Whitepaper: Impact Investing in AgTech


The Intersection of AgTech, Social Impact & Investment

A significant portion of the current wave of both applied and organic innovation in the agriculture sector (AgTech) is synonymous with social impact investing, and the timing for investment in the space is opportune.Technologies that address climate change, food waste, sustainable farming, material biodegradability, recycling, renewable sources of energy, water scarcity, antibiotic stewardship, and availability and accessibility of nutritious food, improving social equity, are all part of this AgTech innovation cycle.The accelerating investment in these technologies indicate that the investment cycle is at an attractive point and in its early stages, providing the right environment for attractive returns.

Des Moines, IA - April 20, 2019 - Prairie Crest Capital (Prairie Crest) an early state venture capital firm that invests in early stage AgTech start-ups released their newest whitepaper, "IMPACT INVESTING IN AG TECH". An overview of the whitepaper follows.


Impact Investing in AgTech

The Intersection of AgTech, Social Impact, and Investment


There has been an explosion of venture capital investments in the past three years that represents a unique and distinctive opportunity for investors of all classes and particularly those with social impact criteria. 

For many people, the term AgTech is associated with images of complex “precision ag” equipment, internet of things (IOT) applications to assist farmers be more productive, and using Big Data to enable better decision making for farmers.  One thing that is a common denominator to most popular interpretations of the term are technologies to assist better farm production to enable feeding of a growing world population that is becoming richer and possesses a growing appetite for higher value, protein rich agricultural output.

Agriculture professionals have a significantly broader view of the role and scope of AgTech. They would consider the recent venture activity in the sector to be an extension of a long history of innovation in agriculture that includes bio-technology, genomics, advances in aquaculture, chemistry, resource consumption, blockchain applications, bio-energy, and emerging developments in farm management practices to be part of the agricultural innovation ecosystem.

Even among this group of farmers, scientists, processors, and agribusiness professionals, there is not always a comprehensive world-view of extraordinary scope of agricultural technologies that also include innovations in supply chain solutions, bio-materials, nutraceuticals, and antibiotic stewardship. At the current moment, there is a veritable explosion in AgTech innovation, from applied to organic.

Less recognized by the investment community is the broad social impact of this emerging sector of innovation. Many social impact investors will recognize the importance of reducing the carbon imprint and environmental impact of agricultural production through sustainable agriculture.  In fact, technologies that reduce the resource consumption of agriculture are but one part of a virtuous cycle of innovations that promise to have broad impact on a variety of social challenges while also solving real problems with significant economic value.  Innovations that enhance not only yields but drought resistance of crops, optimize water usage, provide not only affordable food but nutrition as well, decrease the carbon imprint of the supply chain, reduce dependence on pharmaceuticals (particularly anti-biotics), reduce resource consumption of production, provide sustainable substitutes to non-renewable materials, mitigate food waste, provide biodegradable alternative products for those that are not, improve the usage of by-products, and enhance carbon recapture are all part of this virtuous cycle. 

Together, these innovations promise to reduce the carbon imprint of agriculture, decrease carbon particulate matter in the atmosphere, enhance the democratization of nutrition, enable broader deployment of renewable energy sources, lead the effort to improve equality of childhood cognitive development, improve health outcomes, and even positively impact wealth and income equality all the while feeding a growing global population.  

Despite the increase in investments in AgTech in recent years, the investment class is in its embryonic stage in typical venture cycles.  Many of the innovations recently funded are approaching the scaling process and many, particularly those still in the early stage of development, possess the characteristics familiar to investment successes in technology deployment cycles in other sectors. The combination of distinctive solutions to intractable problems with significant addressable markets that AgTech offers indicate that the asset class is positioned to deliver sustainable returns to investors.

The intersection of an emerging innovation cycle, the existence of broad-based social and economic problems that the consequent technologies can address, and the potential for investors is a serendipitous opportunity for all investors, particularly those with a social impact mission.


If you would like the full whitepaper on Impact Investing in AgTech, please email info@prairiecrestcapital.com