Author Archives: Nicole Junkermann

Agritech: How can we adopt automated solutions?

There have been some truly pioneering advances within agritech over the last ten years, through the development and integration of sensors, digitisation, and artificial intelligence. These advances also bring challenges to overcome, including how different technologies and data can be integrated across the production system.  As part of the World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit I recently attended, these issues were discussed from the perspectives of organisations across various levels of the industry.

We are experiencing a chronic labour shortage on farms and a need to increase our food production to feed a growing population. Agritech offers the best solution to meet these challenges. With agritech developing at exponential speeds, the industry needs to optimise current digital technologies, and understand how the greatest value can be brought to the food chain.  Ultimately, we need a combination of technology and business model innovation to create a sustainable food system.

A key challenge is the integration of different agritech solutions on farms, and how these different solutions will communicate with each other. This is a major barrier to achieving automation, and can be very difficult to solve. Jason Keith explained that Nevonex is attempting to create an open platform, allowing different agritech solutions to cross-communicate, and farmers to access all information and data in one place.

The process of adopting new technologies on farms is not always a straightforward one, and solutions are not one size fits all. Some argue that the focus ought to be on smaller grower problems, as opposed to focusing on corporate problems; addressing field-level problems will arguably help more growers across the industry in the long term.

Technology and innovation are key for the advancement of any industry, including agriculture.  A challenge in the future will be the assimilation of automated solutions onto one platform, for the grower to access farm data in one place. Over the coming years, we will continue to see the growing automation of agricultural processes, and as an investor, I am particularly interested to witness the growth of innovative start-ups in this space.

World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit 2021 – State of the industry

I recently attended the World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit 2021, where Thomas J Vilsak, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, gave the opening remarks. He stated that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s origins were rooted in science, and he sees that as the path forward for this sector. The Department of Agriculture was formed in 1862 when Abraham Lincoln… Continue Reading

FinTech Alliance: The Investment Landscape Post-Covid

Following the pandemic, digitisation has accelerated rapidly, and industries have seen changes in just a few months that might otherwise have taken years. The FinTech sector is no different, and the FinTech Alliance held an insightful panel this month on ‘The Investment Landscape Post-Covid’. The panel discussed the areas of focus within FinTech, including the… Continue Reading

The Economics of Cultured Meats

Jim Mellon, experienced food-tech investor and entrepreneur, has made the prediction that cultured meat will eventually be more affordable than both factory farmed and plant-based meats. This could become a reality within the next five years, according to Mellon. As an investor in the food-tech industry myself, a statement like this is incredibly interesting. Cultured… Continue Reading

The Covid-19 Pandemic, Consumer Habits, and Plant-Based Meats

I recently attended a fascinating talk from Fiona Lavelle (Queen’s University Belfast) titled “From the pandemic to the pan: A cross-continental overview of changes in consumers cooking and food practices during COVID-19”. She spoke about her research which gives a cross continental overview of changes in consumers cooking and food practices during covid-19. Pre pandemic… Continue Reading

Women Entrepreneurs in AgriTech

There’s no question that technology is revolutionising farming. Agriculture is now infinitely smarter thanks to the many ‘Agripreneurs’ whose companies offer sensors, robotics, 3D printing, cloud-based computing, and artificial intelligence. Drones and connected machines are more affordable, giving rise to smart devices for farming suppliers and service providers, allowing the exchange of vast amounts of… Continue Reading

Catalysing Finance for Young Food Entrepreneurs: Independent Dialogue

As part of the United Nations Food Summit 2021, Bettina Marta Prato, Senior Coordinator of SAFIN, chaired a discussion on how to catalyse finance for young food entrepreneurs.  SAFIN, the Smallholder and Agri-SME Finance and Investment Network, is comprised of 48 institutions across agricultural finance, who share a commitment to accelerating access to finance for… Continue Reading

Innovation and Global Food Systems — UN Food Systems Summit

I recently attended the UN Food Systems Summit ‘Lever of Change Innovation Public Forum’. The forum asked key experts how innovation could be strengthened to improve global food systems, both in the face of the growing climate crisis and in the response to the fragilities of our food systems as emphasised by the Covid-19 pandemic.… Continue Reading

Nicole Junkermann and Real Madrid: the Future of Broadcasting Services in Sport

The rise of technology has transformed the way we are consuming all forms of media, and the sports industry is no exception. A report from Drake Star Partners forecast that the global sports technology sector will reach $31.1billion by 2024. However, in these unprecedented times, the restrictive lockdown measures in place across the world have… Continue Reading