The number of Israeli AgriTech startups has tripled since 2016. We explore why the UK’s scaleup strength makes Cambridge the logical home for these companies to grow and commercialise.

Israel AgriTech

If you follow AgriTech news, you’ll have noticed the steady stream of articles about AgriTech in Israel.  Recently we’ve seen headlines about successful funding rounds and acquisitions which show that the Israeli AgriTech cluster is going from strength to strength, with the number of AgriTech startups tripling since 2016.

Headline image of funding round closingIsrael’s farming history and geo-political setting means it has had to be more productive and self-sufficient in food production. With only 10% of its land being arable, that land must work to full productivity.

But the technology growth hasn’t been accidental. It is a direct response to the Israeli Government’s support for technology generally, and AgriTech specifically.  According to the Economist, “Israel’s overall civilian R&D spending, measured as a share of GDP, is more than that of any European country. Agritech gets a chunk of this cash. The government supports universities and labs; it has also invested in venture-capital funds and directly in startups.”

And the government is putting new emphasis on commercialisation. It has “plans to sponsor pilot projects that connect startups with farmers, so that technology can be tried and tested locally before being introduced to international markets.”(Economist, 2019)

Scaleup challenge

But Israel’s next challenge is to scaleup these businesses. With minimal arable land for crop trials, and given its size Israel will need to look outside its borders for a customer-base.

While the UK is the third-best country in the OECD at starting businesses, it is 1st in Europe for scaling businesses.

Tech nation report - UK first at scaleup in Europe

The UK Government set a bar in the Industrial Strategy to be better at scaling. This is starting to show fruit, as reported in the 2020 Technation report.  Adding the ability to scale to our skills of founding new research-based startups makes the UK the logical home for anyone that wants to scale a knowledge-based startup, like those in AgriTech.

But, the UK’s future as the global hub for the commercialisation of AgriTech is only possible if the UK government supports ARC, a site for AgriTech commercialisation.

Find out more about our plans here.