Ag tech gets a lot of buzz these days — with talk of drones, sensors, data-reading apps on tractors and new genetic engineering tools hot topics in Silicon Valley and recipients of a surge of investment. But the reality is that not much of that technology is yet in the fields, writes Barbara Grady on GreenBiz.com.
According to AgFunder, while investment in ag tech nearly doubled last year to $4.6 billion from $2.4 billion in 2014, the commercial adoption of new ag-tech products is generally “soft” with farmers agreeing to free or deeply discounted beta trials of new tools but not often buying them for long-term use.
Bayer Crop Science, a unit of pharmaceutical giant Bayer AG, and DuPont’s Pioneer unit want to change that. The two have teamed up with agriculture venture capital firm Finistere Ventures and private equity firm Cloud Break Advisors to create a $15 million ag-tech accelerator fund they named Radicle.
The plan is to fill what they say is a crying need for capital to commercialize the most promising innovations in agriculture tech. Radicle already has $6 million committed from founding members and others.