It might be an inconvenient truth, but there is no getting around the fact that data drives investment decisions. That’s according to Antony Yousefian, venture capital investor, founder, and partner at early-stage venture capital (VC) firm, The First Thirty.

Cutting his teeth over a decade-long career in investment banking, Yousefian has seen firsthand how capital and investment allocation is focused on risk minimization, which is invariably supported by data.

“In all investment decision making, if something doesn’t have the data, it’s​​ ​perceived ​as higher risk, and as a result, it likely receives less money,” he said. “For food systems innovation and nature-based investment, data is the problem. We struggle to understand and quantify the value of nature, so the money hasn’t flown to the sector in proportion to the gravity of the issues at play.

“So, no – when you look at data and dollars, it’s not a chicken and egg scenario. The egg comes first, and data is the egg.” This poses obvious challenges for early-stage agrifood tech startups and innovators, but it’s here that Yousefian sees venture capital playing a pivotal role.