Investment in agriculture and the food industry is at a record high.

Agtech is one of the hottest investment classes of 2020. Investors are backing companies that are pursuing ways to improve the global food system, regardless of the economic slump caused by COVID.

Dollar deal flow is beginning to enter upstream farming, having been concentrated in distribution areas of the food industry during the earlier stages of the boom. Alternative proteins — aquaculture, insects, plant-based proteins, lab-based meat and precision fermentation — will supply more of the protein needs for a growing world population.

Sensors and robotics will become an essential feature of farming. Innovators will need to move beyond producing widgets to providing components of an integrated system. Agtech could well be mid-stage through the Gartner hype cycle, with earlier investments deceiving investors. Second generation investments and emerging best practices are likely to spark significant adoption and growth.