Berlin-based urban farming startup Infarm has received a rousing endorsement for its vertical, indoor farms in the form of cash. Like, lots of cash.
Balderton Capital was the leading investor in a Series A funding round, with other names such as Mons Investments, Cherry Ventures, and LocalGlobe claiming their stake in the promising indoor farming company. The round brings Infarm’s total funding to date to $35 million, and they plan on using the new capital to expand their international footprint in Paris, Copenhagen, London, and other German cities while improving upon their Berlin-based R&D headquarters.
The goal: 1,000 Infarm vertical farms in operation globally by 2019’s end.
Here’s how Infarm works. They conceived and control the glass-walled ‘vertical indoor farms’, allowing clients such as grocery stores and restaurants to place the Infarm incubator in their business. From there customer can pick their own herbs, lettuce, or other vegetables out for themselves, much like they would with any other fruit or vegetable. The difference is that they know Infarm produce is guaranteed fresh because they are picking the produce or herb from the incubator in which it’s grown.
Infarm’s techs and agricultural experts can manage their modules remotely, taking maintenance issues out of the hands of clients while using A.I. and a mass of analytical data to ensure that the produce is being grown as near to perfect as possible.
We collect 50,000 data points throughout a plant’s lifetime, Erez Galonska, cofounder and CTO explained, each farm acts as a data pipeline, sending information on plant growth to our platform 24/7 allowing it to learn, adjust, and optimize.
Each module can be controlled to establish the perfect amount of light, pH levels, temperature, and nutrients depending on what is being grown. The Infarm modules have been likened to their own contained, highly-controlled ecosystems, and Galonska has said that he hopes to create a world where seasonal changes and drought are irrelevant to one’s ability to produce food.
Infarm’s model makes too much sense for grocery stores, restaurants, and other establishments that waste countless funds throwing out over-ripe produce daily to overlook. It’s no wonder so many investors are willing to put their big bucks behind Galonska and his partners, brother Guy and Osnat Michaeli, and their one-of-a-kind urban farming platform.
The challenge [now] is in finding the right partners. Our initial focus is on supermarket chains, online food retailers, wholesalers, hotels, and other food-related businesses, for whom the superior quality and range of produce — with no fluctuation in costs — makes Infarm an attractive partner, Michaeli explains. In return, we can reintroduce the joy of growing to the urban population.