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Agtech dealmaking slumps as investors get more selective

Data: PitchBook; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: PitchBook; Chart: Axios Visuals

Cautious investors backed fewer agtech startups in Q1, driving up valuations in the sector as deal-making slowed.

By the numbers: The number of agtech deals fell for the third straight quarter, dropping 39% from Q4 and nearly 19% from last year, per PitchBook.

  • Deal value held roughly steady at about $1.9 billion.

Yes, but: The median pre-money valuation for startups jumped 19.8% from 2022.

Of note: Last year brought a significant correction to overheated startup valuations, a trend that investors generally expected to continue through this year.

Be smart: "It appears that riskier deals were postponed in Q1, while only those deals with greater investor confidence and higher valuations were finalized," PitchBook writes.

  • "Investors are now focusing on fewer, larger deals that are considered lower risk."

Context: Virtually all of the big agtech deals in Q1 touched on climate, from Colossal Biosciences' $150 million Series B to de-extinct the dodo, to Irrigreen's $15 million seed round to make watering the lawn more sustainable.

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