken to the fields and phones to come up with the top 25 most innovative startups in the ag-tech space. Just as we did last year, we surveyed the agricultural technology landscape by speaking with experts, venture capitalists and accelerators; then we examined financials and each company’s agricultural credentials. A special thanks goes to Seana Day at the Mixing Bowl for her comprehensive research on the ag-tech environment.
Soft Robotics: Soft Robotics is exactly what it says on the tin—the company manufactures robotic arms with soft grippers that can be used to gently handle delicate items like fruits and vegetables in processing facilities. Ag cred: The company has raised over $50 million to date and counts Taylor Farms among its customers.