The Signal: Investments in insect monitoring are rising as the field of agricultural technology continues to grow. Tools that use sensor technology to monitor and report on insect populations are becoming increasingly important to farmers around the globe. However, the level of venture investment hasn’t come close to matching the value that these technologies could offer, and competition is extremely low.

AgFunder, a VC fund focused on food and agriculture, keeps a list of AgTech startups, including those in the insect sensing and monitoring space. To date, the 11 companies in that group have received a total of just $8.5m in VC funding, according to Crunchbase. Yet bees alone (which are in danger because of colony collapse caused by climate change, invasive species, and loss of habitat) have been estimated to contribute to between $235B and $577B worth of annual global food production through pollination, while invasive species like the Asian citrus psyllid, or the spotted lanternfly cause an estimated $120B in damages to the environment in the US alone each year.

The Opportunity: Insects play an important role in the health and wellbeing of human civilization, from pollination of crucial crops to the decimation of others. However, the way we deal with insects has been imprecise — spraying pesticides widely, for example. But improvements in sensor technology are changing that, creating opportunities to innovate in areas such as:

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