[8 March/AgFunder News]

Early food investment in agrifood tech start-ups reached $10.1 billion in 2017, increasing 29 percent over the level in 2016. Large deals including a $1 billion series H round by Chinese Restaurant Marketplace ele.me were the main reason for the increased investment. eGrocery start-ups raised 96 percent more funding in 2017 compared to 2016. The microbial seed coating company, Indigo Agriculture, raised $203 million in Series D funding which values the company at over $1 billion. Many other high profile companies also saw large growth and funding. Major acquisitions also occurred during 2017 including Syngeta Ventures who made five investments. With the size and nature of 2017’s rounds, some start-ups are beginning to imagine a future as standalone companies. The average size of seed stage deals increased 60 percent, and Starship Technologies raised $17.2 million in their seed round. Overall, there was a 29 percent drop in seed stage activity in 2017.