Infarm has secured an €88 million (about $100 million) investment in an Atomico-led round, with existing backers including Cherry Ventures, TriplePoint Capital and Balderton Capital supporting the fundraise, per reports. The Berlin-based urban farming platform has earmarked the capital for R&D investments, as well as its expansion in Europe and the US, where it is reportedly in discussions with supermarkets and restaurant chains. The company combines vertical farming with data-driven remote-controlled maintenance and claims to be around 400 times more efficient than soil-based agriculture, while farming without pesticides.
The investment underscores investors' interest in the space and comes just a day after Ocado, a British online grocer and technology business, splashed £17 million on a joint venture with Priva and US-based 80 Acres Farms, while also acquiring the majority of Jones Food Company, one of Europe's largest vertical farms. Add to that GV's $90 million investment in New York-based Bowery and the Vision Fund-led $200 million Series B for Bay Area-based Plenty and its emerging global appeal becomes apparent.
This should not surprise, as the UN estimates that each year around 83 million people are added to the global population, which is expected to increase to 9.8 billion by 2050. Feeding an additional 2.2 billion people will require a radical recalibration of the current thinking. To confront such a monumental task, the introduction of efficient and sustainable methods that also adapt to climate change and the emergence of megacities, which the UN expects to number more than 43 across the planet by 2030, will be vital. And startups will be instrumental in the process.
While the vast majority of VCs investing in these companies are still US-based, some European investors are beginning to gain traction. Given the sheer magnitude of some of the problems stemming from population growth, urbanization and environmental issues, the investment appeal for firms focused on the confluence of farming, food and infrastructure appears likely to increase in prominence.