Monday, October 19, 2020

Venture Capital: Bezos-Backed Vertical Farmer Raises Another $140m in Series D round led by Driscoll’s and SoftBank

As noted in July 2019's "U.S. vertical farms are racing against the sun": These are not scrappy little startups, it's big, big money. 

From AgFunder, October 15:

Vertical farming startup Plenty has closed a $140 million Series D round led by existing backer SoftBank and new investor Driscoll’s. This round brings the startup’s total funding to $500 million.

“We looked at other vertical farms, and Plenty’s technology was one of the most compelling systems we’d seen for growing berries,” said J Miles Reiter, chairman and CEO at fruit firm Driscoll’s, in a statement. 

“We got to know Plenty while working on a joint development agreement to grow strawberries. We were so impressed with their technology, we decided to invest.”

The funds will be used to help with Plenty’s expansion plans, which include a series of commercial collaborations with retail group Albertsons and Driscoll’s. The Albertson’s deal was announced earlier this year and will see Plenty’s branded packaged salad greens stocked at 430 Albertson’s stores.

Its partnership with Driscoll’s will involve R&D around strawberry cultivation. Plenty has been working on the fruit — as well as tomatoes and other crop varieties — for a couple of years, according to Nate Storey, the startup’s co-founder and chief science officer....


Driscoll's itself is no slouch. Privately held, it controls around 35% of the U.S. berry biz, ~$2 billion.

Previously on Plenty:
October 2017
Tesla's Former Battery Director Joins Farming Startup—UPDATED
January 2018
Bezos/SoftBank-Backed Indoor Farming Powerhouse Plenty Planning for 300 Farms in China
March 2019
Former Twitter CFO Joins SoftBank-Backed Farming Startup Plenty
March 2020
"SoftBank-Backed Farming Startup Plenty Is In Talks to Raise Cash"
If you are like me, you look back fondly to the days when you woke up hoping to hear about ear rot or vomitoxin in the corn.
But no, it's coronavirus and Softbank for the foreseeable future....

And many more, use the 'search blog' box upper left if interested.