Venture Capital: European Vertical Farming Startup Infarm Raises $200M, Including From The Qatar Wealth Fund

Infarm’s vertical farming technology uses 95% less water, 90% less transport and zero chemical pesticide.

Infarm, the fast-growing Dutch vertical farming startup, raised a $200 million Series D round that launched it into ‘unicorn’ status. The Qatar Investment Authority, Partners in Equity, Hanaco, Atomico, Lightrock, and Bonnier and other existing and new investors participated in the round, which valued Infarm “at well over $1 billion,” and positioned it to expand its existing markets and enter new markets in the Asia-Pacific and the Middle East. (Bloomberg)

Infarm uses cloud computing to manage the indoor production of a range of herbs and salad greens in what are called “Growing Centers” comprising automated modules, each of 25 sq. m. These flagship growing centers are located close to consumption centers, even in urban areas, to minimize the impact of transportation emissions and cost.

Because of its vertical format, a typical growing center can generate as much produce as 10,000 sq m. of soil-based farmland. Currently Infarm offers a range of 40 types of produce, but plans to boost this number to 75 by next year. Infarm also builds smaller in-store farming units for grocery stores.

In 2023, the startup will open its first Growing Centre in Qatar, where it will grow tomatoes, strawberries and other fruiting crops besides herbs, salads and leafy greens.

By 2030, the company intends to grow the entire fruit and vegetable basket.

Infarm is a solution to a broken food system

“The current food system is broken. Vertical farming and the Infarm system provide a sustainable solution to feed a growing population in a way that’s much better for the planet and is far more resilient and flexible in the face of climate uncertainty and supply chain disruption,” Erez Galonska, co-founder and CEO. “Building a global farming network of our climate-resilient vertical farms is a core mission at Infarm, which is why we’re excited to announce this latest funding round.”

Farms are equipped with sophisticated sensors that collect billions of data points from the Infarm growing network to the company’s cloud (the “farm brain”) where the data is analyzed by its crop science team using AI and proprietary, patented technology.

“In the last three years, through the analyses made possible by the ‘farm brain’, the company reduced production costs by 80% and improved yield by more than 250%,” Infarm said in a statement.

Related Story: [COP26] Scottish Vertical Farms Startup IGS Nabs $57M

Images: Infarm

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