Upstream Ag Insights - January 15th 2023
Essential news and analysis for agribusiness leaders
Welcome to the 151st Edition of Upstream Ag Insights!
Index for the week:
Mineral Becomes Alphabet (Google) Company
Looking Ahead to the Future for Ag Retail
Activist Investor Jeff Ubben Acquires Stake in Germany’s Bayer
Raising the Flag on Soil Carbon Credits
Terramera Announces Seed Funding for New Subsidiary enrichAg
Corn Yield Record Shattered By Farmer’s 459.51 Dryland Bushels
The Worst Tech Predictions Ever
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1. Mineral Becomes Alphabet (Google) Company - Mineral
After five years incubating our technology at X, Alphabet’s moonshot factory, Mineral is now an Alphabet company. Our mission is to help scale sustainable agriculture. We’re doing this by developing a platform and tools that help gather, organize, and understand never-before known or understood information about the plant world - and make it useful and actionable. Together with our partners across the food production system, we're hopeful that these tools will - over time - drive a deeper understanding of the complex interactions of plant genes, the environment, and farm management practices.
This is notable news out of Alphabet (Google parent company) this week.
I think the first aspect is to acknowledge what it means for a company to graduate out of X, Alphabet’s moonshot factory and into the Alphabet business itself.
X is quite literally where Alphabet attempts to incubate technologies and companies that can “change the world”. It allows Alphabet to build out small (relative to Google for example) bets that could turn into huge impact companies.
Starting in 2017, Mineral was their agriculture focused incubation.
Alphabet only “graduates” these companies once they have proven commercial viability, meaning stand on their own as a successful business unit within the Alphabet business. They are likely to fall under the “Other Bets” business with the likes of Waymo (self driving cars). This business unit generated $753 million in revenue in 2021 for context.
This indicates that it isn’t just some “side project” for Alphabet. Projects simply do not graduate out of X unless there is commercial viability. That’s an indicator that for us in the ag industry, Alphabet is here for a long haul.
What exactly does that look like?