RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – Agtech investors poured $10.1 billion into deals across 2017, a 29 percent increase over the previous year. But there were some warning signs for the agtech ecosystem.

So says a new report from the investment site AgFunder.

“Mirroring the global VC markets, there was a considerable decline in deal flow (-17%) mostly due to a large contraction in seed stage fudging,” AgFunder reports.

“Agrifood tech is maturing, but a loss of activity at the seed stage doesn’t bode well for years to come.”

The report notes that deal making was much stronger than in 2016 when funding fell 17 percent from the previous year.

Significant acquisitions were among the highlights.

“Farm tech did finally see some exciting exits however with John Deere acquiring robotics company Blue River Technology for $305 million, and DowDuPont acquiring farm management software platform Granular for $300 million,” AgFunder says. “Both exits were applauded by investors as large agricultural corporates look to acquire the innovation they find difficult to foster in-house. Corporate VCs were also more active this year.”

AgFunder also reports that the investor base  “continued to diversify with 1048 unique investors participating during 2017 including Silicon Valley venture firms, state-backed government funds, pension funds, corporate entities, as well as the growing number of agrifood tech specialists.”

Global action also increased beyond the U.S.

“Brazil, Argentina, Australia, Israel, and Ireland [are] showing signs of growing agrifood tech ecosystems,” AgFunder says.

The report can be accessed online.