Monday, September 21, 2020

Venture Capital: Berlin-Based Ag Startup Raises $170m in First Close of Series C Round

From AgFunder News, September 17:

Infarm raises $170m in first close of Series C
Infarm, a Berlin-based startup putting micro-vertical farms in urban locations like supermarkets, hospitals, and restaurants, has raised $170 million in the first close of its Series C round. The company expects the round to surpass $200 million at final close.

Led by LGT Lightstone — an investment vehicle owned by the Princely House of Liechtenstein — this first close includes participation from Hanaco, Bonnier, Haniel, and Latitude, and was supported by existing Infarm investors Atomico, TriplePoint Capital, Mons Capital, and Astanor Ventures.
With a mix of equity and debt financing, the fresh capital infusion brings Infarm’s total funding to date to more than $300 million.

Cloud connected vertical farms
Founded in 2013 by Osnat Michaeli and brothers Erez and Guy Galonska, Infarm says the investment will be used to expand its global farming network, and to complete the development of a new generation of vertical cloud-connected farms. The company hopes these will be capable of generating the crop-equivalent of acres of farmland. Focus will also turn to amplifying the diversity of produce currently available through vertical farming.

By 2025, Infarm is now pledging that its operations will reach more than 5 million square feet to become the largest distributed farming network in the world. Earlier this year, the startup outlined its regional expansion plans for countries like Canada and Japan to AFN, and the company has since looked unfazed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

In fact, CEO Erez thinks the pandemic has “put a global spotlight on the urgent agricultural and ecological challenges of our time,” heightening awareness of the need for hyperlocal supply chains. “At Infarm,” he says, “we believe there’s a better, healthier way to feed our cities: increasing access to fresh, pure, sustainable produce, grown as close as possible to people.”

In the past year, the startup has formed new partnerships with retailers like Albert Heijn in the Netherlands, Aldi Süd in Germany, Canada’s Empire Company, Japan’s Kinokuniya, and Kroger in the US, driving market expansion beyond its initial core markets of Germany, France, Luxembourg, and Switzerland....