Dec 17, 2021 - Energy & Environment
New venture capital cash for indoor vertical farming
The Europe-based vertical farming startup Infarm has reeled in $200 million to fuel its expansion and entry into new markets.
Driving the news: The Series D round includes investment from Qatar's sovereign wealth fund. The company plans to enter Middle East markets, in addition to expanding in Asia, the U.S., Japan and Europe.
- Plans include a "growing center" in Qatar in 2023 for tomatoes, strawberries, herbs and more.
Why it matters: Indoor, stacked farming holds the promise of more climate-friendly agriculture, avoiding land clearance and enabling food to travel shorter distances.
- "Because crops are grown directly in cities, they ... require 90% fewer food miles to get to consumers’ plates," Infarm said.
The intrigue: Infarm says it's now valued at over $1 billion, which per TechCrunch makes it "Europe’s first vertical farming unicorn."
- It provides 75 types of herbs, salads and leafy greens, and is expanding into dozens more products like peas and cherry tomatoes, the company said.
The big picture: Infarm's growth is part of a wider vertical farming expansion.
- Axios' Bryan Walsh explored it earlier this year in a piece that also notes the challenge of curbing energy needed for indoor growing.
Go deeper: Indoor vertical farming grows up