Startup Genome ranks Vancouver, Toronto-Waterloo among top global AgTech, new food ecosystems

Vancouver came ninth, while Toronto-Waterloo finished 11th.

Startup Genome has published its first AgTech and New Food report, naming two of Canadian ecosystems to its list of the best 35 cities and regions for AgTech and “new food” startups in the world.

The Startup Genome report considers technologies that improve agricultural efficiency and sustainability, apps and services that provide access to food, food processing tech, and next-generation foods under the broader category of “AgTech and New Food.” This framing includes everything from farm management software to vertical farming firms, food delivery platforms, meal kit startups, ghost kitchens, cultivated meat companies, and more.

No other Canadian startup ecosystems cracked Startup Genome’s top 35.

Vancouver ranked ninth overall, while the Toronto-Waterloo corridor, which Startup Genome groups together as a single ecosystem, stacks up at 11th, according to the report. Notably, no Prairie-based startup ecosystems cracked Startup Genome’s list.
 

Alberta and Saskatchewan are known in part for their AgTech prowess, housing AgTech investors like Emmertech and The51’s Food and AgTech Fund, and companies like Precision AI, Greeneye Technology, and Provision. However no cities in either province managed to make Startup Genome’s top 35 ecosystems in the world.

This is perhaps due to the report’s methodology, which involves merging two often separate sectors in AgTech with companies operating in the food delivery space—which can be considered under the category of retail, and where Vancouver and Toronto-Waterloo have advantages over other Canadian cities from a market size standpoint.

Startup Genome ranks the world’s strongest AgTech and new food startup ecosystems according to six different factors: performance, funding, startup experience, knowledge, talent, and focus.

Vancouver’s AgTech ecosystem is headlined by players like crop management platform Semios, which raised $100 million earlier this year, and crop data collection and analytics company Terramera. The city also serves as home to food-focused tech startups like meal kit company Fresh Prep, which closed a $21 million Series B round in September, and corporate catering firm Foodee, which was acquired last year by Sodexo. Unfortunately, the report’s data on Vancouver is limited given that the city is not a member of Startup Genome.

RELATED: Toronto-Waterloo rises in Startup Genome’s 2021 global ecosystem rankings as Vancouver falls

Meanwhile, Toronto-Waterloo plays host to a wide range of startups in the AgTech and food tech-related sectors, including farm management software firm IntelliCulture, predictive analytics platform Ukko Agro, inventory monitoring startup BinSentry, food ordering and mobile pickup app Ritual, meal kit delivery company Spatula Foods, and foodservice firm KitchenMate.

According to Startup Genome, Toronto-Waterloo has particular sub-sector strengths in AI, big data, and analytics, as well as life sciences. The ecosystem saw $2.3 billion USD in total early-stage funding in 2021, far more than the global average of $548 million, according to the report. Startup Genome values the Toronto-Waterloo corridor at $20.8 billion overall, surpassing the global average of $13.68 billion.

In terms of AgTech and new food, specifically, Vancouver and Toronto-Waterloo ranked near the very top in terms of performance, with Toronto-Waterloo earning a 10 out of 10, narrowly edging out Vancouver, which nabbed a nine.

The report ranked Vancouver closer to the middle of the pack in terms of funding, startup experience, and knowledge, three factors where it was beaten handedly by Toronto-Waterloo.

RELATED: Three Canadian regions ranked among the best global cleantech ecosystems by Startup Genome

However, Vancouver outperformed Toronto-Waterloo heavily in terms of talent and focus, where Toronto-Waterloo received a one out of 10, according to the report.

According to Startup Genome, the top five AgTech and new food ecosystems in the world are Silicon Valley, New York City, London, Tel Aviv-Jerusalem, and Denver-Boulder, respectively.

Vancouver and Toronto-Waterloo’s AgTech and new food rankings contrast with how the two ecosystems fared in Startup Genome’s overall rankings, where Toronto-Waterloo is ranked much more highly. According to Startup Genome’s 2021 report, Toronto-Waterloo sits 14, after rising four spots from 18 the year prior, while Vancouver fell from 25 to 29.

Toronto-Waterloo and Vancouver also recently performed well from a cleantech standpoint, finishing at and 16, respectively. Startup Genome’s top 35 cleantech list also featured a third Canadian entrant in Calgary, which took the 26 spot.

Image courtesy Unsplash.

Josh Scott

Josh Scott

Josh Scott is a BetaKit staff writer who loves to tell Canadian business and tech stories. His coverage is more complete than his moustache.

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