It’s been almost 9 weeks since Jacqui and I landed in Silicon Valley. It’s been a busy two months.

When we first arrived, our focus was on building up the Meteoroid Program and supporting early stage Kiwi tech companies begin their journey here. Our work with the International team at the Plug and Play Tech Center has made that mission possible. Hat doffed then to Yael Oppenheimer and Jupe Tan for their unstinting support. It’s a true partnership which has been recognised by the Plug and Play team on their recently updated website.

Kiwi start-ups looking at establishing a presence here will shortly receive an additional major boost. On 1 October, New Zealand Trade & Enterprise are establishing a formal presence at Plug and Play. The kākā has well and truly landed.

The Plug and Play Tech Center - Wharf42's home in Sunnyavle

The Plug and Play Tech Center – Wharf42’s home in Sunnyavle

Adiba Barney and Bill Reichert’s visit to New Zealand back in May had raised some other interesting possibilities for our time here. On several occasions during that visit, Adiba & Bill both said that New Zealand should be taking a more prominent thought leadership role in the global AgTech space. Wharf42’s investment in WNT Ventures, the Bay of Plenty-based tech incubator reinforced that potential. It was a call that they repeated when we all met up for dinner in Palo Alto a few weeks ago.

It’s a view that seems to be gaining some traction back home. I was pleased to read David Downs (GM Services, NZTE) article on the subject of innovation in NZ via the Idealog website last week. I quote from David’s article,

I see the marriage of clever technology and our traditional strengths as a nation as a huge benefit, not something to be shy of or coy about. AgTech builds on our amazing history as an innovative farming nation and adds clever technology smarts, opening up great opportunities’.

There has been this rather sterile debate in New Zealand about whether the country’s true potential can be met by moving away from the primary sector to focus instead on areas such as ICT. I, for one, do not recognise this disconnect. The future of farming is tied very much down to advances in both innovation and technology. It should be a space we excel in on the global stage.

What this has all meant of course is that over the past few weeks, Jacqui and I have been connecting with a large number of AgTech entrepreneurs and AgTech investors in the Valley. The scale of engagement has taken up significant time reflecting the growing interest in the space. To put a $ value on that (everything in Silicon Valley is measured by a $ value!), AgFunder’s AgTech Investment Report for 2014 revealed that AgTech funding had a record breaking year with $2.36 billion raised across 264 financing deals.

Last month, AgFunder provided their first half-year investment report for AgTech in 2015. In the first six months of the year, over $2.03 billion had been invested by the venture community. That’s some increase.

From precision agriculture to biotech to drones, venture capitalists actively invested in companies set on revolutionizing how we grow, produce, and distribute food around the world. And how much of that investment went into New Zealand-based AgTech businesses? Mmmmm.

Labor Day in the US is generally recognised as signalling the end of summer and the start of the fall. For Jacqui and me, it means that our time here on this visit is coming to an end. We have just two weeks left to complete the different milestones we set up for ourselves when we arrived.

It’s important to us that the relationships we have built with the AgTech folks here have a lasting effect back home. That’s the one milestone we have yet to nail down.

You can follow Wharf42 in Silicon Valley on Twitter at @Wharf42HQ