Agricultural technology startups pave the way for farmers and landowners to maximize the efficiency, health, and profitability of their land and farms. Technology startups and entrepreneurs are constantly entering the fray with new ideas and products designed to improve the lives of farmers and protect their surrounding environment. So, it’s good to highlight agricultural tech startups that have hit the public market to see what they have done right. Here are just a few of the innovative companies we partner with that have presented an IPO.
IPO amount: $2.8 billion
Planet Labs is on the cutting edge of satellite imagery for several different industries. With more than 200 satellites, they offer imaging services for myriad applications. For farmers, they offer daily, 50cm resolution imaging of farmland during the growing season.
Their signature features include:
Planet Lab’s high-resolution imaging is incredibly helpful for farmers who own a lot of land or have trouble with their current method of surveying their farms. Precise imaging can help farmers anticipate and address growth issues before it affects their harvest.
One reason Planet has been able to reach the public market is the versatility of their satellite imagery services. Many different industries benefit from high-quality imaging, and Planet is fully equipped to serve them all. Near the beginning of their operation, Planet focused on an ingenious idea: small satellites that could be used in place of traditional lead counterweights used on existing rocket launches to balance out payload.
This allowed Planet to send their satellites into orbit at virtually no cost. As a result, Planet was able to focus on building infrastructure early. Decisions like these early in the entrepreneurial process can have a massive impact on profitability down the line. In this case, Planet’s choice reduced their costs drastically from the outset.
IPO amount: $1.35 billion
Agricultural technology startup Benson Hill provides innovative CropOS software which allows farmers access to algorithms that can predict and model many decisions that formerly would have been left to instinct and guesswork.
They pride themselves on three primary operations:
Benson Hill understands that selective breeding carries both benefits and drawbacks, as some changes in a plant’s genome can alter other accessory proteins that can produce undesirable results. This is why they made CropOS and developed its predictive algorithms.
By focusing on the nutritional value and taste of crops, Benson Hill has helped food producers see the many benefits of gene editing for crops. This also widened their market viability, as more nutritious and better-tasting food is a huge market not only in developed nations but also in developing nations where maximizing nutritional value per acre is of vital importance. There is no doubt that Benson Hill’s wide-ranging appeal had a massive hand in their ability to go public.
IPO amount: $1.2 billion
Greenlight Biosciences specializes in mRNA technology for pesticides that allow crops to become more resistant to specific pests. As opposed to altering DNA by selective breeding, Greenlight directly alters proteins through RNA that are used to create targeted pesticides or create plants that can naturally resist certain parasites.
Their primary advantage over others in the space is their ability to create RNA on a massive scale at a low cost, resulting in a pesticide product that is effective in extremely small amounts (9.9g/hectare). These pesticides are excellent at eliminating only the pests for which they are created. For example, their pesticide targeting Colorado potato beetles is safe for honey bees, butterflies, and other organisms that don’t present a danger to crop yields.
Conventional crop protection techniques present an increasing concern for environmental and health advocates. Greenlight’s innovative mRNA technology is changing the landscape of this field by providing a safer solution for consumers, farmers, and the earth. Their cell-free bioprocessing method also reduces loss in the process of creating RNA, which makes it market viable by decreasing cost.
As with both Planet Labs and Benson Hill, versatility played a large role in Greenlight’s successful IPO. The ability to alter RNA allows Greenlight to solve problems in living organisms, which allowed them to enter the market of RNA-based vaccine technology in humans.
This development has been brought rapidly to the forefront of the global scientific community as they have worked to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, and Greenlight Biosciences has already entered the vaccine marketplace. Recently, they announced a licensing agreement with the Serum Institute of India to produce multiple mRNA products, starting with a shingles vaccine with options for two other vaccines or therapeutic products.
Each of these agricultural technology startups brings a different solution to the table. And for any farmer or investor reading this, there is likely a new technology on this list that sounds promising. We believe these innovative startups will be among those leading the charge in making farming simpler, more effective, and more sustainable for landowners and their families.