Urban agriculture start-up Infarm raises an additional $ 100 million to expand
Starting indoor farming Infarm raised an additional $ 100 million to expand into more food as the coronavirus pandemic increases interest in growing produce in urban areas.
Infarm, which already grows salads and herbs, wants to strengthen its presence in existing markets, hire more people and venture into new crops including mushrooms, tomatoes and peppers, CEO Erez Galonska said. . Berlin-based company received additional funding from existing investors on top of the $ 170 million raised in September.
Vertical farming targets growing food using a fraction of the land and water needed for conventional farming, without the need for pesticides. Growing crops on vertically stacked shelves in cities has attracted special attention during the pandemic due to concerns about food security, safety and local self-reliance. Yet the challenges include reducing energy costs and diversifying products, which so far have largely focused on leafy greens.
“The idea is that in the medium term, we will cultivate the whole basket of fruits and vegetables,” Galonska said in an interview. “This will be a pivotal moment for the industry, but also for the people who consume the food. We will be able to offer a more diverse basket, a premium basket, and hopefully change the way people eat and think about food. “
Infarm is present in 10 countries and has agreements with retailers like Kroger Co., Amazon Fresh, Metro AG and Marks & Spencer Group Plc. It provides modular units that grow food in supermarket aisles and inside restaurants. Crop diversification will help speed the shift to plant-based diets, Galonska said.
The new money, a mix of debt and equity, came from companies such as Hanaco Ventures and Atomico. This brings the total funding to more than $ 400 million, making Infarm one of the most funded vertical agricultural startups in the world, according to researcher Dealroom.
Infarm is also increasing its production by building large-scale farms that use technology to collect data and better grow food. It is targeting 100 “culture centers” which will cover 500,000 square meters (5.4 million square feet) by 2025. This will allow it to expand into new markets.
Galonska declined to comment on a Sky News report that Infarm seeks to raise about An additional $ 250 million. The company is keeping its funding options open, but has no plans to go public at this time, he said.
– With the help of Rob Dawson