US rejects Mexico proposals on GMO corn, AI-designed bacteria killing proteins and pet obesity. Smuggling eggs, tech to replace pasteurization, and consumers are feeling better about the economy.
The theme of the agtech week is fundamentals. All successful startups must solve a customer problem and solve it very well. But underlying their ability to do so are core fundamentals. What are those? We’ll explore those and get an update on The Soy Innovation Challenge in this week’s newsletter.
Food and the World:
House Ag adds 12 Republicans, including former chairman
Judge Set to Decide Whether Pipeline Trespassing Case Will Proceed
Growers to Plant More Wheat, Pursuing War-Boosted Prices
U.S. Rejects Mexico Proposals on GMO Corn Trade
USDA Adds to Programs for Dairy Farmers
Consumers feeling better about the economy (0:00 mark); consumer sentiment index 9% higher
Walmart minimum wage increases to $14 per hour (0:45 mark); Walmart is America’s largest private employer
Half a billion people undernourished in 2021 (0:00 mark)
Citrus demand is strong in the face of inflation, marketers say
Union Pacific reports record profits (0:00 mark); up 7% from 2021
Obesity a problem for pets (0:50 mark); 30 to 40% of pets are overweight
Does All This Rain and Snow Mean La Niña Is Loosening Its Grip On the U.S.?
Agtech in the News:
Could Curbing Cow Burps Slow Global Warming?
Bowery Farming taps into that Gen Z wellness consumer with NYC spa-like party
From Vertical Farming Complexes to Controlled Environment Agriculture Programs
Plenty confirms closure of South San Francisco vertical farming facility
What to watch in 2023 in the LATAM AgriFoodTech space
Vas and Zoetis's Collaboration Makes Dairy Genetic Data Collection Effortless
Proposed Legislation Could Kill or Restrict Carbon Dioxide Pipelines in Iowa
UC Davis CLEAR Center Collaborating with National Pork Board
Skretting to include more insects and algae in their shrimp feeds
The Floriculture Industry: Every Rose Has Its Thornes
Eurofins Scientific breaks into produce, opening labs in Salinas Valley
AI has designed bacteria-killing proteins from scratch – and they work
Climate-Smart Program Rewards Must Outweigh Risks To Earn Grower Participation
Sustainable Beef's Unique Business Model May Ensure Success: First Time Entire Supply Chain Involved in Beef Production
Combyne Ag (formerly FarmLead) acquired by Bayer
Raslysation: Meet the technology that could replace pasteurization
Cornell startup cultivates animal protein from plants
Cult Food Science to launch cell-based coffee, candy
Growmark Acquires Allied Seed
CNH Industrial Takes Minority Stake in EarthOptics
BASF and Cargill further expand their partnership to offer high-performance enzyme solutions to animal protein producers in the United States
EPA Directive Leaves Future of Ag Chemicals At Stake
The Next Fintech Revolution: Agriculture Finance (I agree!)
USAID and Bayer Partner to Supply Seeds to Ukrainian Farmers in Advance of the Planting Season
The most Oreo Oreo (1:10 mark)
Bear selfies (1:05 mark)
McD’s testing out strawless lids (1:00 mark)
Q1 2023: PitchBook Analyst Note: Sustainable and Digital Infrastructure in the Private Markets
Why PE's take-private joyride is downshifting
2022 Annual: Global M&A Report
Q1 2023: PitchBook Analyst Note: When Dry Powder Stays Dry
‘Alternative Protein’ Nonprofits Should Return Donations To FTX
U.S. officials raise 'grave concerns' over Mexico's agricultural biotech policy
A baby was losing weight and vomiting. At the hospital, doctors discovered he was starving from an almond milk diet
Obesity, politics, money and a company called Novo Nordisk
Crews dredge Mississippi River (0:00 mark)
Brazil airlifts starving Yanomami tribal people from jungle
Post-Brexit farm subsidies in England revealed
Plague of Hungry Rats Devours Sugar Cane Crop in Australia
Your Egg Prices Could Be So High Because of Price Gouging, Farm Group Says
Scoop: Inside Vilsack’s farm bill strategy session
The Gender Hunger Gap Is Real—and Getting Worse
Kickstarter Helps Launch Small Pennsylvania Dairy Farm
What are Large Global Banks Doing About Climate Change?
As prices soar, border officials are seeing a spike in egg smuggling from Mexico
1975 should call the pork people
Tyson Foods CFO Pleads Guilty to Charges, Pays Fines to Wipe Record Clean
Book of the Dead: The Species Declared Extinct in 2022
My State Is 1,000 Miles Long, and Not Everyone Living in It Hates the Rain
How saliva changes the flavor of food
A Military Drone with A Mind Of Its Own Was Used In Combat, U.N. Says
AAIB partners with Sympl to offer BNPL services to its customers
Kenyan fintech Kwara raises $3M seed extension, signs deal to reach over 4,000 credit unions
Why Challenging Times Can Help us Learn, Grow and Find our ‘Flow’
How Africa’s super app landscape is evolving
Rethinking Metrics in B2B Ecommerce
How DER became a one-stop shop for startups in Senegal
Exclusive: OpenAI Used Kenyan Workers on Less Than $2 Per Hour to Make ChatGPT Less Toxic
Africa vs. the Rest of the World
What's Really Driving Egg Prices 138% Higher in a Year?
Infant formula plant under investigation (0:00 mark)
Florida investment board approves anti-ESG investment guidelines
Even startups with lots of runway probably can't grow into those sky-high valuations
Southern Africa: 2022 Funding raised Map
Climate Change May Usher in a New Era of Trade Wars
Fondaction looks to repeat high returns trick with C$160M fund
E-logistics: A second fundraiser of 7.5 MDH for the start-up Cathedis
Climate change: Bill Gates backs Australian start-up targeting cow burps
Riparian Capital Partners’ green water lease in successful South Australia pilot
Silver Creek hires UC investment director with eye on real assets
Conservation Resources sells stake to access distribution platform
Verra and the offsets industry count the cost of avoidance credits
Proveye bags €1m seed investment for image-based analytics tech
Multus Biotechnology Raises $9.5M Series A to Build Growth Media Production Plant
Craigmore makes two hires and hits AUM milestone
McWin acquires majority stake in restaurant chain L’Osteria
Plenty partners with Walmart, secures $400M in funding
Despite their warnings, VCs are still investing
Soy Innovation Challenge - Update
An update on the selection process for The Soy Innovation Challenge 2022. An update on the number of applicants, the geography and technology diversity we received.
Check out the video update below where we give an update on the review process and the next steps. Stay tuned for the announcement of the finalists. More to come!
Theme of the Agtech Week: Fundamentals
Ask any successful team, whether in business or sports, what makes them perform at a high level and you will get a variety of answers, but those answers will arrive at one common aspect: they have the fundamentals down. And what are those fundamentals? In the agtech, the fundamentals are those things that are integral to your business, technology, value proposition, that you do over and over, almost for granted, again but if you miss even a few you will notice their impact. But more specifically, what are examples of fundamentals? Let’s start with 1) how do you make money?
The first fundamental, how do you make money, is probably the most obvious but often the most overlooked. Why is it overlooked? In the startup and venture world, I often see startups get caught up with jargon like ‘ net income positive’, ‘runway,’ or my favorite ‘what is your customer acquisition cost?’ That is because startups are asked these and a multitude of equally technical questions but they ultimately point to one fundamental truth: how do you make money? This is colloquial for ‘how do you generate sales?’ ‘Are you profitable?’ Or ‘What is your margin?’ When an investor or customer asks you that question and you cannot provide a simple, clear and succinct answer, that usually signals trouble to the one asking the question. Startups that know their business and do it well can answer this question in 1-2 sentences.
A second fundamental that agtech startups must be able to answer: what do you do? Moreover, what is your solution/technology/innovation? What problem do you solve? I hear a lot of pitches, and in turn I hear a mishmash of pollysyllabic, ambiguous and wordy phrases like ‘We sustainably feed the world by connecting consumers with farmers’ or ‘Our proprietary algorithm unlocks the genetic potential of commodity crops.’ What does a good answer to the question ‘what do you do’ look like? Well how about ‘Our technology extends the shelf life of vegetables thus reducing waste during transport.’ An answer like this does several things; first, it clearly and succinctly answers the question. And second, it leaves enough detail out to prompt a follow up like, ‘hmmm, and how does your technology extend the shelf life’ or ‘Is waste an issue for transporting vegetables?’ A great answer gives enough detail while leaving them wanting more.
These are 2 of many fundamentals that startups must master to succeed. I might dive into others in a future newsletter but if you are curious please respond directly. Get the fundamentals down.
Thanks for reading.
Brandon Day is the Chief Operating Officer of The Yield Lab Institute, the global agtech think-tank, non-profit arm of The Yield Lab global network of venture capital funds and accelerator programs. The views, opinions and commentary expressed are solely those of Brandon Day.