Opportunities in Ag and Food

$48 Billion

Corporate R&D expenditures in ag & food globally

$52 Billion

Venture capital investments in ag and food startups globally

Rank of Colorado

#5 Among agtech and new food startup ecosystems globally

Industry Outlook and Innovation Trends

  • Investment in innovation in agriculture and food is at an all time high.
  • Innovation in ag and food builds on a foundation of government-funded R&D and extension at the USDA and state universities like CSU.
  • Corporate R&D has grown steadily for decades. Projecting from latest available data, corporate R&D in ag and food is estimated at $48 billion globally in 2021.
  • The game changer comes from venture capital investment in ag and food. It surged from almost nothing in the 2000s to over $52 billion globally by 2021, according to AgFunder.
people at food tasting event

Venture Capital Investment and Startups Tend to Cluster Regionally

According to a recent global analysis of agtech and new food startup ecosystems

“The top five Agtech & New Food ecosystems are Silicon Valley, New York City, London, Tel Aviv-Jerusalem, and Denver-Boulder

“Among the most striking findings of the Global Agtech & New Food Ranking is the presence of Denver-Boulder in the top five ecosystems.”

“The Colorado ecosystem ranks #27 in the world overall but #5 in Agtech & New Food, a reflection of its specialized knowledge and focus on the sector.”

spur building

The Colorado Ag & Food Innovation Cluster

Colorado is a global leader in ag and food innovation. When agtech and foodtech emerged as an investment sector in the early 2010s, Colorado was already at the forefront. The faculty founders of the Agribusiness and Food Innovation Management program highlighted this in an influential report on “The Emergence of an Innovation Cluster in the Agricultural Value Chain along Colorado’s Front Range.

  • Colorado’s innovation cluster in ag and food is concentrated geographically in metro Denver and the northern Front Range. The CSU Spur campus is strategically located at the heart of this innovation cluster.
  • Colorado’s innovation cluster is anchored by major institutions, such as CSU, the University of Colorado in Boulder, and federal research labs of the USDA and DOE, as well as corporations like Molson Coors, Danon, JBS, Ardent Mills, Leprino Foods, and Nutrien.
  • According to a recent global analysis of agtech and new food startup ecosystems, Denver ranks #5 in the world after Silicon Valley, New York City, London, and Tel Aviv-Jerusalem.

Areas Where Colorado Leads in Ag and Food Innovation

  • water management and irrigation technologies
  • animal health and nutrition
  • agricultural information and data systems
  • controlled environment agriculture including vertical agriculture
  • commodity processing and marketing
  • food manufacturing and consumer packaged goods
  • beer, wine, & spirits
  • natural, organic, and local foods
  • “Fast & Fresh” food service franchises

Possible Career Tracks for Graduates

  • Given industry trends and a prime location at the heart of Colorado’s ag and food innovation cluster, students coming out of the Agribusiness and Food Innovation Management program enjoy multiple possible career tracks.
  • Graduates can launch their own startup. .
  • Students can join innovation leadership teams at one of the companies they meet while in the program.
  • Graduates can accelerate their career as a champion of innovation within their current employer.
  • Graduates can find positions with service providers, investment funds, foundations, public agencies, or academic institutions, driving innovation in agriculture and food