Agri-foodtech VCs assess Covid-19’s impact on the sector and portfolios
April 7, 2020
As we all “shelter in place” and “socially distance” ourselves, we are learning a lot about what we can live without. And what we can’t.
Agri-foodtech investors seem to be collectively counting their blessings in that respect.
“We probably have it better than many of our generalist VC peers because the only thing people are buying right now is food. The one thing they’re allowed to go out and do is go to the grocery store,” Mark Kahn, co-founder of Mumbai-based venture capital firm Omnivore, tells AFN.
AFN has been hearing similar versions of that line from agri-foodtech VCs worldwide amid the Covid-19 pandemic, where day-to-day businesses are shuttering, startups and small businesses are rapidly laying off workers, and individuals, communities, and markets prepare for an ensuing economic downturn.
Adam Anders of Amsterdam-based Anterra Capital describes agri-foodtech VCs as “comparatively lucky” in the difficult market circumstances because the agri-food sector is “traditionally resilient in a downturn.” In Chicago, Sanjeev Krishnan from S2G Ventures tells agri-foodtech VCs to “keep calm and carry on – long term, this is one of the best sectors to be invested in; we all still need to eat.” From Paris, Niccolò Manzoni of Five Seasons Ventures notes that business across the firm’s portfolio companies is going “almost as usual” with some increasing sales, both online and in retail, thanks to the resilience of the food sector. “We are reassured that food is going to be the last sector to stop.” In Singapore, Isabelle Decitre of ID Capital observes that the perception of the critical role that food and agriculture plays globally is “second only to the health sector” amid the immediate crisis.