Alexander Zemlianichenko / AP

Plenty, a South San Francisco-based indoor vertical farming startup, has raised $200 million in Series B funding at what Axios has learned is a pre-money valuation north of $300 million. SoftBank Vision Fund led the round, and was joined by Eric Schmidt's Innovation Endeavors, Jeff Bezos' Bezos Expeditions, Kirenaga Partners, DCM, Data Collective and Finistere Ventures.

  • Bigger than it seems: This is basically a shock-and-awe sort of transaction, aimed squarely at rival vertical farming upstarts like Bowery and Freight Farms. A source says that the deal includes pre-commitments for a subsequent round on top of the $200 million — both from participants and some who couldn't get Series B allocations — which would include hundreds of millions of "non-dilutive global expansion capital."
  • Record harvest: This appears to be the largest-ever VC financing for an agricultural tech company.
  • Bottom line: "[SoftBank's Masa] Son is particularly interested in how Plenty can help nations grow sufficient food to support the population. His Vision Fund backers include sovereign wealth funds from the Middle East, where drought, population growth and a lack of arable land are fueling concerns about food shortages and political instability." — Selina Wang, Bloomberg

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In photos: Virginians line up for hours on first day of early voting

Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

In some parts of Virginia, people waited in line up to four hours to cast their ballots on the first day of early voting, according to the Washington Post.

The big picture: The COVID-19 pandemic seems to already have an impact on how people cast their votes this election season. As many as 80 million Americans are expected to vote early, by mail or in person, Tom Bonier, CEO of TargetSmart, a Democratic political data firm, told Axios in August.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4:30 p.m. ET: 30,306,469 — Total deaths: 948,147— Total recoveries: 20,626,515Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4:30 p.m. ET: 6,705,114 — Total deaths: 198,197 — Total recoveries: 2,540,334 — Total tests: 92,163,649Map.
  3. Politics: In reversal, CDC again recommends coronavirus testing for asymptomatic people.
  4. Health: Massive USPS face mask operation called off The risks of moving too fast on a vaccine.
  5. Business: Unemployment drop-off reverses course 1 million mortgage-holders fall through safety netHow the pandemic has deepened Boeing's 737 MAX crunch.
  6. Education: At least 42% of school employees are vulnerable.

Court battles shift mail-in voting deadlines in battleground states

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Michigan joins Pennsylvania in extending mail-in ballot deadlines by several days after the election, due to the coronavirus pandemic and expected delays in U.S. Postal Service.

The latest: Michigan Court of Claims Judge Cynthia Stephens ruled that all ballots postmarked before Nov. 2 must be counted, so long as they arrive in the mail before election results are certified. Michigan will certify its general election results on Nov. 23.