Our work in Food & Agriculture
A working thesis for how we can facilitate sustainable mass nutrition.
We see food and agriculture as a group of technologies and markets that stretches well beyond nutrition and remote monitoring. Powered by sunlight, agriculture has the potential to be clean and autonomous, to be our main source of medicine and fuel, to support sustainable population growth. Agriculture is really the systematic co-employment of multiple biological components, connected in a form of circuitry we usually refer to as an “ecosystem”, to create things we need.
We do not limit agriculture to the field: there is a credible and valuable opportunity to spread it to the oceans, to the stratosphere, to the very insides of human beings.
For a sector of its size and value, its importance to the long term viability of humans on earth, it is reasonable to describe agriculture as under-innovated. This is a sector in which competition has been limited by regulation, slim margins, capital intensity and rigid consumer attitudes. Oligopolies exist at each step of the supply chain, reaching incredible scale in order to be profitable, and then deploying that superior size aggressively.
Many of these same factors are true of other sectors, such as pharmaceuticals, and yet the pharmaceutical sector has seen far greater levels of incursion and value creation by small, fast-moving biotechs, far greater capital inflows and much higher levels of acquisition of the smaller by the larger. We believe that this is partly attributable to the fact that the importance of multidisciplinarity in agriculture is often underestimated. To work on soil alone requires understanding of multiple different types of organism, of organic chemistry, of plant science. And this is before you attempt to alter it in any way, employing multiple engineering-based technologies, or by trying to relate your outcome to the human, or before you attempt to navigate the byzantine alleyways of the agricultural market.
Our comparative advantage is in taking a systematic, sector-wide view, understanding regulated markets from first principles. We are world-leading in facilitating the creation of cutting edge, multidisciplinary teams from wherever they are in the world. We have a track record in soil and in bioproduction. Come and join us as we build holy grails in the agricultural sector.
At DSV we publish very early thesis with the aim of starting the conversation and we are at the very beginning of our journey into food & agriculture. There are likely to be very naive elements in what is covered above and we encourage you to get in touch and work with us on building out a better future.