New technology is allowing new levels of efficiency throughout the agriculture value chain. Smart farming tech includes smart machinery like robots, software solutions for crop management, and drones and satellites for land management and crop protection. Internet of Things (IoT) and big data advancements have strongly supported the evolution of smart farming and agricultural technologies have become increasingly crucial given steadily growing demand for food, despite limited availability of farmland and rising labor costs.
Crop monitoring and analytics software solution providers account for more than one-third of our list of disruptors and incumbents. The majority of these startups were established after 2014 and are at early or growth stages of product development and customer acquisition. These players have attracted total funding in the range of USD 200-300 million.
Marketplace operators account for only a small portion of our list of disruptors. Two key players in this segment, Farmers Business Network and Produce Pay, have attracted the most amount of funding—in the USD 900 million - 1.1 billion range. These startups connect participants across the agriculture value chain to streamline the farming process. Startups providing smart machinery such as agricultural robots and autonomous tractors closely follow, having received accumulated funding in the range of USD 600-800 million.
Most incumbents in the industry are players established in providing hardware and software solutions solely to the agriculture industry. These companies have been quick to adopt smart farming precision techniques and big data analytics.
Some companies, such as Trimble and John Deere, serve industries beyond agriculture, which may better enable them to provide their products and services throughout the agricultural value chain rather than simply focusing on a particular segment.
The industry is also seeing software-oriented companies with backgrounds in artificial intelligence and big data including NVIDIA, Amazon, Microsoft, and IBM use their expertise to enter the Smart Farming market.
Incumbents that have had a head start on growth and expansion through in-house development are now also partnering with or acquiring startups with the potential to expand product reach. Newcomers like Amazon and NVIDIA are also following this trend.