Categories
AgTech Investments

Insurance Australia Group has bought a multimillion-dollar stake in Digital Agriculture Services

Insurance Australia Group Limited (IAG) is the largest general insurance company in Australia and New Zealand. The Group’s businesses underwrite almost $12 billion of premium per annum, selling insurance under many leading brands. IAG, Australia’s largest general insurer, made the investment in Digital Agriculture Services (DAS) through its $75 million venture capital fund Firemark Ventures.

In April, Firemark Ventures also bought a stake in US start-up Arturo, which applies similar methods as those used by DAS – aerial imaging, AI, data analytics – to an urban setting, assessing risks to individual residential and commercial properties.

Digital Agriculture Services is a rural technology company based in Melbourne. The company was established in partnership with CSIRO, Australia’s national science and research agency, in 2017, with a mission to deliver reliable rural intelligence. The company is applying machine learning and AI to develop rural data-powered solutions that transform the way rural assets are assessed, valued and monitored.

Despite the importance of food and agriculture to our economy, rural data is patchy and fragmented; inaccessible or unintelligible; or simply not connected in a way that’s useful. Every day, business, policy makers and farmers are making decisions without reliable rural data or analytics. This lack of data not only means billions in decisions are being based on inaccurate, unreliable or incomplete data – it means agriculture’s risk profile is far higher than it should be.

Problem statement – DAS

DAS’ founders believe that by providing the most reliable rural intelligence possible, we can give today’s decision makers the data they need to make more informed decisions. Decisions that build competitive advantage, wealth and prosperity for all.

Read more at Financial Review

Categories
AgTech Blockchain

Blockchain for Food and Agriculture

Blockchain is an emerging technology allowing universal transactions among distributed parties, without the need of intermediaries. Blockchain is not a single technology but uses a combination of technologies that have a considerable history in computer science and in commercial applications like public/private key cryptography, cryptographic hash functions, database technologies especially distributed databases, consensus algorithms, and decentralised processing. Blockchain could pave way for a transparent supply chain of food, by facilitating the sharing of data between disparate actors in a food value chain.

Despite huge positives of the technology and the great interest it has received from public and private parties in general, some critical questions like accessibility, governance, technical aspects, policies, data ownership and regulatory frameworks need to be addressesed for its mass adoption.

Some common ways in which blockchain is applied in food and agriculture value chains are

Supply Chain Traceability: It enables companies to quickly track unsafe products back to their source and see where else they have been distributed. This can prevent illness and save lives, as well as reducing the cost of product recalls.

Example: Aglive – An Australian livestock tracking platform, has completed a pilot that monitored shipments of beef to China using blockchain. The pilot saw cattle tracked from Macka’s cattle farm in regional New South Wales to an abattoir located in the same state. From there, frozen beef products were tracked across the supply chain as the meat was transported by land freight interstate to Queensland, and then shipped to Shanghai — ensuring that the products were stored under safe conditions throughout transit. The products were then distributed to grocery stores in Shanghai.

Agricultural Commodities Trade: Commodities management involves deal documents, contracts, letters of credit, supply chain finance, traceability and government certifications. Blockchain is enabling these data management challenges and payment time lags.

Example: AgriDigital – A blockchain-based and integrated commodity management solution for the global grains industry.

Digital Marketplace: Digital marketplaces allow buyers and growers to connect directly, increasing the amount of profits that go to the farmers, and investors to invest directly into farms producing commodities and then trade on that investment.

Example: Twiga Foods Ltd – The company, buys fresh produce from 17,000 farmers and processed food from manufacturers and then delivers it to 8,000 vendors, most of whom are women.

Categories
AgTech FoodTech

AgriFood Category Definitions

  1. Ag Biotechnology: On-farm inputs for crop & animal ag including genetics, microbiome, breeding, animal health.
  2. Agribusiness Marketplaces: Commodities trading platforms, online input procurement, equipment leasing.
  3. Bioenergy & Biomaterials: Non-food extraction & processing, feedstock technology, cannabis pharmaceuticals.
  4. Farm Management Software, Sensing & IoT: Ag data capturing devices, decision support software, big data analytics
  5. Farm Robotics, Mechanization & Equipment: On-farm machinery, automation, drone manufacturers, grow equipment.
  6. Midstream Technologies: Food safety & traceability tech, logistics & transport, processing tech.
  7. Novel Farming Systems: Indoor farms, aquaculture, insect, & algae production.
  8. Innovative Food: Cultured meat, novel ingredients, plant-based proteins.
  9. In-Store Retail & Restaurant Tech: Shelf-stacking robots, 3D food printers, POS systems, food waste monitoring IoT.
  10. Restaurant Marketplaces: Online tech platforms delivering food from a wide range of vendors.
  11. eGrocery: Online stores and marketplaces for sale & delivery of processed & un-processed ag products to consumer.
  12. Home & Cooking Tech: Smart kitchen appliances, nutrition technologies, food testing devices.
  13. Online Restaurants & Meal Kits: Startups offering culinary meals and sending pre-portioned ingredients to cook at home.
  14. Cloud Retail Infrastructure: On-demand enabling tech, ghost kitchens, last mile delivery robots & services
  15. Miscellaneous eg. fintech for farmers

Source: AgFunder AgriFood Funding Report