AgTech 2018: Consumer-Focused

Feb. 12, 2018


If it weren’t for risk-taking entrepreneurs in agriculture, we’d probably still be plowing fields with horses. The way we farm continues to evolve as new technologies are developed by the brightest minds which includes gene editing, plant breeding, and animal health and nutrition.

Michael Helmstetter is the CEO of TechAccel, an ag biotech venture company in Kansas City. He predicts the hot new technologies this year will be consumer-focused.

“I think we’re going to see a continued push in a lot of startups in the space of antibiotic alternatives, the food delivery system and services that are out there, a lot of money going into those things. So, a lot of things down on the consumer end with a longer shelf life on crops,” he says. “And again, sort of that on-demand food delivery service.”

 Historically, new startup technology companies have spun out of university research. However, with the mergers of large, multi-national agriculture companies such as Bayer and Monsanto, Helmstetter believes this will be a catalyst for new innovation.

“A lot of changes are happening in those core agriculture companies and one of them is that there’s a lot of labor that is getting moved out as they tighten their belts and consolidate,” he says. ” We’re seeing some amazingly talented researchers that are hitting the streets, and many that we know, many that we use as consultants, are starting agriculture companies around what they had done traditionally in big ag.”

Helmstetter says there will be many failures, but the entrepreneurs that make it will bring a sea-change in agricultural innovation over the next three-to-five-years.

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