Six investors reveal their biggest bets to move the needle and create change at scale for our food system in 2023 and beyond.

Sanjeev Krishnan, S2G VENTURES  “Two bets:
– Full stack approach to regenerative agriculture – from inputs to IOT to farm machinery to fin tech as well as real assets – as long we have continued volatility in natural gas pricing in the years to come, regenerative can be a profitable path for growers and certain market players.
– Food as a long term deflationary force in healthcare spending – graduating it from vitamins and supplements to closer to therapeutics, food tech meets health tech.” Sanjeev Krishnan, MD & CIO, S2G VENTURES

Vipula Shukla - BILL AND MELINDA GATES FOUNDATION - World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit“At the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, we are acutely aware that climate change disproportionally affects farmers who are the most vulnerable and resource-limited – small scale producers in the developing world. These are our “customers”. Therefore, we’re placing our biggest bets on technologies that can support crop adaptation to changing climates across diverse agroecologies, as well as practical climate-change mitigation practices for crop and livestock systems. We support development of innovative goods and services that must be designed with the end-user in mind, effective, safe, low CoGs and can deliver substantive productivity gains compared to current practices. To go from incremental improvement to step change, we look for conceptual breakthroughs, supported by rigorous science, that if reduced-to-practice and scaled can change production-system paradigms. This requires high risk tolerance and patience. We’re willing to accept higher failure rates that come with higher risk if, over time, some breakthrough inventions that are realized and adopted lead to overall system changes in how small-scale producers farm.” Vipula Shukla, Senior Program Officer, Agriculture R&D, THE BILL AND MELINDA GATES FOUNDATION

Paimun Amini“There is an old adage: “Necessity drives innovation.” Agriculture is predicated on the concept of necessity and that will only be further emphasized over the next year or two as we see rising concerns in food security globally. At Leaps we are focused on breakthrough technologies that will help us not only produce more but also better. Two of our biggest areas of investment focus on reducing the environmental impact of agriculture and protecting against crops and food loss. In that vein, two companies epitomize those goals:

1) Sound Agriculture, which has developed the phenomenal product SOURCE, is significantly reducing our dependence on synthetic fertilizers while improving crop performance in the field. Now scaled to well over 1M acres, SOURCE significantly reduces the carbon footprint on each acre and provides simple-to-apply product that seamlessly integrates into farmers’ practices today.

2) Apollo Agriculture has been a model for increasing smallholder farmer production and profitability. Operating in Kenya and Zambia, Apollo has uniquely brought together data science, logistics, financing, insurance, agronomy, and ag inputs to help farmers increase their yields by over 2.5X, improving their lives while also allowing them to better feed their local communities.” Paimun Amini, Sr. Director of Venture Investments, LEAPS BY BAYER

“As investment in the space has grown dramatically over the past few years, regenerative agriculture and soil health continue to prove difficult to address through technology, and funding this transition is the key challenge. As inflation is increasing pressure on farmers to keep prices down while rising energy prices are driving costs up, we are looking to scale cost-effective solutions that directly address the financial barriers to regen ag. We are also looking for out of the ordinary innovations that improve soil health, reduce energy consumption and support decentralized, sustainable food systems.” George Powlick, Partner, ASTANOR VENTURES

“Animal protein production, as we know it, is the single largest source of global greenhouse gas emissions, and demand for it keeps growing. Meanwhile, global warming is putting its very production, quality, and cost at risk. Cellular agriculture can play a key role in supplying the world with contaminant-free, healthy animal protein without any compromise on texture, taste, and eventually cost. Yet current bioreactor supply can barely meet the capacity needed for cellular ag to serve 0.01% of global meat consumption today. That’s why we’re backing the picks and shovels needed to scale up the cellular ag industry.” Clea Kolster, Partner & Head of Science, LOWERCARBON CAPITAL

“At Lewis & Clark AgriFood, we see two massive, generational shifts occurring in food and agriculture simultaneously. The first shift is in the quality of the calories that we consume. Post WWII America generated one of the most efficient supply chains on the planet, laser-focused on delivering cheap calories. The next generation of consumer continues to demand cheap calories, but they are also demanding nutrient density. This leads to massive changes in consumer behavior towards healthier, better for you, and ultimately to food as medicine. The second trend we see is in the shift from a fossil fuel-driven economy to a renewable, biologically based economy. This trend will take much longer to come to full fruition, but here we see opportunities in novel feedstock interconversion, precision fermentation, and waste stream valorization.” Larry Page, Managing Director, LEWIS & CLARK AGRI-FOOD

Vipula, Sanjeev, Paimun, Clea and Larry along with more than 1,800 high-profile agri-food investors and leaders in the industry will come together to exchange insights, be inspired, and identify future partners at the the World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit on March 14-15 in San Francisco. See who else is joining.