In our inaugural ASEAN agrifoodtech startup investment report we reveal the categories and investors driving this region's nascent industry. A total of $423 million was invested in startups innovating across Southeast Asia's food and agriculture segments in 2019. While that may seem low compared to more matrue markets like the US and Europe, it represents a 400% increase since 2014. And this year is set to surpass that with investment already estimated at around $350 million in the first half of 2020.
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Most startup investment entered downstream in the value chain, closer to the consumer. Many investors are attracted by the opportunities to serve the region's growing middle classes with convenience and high-end foods, and to provide retailers with the tools they need to better serve these consumers.
Upstream, innovative food startups gathered pace. This was particularly the case in Singapore, which is developing as a hub for alternative protein startups and companies that are reformulating food ingredients to make them healthier.