Nearly $1.9 billion of global venture capital was invested in indoor farming in 2020, nearly tripling over 2019, according to PitchBook data. With those figures in mind, here is a look into some recent developments:
BOWERY FARMING RAISES $300M
New York-based indoor vertical farming startup Bowery Farming raised $300 million in its latest funding round, valuing the company at $2.3 billion, reported Reuters (May 25). The latest funding round marks the largest vertical farming deal on record, based on previous deals listed by Pitchbook.
The company has two commercial farms in New Jersey and Maryland and its leafy greens are sold in 850 grocery stores. Bowery CEO and Founder Irving Fain noted in the Reuters article that the products are the same or lower in price than their organic rivals but declined to say if the company was selling them at a profit.
Fain added that the new funds will be used to expand farms across the U.S., look for global expansion opportunities, and develop new crops and technology to grow things like strawberries, tomatoes and carrots indoors and near consumers.
GROCERS INCREASE DISTRIBUTION FROM AEROFARMS
Whole Foods, Amazon Fresh, and FreshDirect will be receiving more greens from indoor vertical farmer Aerofarms. Whole Foods will be doubling its product offering, while at Amazon Fresh, the company has expanded from one to five distribution centers. Aerofarms also expanded from one to three distribution centers with FreshDIrect, now offering same-day delivery through FreshDirect’s Express service.
Additionally, AeroFarms is executing a pilot initiative in the Mid-Atlantic region at select stores in Virginia where AeroFarms recently broke ground on its latest indoor vertical farm in Danville, Virginia, which will be the world’s largest indoor aeroponic indoor vertical farm at 136,000 square feet.
WORLD’S LARGETS INDOOR VERTICAL FARM BREAKS GROUND
The aforementioned aeroponic indoor farm by AeroFarms will be coming online in the second quarter of 2022. It will be the “largest and most technologically advanced aeroponic indoor vertical farm in the world,” per a company press release.
It will feature AeroFarms’ proprietary agSTACK technology, creating a fully connected and digitally controlled farm that integrates hardware, automation, intelligent controls and sensors, machine learning, machine vision, supervisory control and data acquisition, and manufacturing execution systems to create a strong data loop.
The farm is strategically located in close proximity to over 1,000 food retailers in the region and will be able to provide access to 50 million people. “This new facility represents an inflection point in our growth trajectory as we scale our technology and expand our retail distribution footprint and customer reach,” said co-founder and CEO David Rosenberg in the press release.