A core tenet of Xconomy—and the reason behind our broad coverage across information technology, life sciences, energy, and more—is that the most interesting and important innovations often arise from the intersection of different disciplines.
One of the most important intersections today is between agriculture, the life sciences, and information technology—as evidenced by the growing field of agtech. Increasingly, the knowledge built up in developing new drugs, studying the human genome, and other life science research is being brought to bear on the crops we grow—while the technologies we have developed to sense and monitor our homes and bodies are being applied to tracking our food, monitoring its storage conditions, nutritional components, and the like. And human food production is just one aspect of agricultural technology—a vast field that also includes animal food and more.
In short, the field is exploding. At Xconomy, we have seen growing investments in the sector—both in a rash of new agtech startups and by bigger players such as Monsanto, Bayer Crop Sciences, and Syngenta. The annual AgTech Investment Report from AgFunderNews found that investment in agriculture and food-related technology startups alone hit $4.6 billion last year, roughly double the 2014 total.
I am pleased to announce that as of today, Xconomy is enhancing and expanding its coverage of this sector by launching a national Agtech and Food channel. This channel of our website, with its own home page, will feature all articles about these subjects and related topics from across our 11-market network. It is our ninth such subject-specific channel, joining Startups, Health IT, Cleantech, Exome (life sciences), Xperience (consumer tech and society), Fintech, Robotics and A.I., and Cybersecurity.
We’d like to thank the launch sponsors/underwriters who have joined us to support this new channel: Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Michigan State University, the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, and Spensa Technologies.
Xconomy editors around our network will be contributing to the new channel. Today we have three articles to kick off our coverage. One features a map of agtech companies in North Carolina, which has emerged as arguably the nation’s leading agtech cluster. We’ve identified 32 representative companies to date—and the list is far from comprehensive (we plan to keep adding to it as we learn about more companies). A companion piece focuses on a new institute and sub-cluster of companies and research groups developing in the Raleigh-Durham area around soil health. This sub-field has big implications for farmers, business, and agtech as a whole.
Our third article covers new efforts in microfarming, which use the latest in sensors and smartphone apps to help people grow their own food.
Coming down the pike, we will be reporting on efforts in areas such as urban agriculture, water and sustainability, robotics, and other innovative approaches in farming and food.
With the launch of this channel, we make it easy for readers interested in agtech and food to find all articles on these subjects from around our network. All you have to do is go to the home page of the new channel, or sign up for a dedicated e-mail newsletter.
We hope our agtech coverage grows on you.