Hackquarters X | Agritech

April 21, 2022

Hackquarters X | Agritech is a global meetup organized in the framework on the WorkupAgri Acceleration program powered by İş Bank and held on 14 April 2022.  The Meetup was aiming to provide the Insights and perspectives giving a clear vision of the future of Agritech, Sustainability and the disruption in the FMCG sector. WorkupAgri Accelerator Program is a 6-month accelerator aiming to boost agritech and sustainability startups torwards growth. It is a local program focused on Turkey, but the impact is global.

Agritech Meetup started with Hackquarters Founder Kaan Akın’s speech, where he emphasized the significance of innovation ecosystems to achieve sustainable and healthy lives. “At Hackquarters, we are making you grow by engaging with innovation ecosystems by providing you with the right connections to create more impact.”

Following Kaan Akın, Kerem Akıner, Department Manager of Agricultural Finance Marketing at İş Bank, delivered a Keynote Speech on Agritech Perspective of Işbank, and shared the vision of the bank about the agricultural and financial business. “We are an agile tribe of İş Bank. In line with our sustainable finance and responsible banking approach, we evaluate cost-effective financing opportunities for sustainability loans and services in all segments.

We have a real-time connection with the sector. Prioritizing agriculture, entrepreneurship, and sustainability, we came up with the idea of  WorkupAgri Acceleration Program implemented in partnership with Hackquarters, where we’re suppprting 6 startups to digitalize the agricultural sector and generate greater value together.”

A Keynote speaker Yves Filipucci, VP of Digital Transformation - Eurasia & Middle East at The Coca-Cola Company touched the topics crutial for the Agriculture in general and delivered a keynote on Digital Transformation in FMCG Industry. “FMCG world is switching from offline to online. Digital transformation is disrupting the way we do business, re-inventing an increasingly digital world, so we decided to implement a dual strategy: Present-Forward and Future-Back. Present-Forward is the defensive one to digitize our existing customer base; Future-Back is the offensive to expand to new customer-centric digital business models. 

We need an inside-out innovation to execute the dual strategy successfully. Here where we startt our End-to-End Transformation Journey for 2030. Inside-Out Innovation includes culture, digital route-to-market, digital production, connected planning, and new generation fulfillment. Present-Forward strategies consist of our actions in B2C, e-B2B, Digital Commerce, and Smart Coolers, whereas future-back targets physical experience, the business of experience, and hyper-personalization.”

The Meetup was concluded by the Fireside Chat on the Investment Strategies for Agritech and Sustainability Startups, moderated by Kaan Akın, with Ezechi Britton, Founding Member Principal & CTO at Impact X Capital, and Domagoj Oreb, Managing Partner at Feelsgood VC as the speakers. 

Looking at Agritech and Foodtech,  AgFunder’s latest annual Agrifoodtech Investment Report recorded $51.7 billion in total worldwide venture funding for startups in these segments in FY 2021, up 85% from $27.8 billion in FY 2020. Increased investment in Agritech sector suggests its growth potential. Domagoj added, “I believe investments will proceed to grow, but not exponentially. There is an increasing interest in agriculture, but I think it is a bit overperformed, and it is a little bit of a bubble.” 

Ezechi added, “I agree with Domagoj. There was a massive explosion in the capital in agritech last year. It will calm down, and we will start to focus more on some of the other issues like supply chain, energy, fertilizers, and net-zero emission. When the topic comes to the changes in procedures in food production,” Ezechi underlined, “There will be a very powerful shift to locally-produced foods. We are forseeing the solutions like vertical farming; considering the paradigm shift in the supply chain.”

At the end Domagoj shared his perspective on Agritech and perspectives of investment: “I want to mention one more challenge. We learned last eight years that there is a lot of technology around Agritech, but farmers are not adopting them rapidly. The resistance is a big challenge that prevents more effective production processes in the agricultural sector.”

Total demand is expected to rise 70 percent by 2050, and current growth rates in agriculture are not sufficient to meet this goal. Agriculture sector faces even greater challenges and problems cased by climate change. This is when the impact of entrepreneurs and innovators might be crucial from reshaping agricultural production, and diversification of value chain, up to waste disposal. 

Read More