Infarm's cloud-connected agritech farming facilities

By William Smith
Berlin-based Infarm creates “growing environments” close to points of purchase or consumption, such as restaurants and supermarkets...

As recent and ongoing climate emergencies in the breadbaskets of the world, such as the California wildfires, have shown, urgent solutions are needed for food security.

Berlin-based Infarm creates “growing environments” close to points of purchase or consumption, such as restaurants and supermarkets. A cloud-based system gathers data points about growing plants, applying big data, IoT and cloud analytics technologies to improve the growth of future generations.

The company operates in 10 countries and 30 cities, harvesting over 500,000 plants monthly, and partners with leading retailers such as Marks & Spencers, Aldi and more.

Its vertical farming approach, which involves growing crops in stacked layers via soil-free techniques such as hydroponics, aquaponics and aeroponics, allows it to use 99.5% less space than soil-based agriculture and 95% less water.

The company yesterday announced a $170mn Series C round, which sent total funding to over $300mn. The round was led by LGT Lighthouse, with participation from Hanaco, Bonnier, Haniel, Latitude, Atomico, TriplePoint Capital, Mons Capital and Astanor Ventures.

In a press release, Erez Galonska, Co-founder and CEO of Infarm, said: "The coronavirus pandemic has put a global spotlight on the urgent agricultural and ecological challenges of our time. At Infarm, we believe there's a better, healthier way to feed our cities: increasing access to fresh, pure, sustainable produce, grown as close as possible to people. 

“[...] this investment will help us make a truly global impact through our network, preserving the thousands of acres of land, millions of liters of water and ultimately change the way people grow, eat and think about food."

The company said it would use the capital to invest in infrastructure, research and development, and hiring talent, with facility space expected to grow 10 times in the next five years.

Dharmash Mistry, Partner of LGT Lightstone, said: "We are excited to partner with the Infarm team to accelerate their urban vertical farm vision, ultimately creating a more sustainable food system for a growing population. Fresher, tastier and healthier food using 95% less land and water, no pesticides and 90% less transport. With over $1bn of customer demand, partnerships with 17 of the top 50 global grocers, Infarm is set to revolutionise the market behind a unique 'demand led' modular business model. We look forward to working with Erez, Guy and Osnat to create a better, healthier, and tastier future."

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