What are the investors’ investment thesis in agtech?

George Kellerman / June, 2018


George Kellerman, COO and General Partner of Yamaha Motor Ventures explain the themes in agriculture technologies they are looking at where they try to find startups that can automate certain parts of the value chain before moving into full autonomous operations in the agriculture industry.

Video transcript:

What are the investors’ investment thesis in agtech?

The themes in agtech that most investors are looking at today they are often looking for data, analytics, machine learning because a lot of people believe that where the value is. I think we are a long way away from actually seeing the true value potential of artificial intelligence and machine learning. You have to collect data over multiple years.

For example, if you’re looking at one specific period of the year. Let’s say you’re looking at a particular weed and you want to be able to identify it with regularity, you have to be in the field under different light conditions and different geography because that weed is going to look different in different places. You need to be able to look at it over multiple years to see how it evolves over time, to be able to build those algorithms are going take time. It’s important, it’s going to take money and investment but it’s going to take time.

I think the more immediate need is going to be on what we call the medium to low tech mechanization before we even get to full automation and robotics. Think power assist versus robotics, where you’re designing tools and equipment that actually assist the grower or worker in the field to be more productive, where they’re not doing as much manual labor but you’re actually making them more productive before you make that full jump to complete robotics and autonomy. So that is one of the areas that we are looking at is how can we actually automate certain parts of the value chain before we move to full autonomous operations.



  • George Kellerman, Yamaha Motor Ventures
  • June, 2018
  • 1:56
  • Startup Basics, Agtech

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