Investments In AgTech Are Growing Fast. What's Got Investors Betting On The Future Of Food

June 11, 2019

Boston venture firm Spark Capital has backed some of the tech sector's biggest hits: Twitter, Slack, Tumblr and Medium, just to name a few. So, what does Spark cofounder Todd Dagres see as the next hot thing?

Try scarlet kale.

Well, not kale itself but, rather, an innovative way of growing the leafy green and other produce. Dagres said his firm views agricultural technology as "a massive market opportunity."

"We think we're scratching the surface today," he said.

Dagres is hardly the only one who thinks so. AgTech investment spending has increased sixfold across the world since 2013, according to PitchBook, a firm that tracks venture deals. And the wide range of investors includes VC firms like Spark, large corporations and individuals with personal causes.

One of Spark's first bets is on Boston-based Freight Farms, which grows produce in 40-foot shipping containers, using hydroponic irrigation systems. On a recent visit to the company's South End headquarters, Dagres taste-tested the aforementioned scarlet kale and a sprig of wasabi arugula, which zinged his taste buds.

"I could see muddling this in a drink," he said.

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