Money Where Our Mouths Are Publishes Report on Female Funding in Agri-FoodTech

New Money Where Our Mouths Are (MWOMA) report analyzes the female funding gaps in Agri-FoodTech. In 2018, only 3% of funding dollars and 7% of deals went to female-only founded startups in the Agri-FoodTech industry.

Money Where Our Mouths Are Report - Crunchbase | Agri-FoodTech Female Funding Gaps

Female funding in agri-foodtech

AgFunder, The New Food Economy, and Karen Karp & Partners, have teamed up to form MWOMA, the first-ever investigation into the funding gap between female and male founders in the Agri-FoodTech industry. Crunchbase contributed to the raw data analyzed in the report, including the founder gender data for Agri-FoodTech startups.

The Agri-FoodTech sector experienced a record-breaking year in 2018, with $16.9 billion invested in the industry. However, after analyzing a sample dataset, the MWOMA team found that only 3% of those funding dollars were invested in female-only founded startups. Interestingly, according to Boston Consulting Group, women-led startups in the tech industry have proven to be more efficient and have a 35% higher return on investment. 

Gender gap in deal volume in agri-foodtech

The disparity between founder gender and deal volume has stayed relatively constant over the past few years. According to the study, only 7% of deals in 2018 involved startups with a female-only founding team. When including those startups with a mixed female/male co-founding team, the percent increases to 16%. 

Deal Volume by Founder Gender - AgriFoodTech

How deal volume translates to dollars for women

Although startups with at least one female founder had about 16% of the deal volume, they only captured about 8% of investment dollars in 2018. When comparing this to the broader startup industry, the percent of dollar funding across all industries is about 17% for startups with at least one female founder. Even more drastic is that solely female-founded companies only received 3% of the funding dollars. Furthermore, funding for startups with at least one female founder dropped 37% from 2017 to 2018, in the sample dataset. This data point presented even more concerns. 

Dollar funding levels - female funding - agrifoodtech

Additionally, there is a relatively significant dip for female-only founded startups between Seed and Series A funding rounds. As shown in the chart below, female-only Series A rounds captured a mere 3% of funding.

Seed & Series A Dollar Funding - Founder Gender - AgriFoodTech

Stories from those on the ground 

In addition to diving into the data, the MWOMA also interviewed women in the industry. Their team spoke with female founders, CEOs, investors, and leaders in the Agri-FoodTech industry. Throughout the quotes shared in the report, there seems to be a common theme around choosing your investors wisely. 

Kellee James, Co-Founder and CEO of Mercaris, says “Some of our male colleagues don’t get asked about revenue – they can be aspirational. When we pitch we have to prove the numbers… As we grow, we see how important it is to work with investors that share and fit into our long-term vision.”

Allison Kopf, Founder and CEO at Artemis, talks about the importance of flipping the script, and fighting against the gender disparity. She says “Choose your investors. Take capital with intention. Make sure your investors are your partners. They should be aligned with your mission and help grow your business exponentially.”

Money where our mouths are

At the end of the report, MWOMA lists a few ways for funders, female founders, accelerators, and food and agriculture companies to put their “money where [their] mouths are”. MWOMA encourages funders and accelerators to invite more women entrepreneurs to pitch, and to provide education about where biases exist. In conclusion, female founders in agrifood-tech should lead with their business’s core strength and assert command over their business.

Download the full report here.

  • Originally published October 4, 2019