Thursday, December 13, 2018

GV, Google’s Venture Capital Arm, Leads $90 Million Round For Indoor Farming Startup, Bowery

A quick look at the biz.
From Xconomy:

Farm Startup Bowery Lands $90M to Take Indoor-Grown Greens National
Foodies in New York City may not realize it, but some of the tasty kale, bok choy, and other leafy greens they buy trace their origins to an industrial park in New Jersey. The produce grown by indoor farming startup Bowery never sees soil or natural sunlight before making its way to select restaurants and grocery stores in the Big Apple.

Now Bowery aims to give the rest of the country a taste. The New York-based company has raised $90 million in Series B financing to support more of its indoor farms across the country. GV, Google’s venture capital arm, led the investment.

Bowery says it will use the new capital for “multiple farms” that it aims to open by the end of 2019. It isn’t yet saying where they will be located. The company says the new funding will also support new hires and additional investments in the technology used on its farms.

“We plan to continue to build additional farms to scale our operation, keeping them all close to the point of consumption in densely populated areas in order to deliver Bowery produce at the height of freshness and flavor within a few days of harvest,” Bowery co-founder and CEO Irving Fain said via e-mail.

Indoor agriculture accounted for $146 million in agtech venture investments in 2018 spread across 29 deals globally, according to a report released last week by Finistere Ventures based on data from PitchBook. Adam Bergman, head of Wells Fargo’s agtech and foodtech investment practice, said in the report that indoor farming is growing to meet consumer demand for locally sourced, sustainably produced food.

Bowery got its start in 2015, using a combination of software, sensors, and automation to grow leafy greens and herbs in a controlled indoor environment in an industrial section of Kearny, NJ. Fain has said that the operation requires a fraction of the water needed by conventional agriculture and uses no pesticides. The company developed proprietary software to oversee all aspects of the growing environment.

Last year, Bowery raised $20 million in Series A financing to finance additional R&D and the opening of another indoor farm at the Kearny site. The new farm produces 30 times more compared to the first farm enabling it to increase its distribution in the New York area, Fain said. He wouldn’t say how many people it takes to operate a single Bowery farm. Across the New York headquarters and the two Kearny farms, Fain said Bowery currently employs more than 65, with new hires coming from companies such as Monsanto and Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN)....MORE
Previously in agoraphobia indoor farming:
July 2018 
Is Vertical Farming Really the Future of Agriculture?
January 2018
Bezos/SoftBank-Backed Indoor Farming Powerhouse Plenty Planning for 300 Farms in China
October 2017
Tesla's Former Battery Director Joins Farming Startup—UPDATED
December 2017
"This Is Why Jeff Bezos Is Spending Millions on an Indoor Farming Startup"

December 2017
A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Europe’s Huge New Vertical Farm
December 2015
AeroFarms Raises $20 Million for High-Tech Urban Agriculture
The Other Musk: Overthrow Big Agriculture?