eGrocery & alt-protein ruled seed deals in 2021. Times have changed

Data Snapshot is a regular AFN feature analyzing agribusiness technology market investment data provided by our parent company, AgFunder.

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According to AgFunder Agrifoodtech Investment Report 2021.

By comparison, the Top 15 early-stage deals in 2020 grossed $230 million and included a wider variety of companies, including those in remote sensing and agricultural robotics.

The strong presence of eGrocery and alt-protein in 2021 seed deals reflects the greater dominance of these sectors in agri-tech investments during the year. Of the $51.7 billion agrifood raised last year, eGrocery gobbled up $18.5 billion and alternative proteins made up the bulk of the $4.8 billion invested in Innovative Foods.

Best Seed Deals for 2021

Flink foodThe 2021 total fundraising illustrates the pace of acceleration and foam for the eGrocery sector. The Germany-based company raised two seed rounds for a total of $52 million, then followed that up with major Series A and B rounds at the end of the year.

Buyk, a Chicago- and New York-based grocery delivery startup, had the second-biggest seed round of the year, though business soured in 2022. (More below. ) Another notable tour came from Berlin. Yababawhich specializes in Turkish and Arabic food deliveries.

Alternative protein companies, which make up a large part of AgFunder’s Innovative Foods category, were wide-ranging and included deals for plant-based meats (Singapore Next Generation Foods and its fallout in the UK TINDLE), cultured meat (Ivy Farm Technologies), and animal-free dairy products (Imaginary).

Less optimism for eGrocery in 2022

The future of alternative proteins looks significantly brighter than that of eGrocery halfway through 2022.

The bulk of eGrocery’s offerings have gone to so-called “instant” delivery startups that typically promise a selection of food and household products in less than 15 minutes. Over the past two months, some of the biggest companies in the industry have announced layoffs amid cooling investor sentiment and a greater technology slowdown. A company, Buyk, supported by Russia, filed for bankruptcy in March 2022 due to the war in Ukraine. Flink Foods, at least, hasn’t announced any downsizing or restructuring so far.

Alternative protein startups continue to provide funding. For example, Imagindairy just raised a $15 million seed round extension and TiNDLE scored a $100 million Series A earlier this year.

Alternative proteins and eGrocery are two distinct categories located in two different parts of the agrifood value chain. Even so, it’s not hard to see why one continues to grow while the other rapidly cools. In a world struggling with supply chain issues, war, climate change and hunger, alternative proteins can be an important part of the larger solution towards a safe and sustainable food system. In contrast, grocery delivery, especially in 15 minutes or less, is starting to look very frivolous.

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