It was the late ’70s when John DeLorean announced he was going to build his new car in Ireland, which back then seemed like a bad joke. Today, the country has become a hotbed for tech startups. The number of agrifood tech investments in Ireland doubled last year as SOSV, the $300 million venture capital firm established by former "Dragons’ Den" star Sean O’Sullivan, was named the most active investor globally.
This is a small but fast-growing segment of the startup world, covering companies that are aiming to disrupt the global food and agriculture industry. More than $10 billion was invested in over 900 deals worldwide in 2017, with investment growth up 29%.
The deal count in Ireland doubled year over year to 19, according to the figures from Agfunder that suggested the increase was due to more participation from players in the market. This includes the likes of the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund, which last year invested $40 million in agritech funds.
Over $150 million in smart money from investors such as Bill Gates, Cargill, Google Ventures, Nestle, Khosla, KPCB, Temasek and others has been put into companies in the past two years in new sectors such as cellular agriculture, nutraceuticals and connected kitchen appliances.