The Berlin-based indoor farming startup Infarm has raised €88 million in its Series B Round, led by venture capital firm Atomico. The ‘urban farming’ platform closed its biggest financing to date thanks to added participation from existing investors. These included Balderton Capital, Astanor Ventures, and Cherry Ventures. TriplePoint Capital joined the funding as a debt financer.
The AgriTech startup, founded in 2013, has created an ‘urban farming’ platform which is supposedly capable of growing anything from herbs, lettuce, other vegetables, and fruit. The three founders – Osnat Michaeli and brothers Guy and Erez Galonska – have developed special incubators in which the seeds of herbs and vegetables can sprout very quickly thanks to a uniformly humid heat.
Infarm places its modular farms in a variety of customer-facing city locations, such as grocery stores, restaurants, shopping malls, and schools. This enables the end-customer to actually pick the produce themselves.
The distributed system is designed to be infinitely scalable: you simply add more modules, space permitting, whilst the whole thing is cloud-based, meaning the farms can be monitored and controlled from Infarm’s central control centre. Factors such as pH value, temperature and nutrient density are checked and adjusted as necessary to ensure that the plants can grow as well as possible.
It’s this modular, data-driven and distributed approach – a combination of IoT, Big Data and cloud analytics similar to “farming-as-a-service” – that Infarm says sets it apart from competitors.
Infarm Makes a Difference
The three founders want to tackle a growing problem on a global scale.
The consumption of fresh produce poses a major environmental threat to the planet. The demand for off-season products, long transport routes and overstrained farmland are not only damaging to the environment but also the taste and nutritional content of the food.
The carbon footprint of food currently contributes to 17 percent of total global emissions. In addition, plants lose 45 percent of their nutritional value by the time they have arrived in the supermarket.
Currently, the startup cooperates with 25 major food retailers such as Edeka, Metro, Intermarche, Auchan, Selgros and Amazon Fresh in France, Germany, Switzerland and Luxembourg.
Overall, it has installed more than 200 in-store farms, as well as 150 farms in logistics centres. The company employs 250 people and harvests more than 150,000 plants monthly.
The huge funding raised by Infarm will go towards the overall expansion of the company. Infarm plans to launch its product in the UK in September this year, and also hopes to be present in the US and Japan in the near future. The R&D, operational, and commercial side of the company will also expand thanks to the investment.
Erez Galonska, Infarm’s Co-founder and CEO said that “Infarm has an ambitious vision to feed the cities of tomorrow by bringing farms closer to the consumer, and with this round of funding we aim to grow our presence further. Sowing the seeds for a delicious and sustainable food system in urban centres across North America, Asia, and Europe. We are proud and excited to welcome Atomico to the Infarm journey.”