A joint project between the United States Studies Centre (USSC) and LinkedIn has found that Australia's agricultural technology (AgTech) networks are less dense and less connected to the United States than New Zealand's.  

Using proprietary data from LinkedIn, the research released today uses social network analysis to examine the strength of connections in one of Australia's emerging high-tech, high-growth industries. Dense networks are an essential component of innovation, and Australia is clearly lagging behind its trans-Tasman neighbour. 

Australia is also failing to leverage its relationship with the United States. New Zealand's smaller AgTech industry has denser connections to the US AgTech network than Australia's. The US AgTech market is the largest in the world – estimated to be valued at US$10.2 billion. As it accounts for roughly 65 per cent of global AgTech investment, connections with the US are vital and Australian AgTech is not taking advantage of the strong cultural and economic ties between the two countries as other sectors have.  

The report offers a number of ways that Australia can work to address these shortfalls in what should be a booming future industry. These include implementing mutually-beneficial initiatives with New Zealand to increase foreign venture capital investment in the region generally. 

“Lack of access to funding, customer, supplier or partner networks is one of the often-cited barriers facing Australian startups. This research makes an important contribution to understanding the linkages between Australia and the United States in the emerging AgTech ecosystem.” said Claire McFarland, Director – Innovation and Entrepreneur Program at USSC.

“At LinkedIn, we work with academia, policymakers and economic institutions to deliver data and insights with the aim of creating economic opportunity. We are pleased to support USSC researchers to uncover the strength of connectivity between networks and contribute to the development of Australia's AgTech industry.” said Matt Tindale, Country Manager, LinkedIn Australia and New Zealand.

Key points

  • The US AgTech network is bigger but also denser than Australia’s. The US network is more than three times as interconnected as the Australian network.
  • Australia’s AgTech network is dominated by a few key players. Both US and New Zealand AgTech networks are more evenly distributed.
  • Compare to Australia, New Zealand does more with less. New Zealand’s smaller AgTech network is not only more cohesive and interconnected than its Australian counterpart, but its total number of connections to US networks is on par with Australia’s, despite its smaller market size.
  • The AgTech ecosystem in Sydney is more connected than any other Australian city. While it is unsurprising that Melbourne and Brisbane AgTech networks are smaller than Sydney’s, it is surprising that they are considerably less connected.

View report

Media enquiries

E: elliott.brennan@sydney.edu.au