Infarm, a German urban farming company, has secured $25 million in Series A funding. Balderton Capital led the round with participation from TriplePoint Capital, Mons Investments LLC, Cherry Ventures, QUADIA and LocalGlobe.
Berlin/London, 5th February 2018: Infarm, Europe’s urban farming leader, today announces that it has raised $25m (€20m/£18m) in a Series A round led by Balderton Capital, alongside TriplePoint Capital, and Mons Investments LLC, as well as previous investors Cherry Ventures, QUADIA and LocalGlobe. The round brings the total raised by Infarm to $35m (€24m/£21m), which includes a €2m grant awarded by the European Commission as part of the prestige Horizon 2020 program.
Only 2 years after introducing the concept of in-store farming to the world, Infarm is now operating more than 50 farms across Berlin in supermarket aisles, restaurants kitchens, and distribution warehouses.
“Rather than asking ourselves how to fix the deficiencies in the current supply chain, we wanted to redesign the entire chain from start to finish; Instead of building large-scale farms outside of the city, optimising on a specific yield, and then distributing the produce, we decided it would be more effective to distribute the farms themselves and farm directly where people live and eat,” explains Erez Galonska, Co-Founder and CEO. Infarm has integrated in-store farming into EDEKA and METRO locations, two of Germany’s largest food retailers, where it grows dozens of premium quality herbs and leafy greens, sold at affordable prices. With an output of up to 1,200 plants per month from a single farm unit (2 sqm) Infarm has already enabled some locations to become completely self-sufficient in their herb production.
The distributed farms are connected by Infarm’s central farming platform, creating a first of its kind urban farming network. Each farm is a controlled ecosystem with growing recipes that tailor light, temperature, pH, and nutrients to ensure the maximum natural expression of each plant. “We collect 50,000 data points throughout a plant’s lifetime.” Guy Galonska, Co-Founder and CTO explains, “each farm acts as a data pipeline, sending information on plant growth to our platform 24/7 allowing it to learn, adjust, and optimise.” This forms the bedrock of Infarm’s Farming as a Service offering: the company can personalise its farms to each customer’s unique needs, growing different varieties for different supermarket locations or equalising the flavour of the produce to better suit the taste palate of a customer’s clientele.
With a strong group of food retail and leading culinary partners, Infarm plans to grow its farming services beyond Berlin for the first time. It will launch operations in Paris, London, Copenhagen, and other German cities later this year.
“This is the beginning of the urban farming (r)evolution: it will redefine what it means to eat well, reshape the landscape of cities, and re-empower the people to take ownership of their food,” says Erez Galonska. “Our ambition is to reach cities as far as Seattle in the United States or Seoul, South Korea with our urban farming network.”
Today Infarm’s team is made up of close to 100 ‘Infarmers’ from disciplines such as horticulture, architecture, industrial design, marketing, and machine learning. The new investment will be used to grow Infarm’s team into a global operation and to further develop its 5,000 sqm R&D centre in Berlin. The centre focuses on the promotion of biodiversity and further expanding the company’s product assortment; tomatoes, chillies, a variety of mushrooms, fruits, and flowering vegetables are to be introduced next.
“We bring a world of choice right into your neighbourhood without having to compromise on quality, safety, and taste. Whether that be mint from Peru or an ice-plant from the sandy beaches of Jaffa, by eliminating the distance between farm and fork, we offer produce that has retained all of its nutrients and therefore, intense natural flavour.” says Osnat Michaeli, Co-Founder and CMO.
The company also farms with one of Germany’s most innovative and acclaimed chefs, Tim Raue, growing exotic varieties for ‘Restaurant Tim Raue’ listed as one of “The World’s 50 Best Restaurants”.
“INFARM’s herbs are the most intense and flavourful I have ever gotten! Now I can choose to have any plant from around the world growing just footsteps away from my kitchen” says Tim Raue.
Balderton Capital partner Daniel Waterhouse adds: “Urban living is growing unrelentingly across the world and societies are at a point where they have to confront the big existential questions such as how to feed their growing populations sustainably. Infarm is right at the forefront of a new wave of companies setting out to tackle the inefficiencies in the current food supply chain by making it possible to grow fresh produce right in the heart of our communities. We are delighted to be backing a company whose mission we believe in so passionately.”
Founded in 2013 by Osnat Michaeli and the brothers Erez and Guy Galonska, Infarm combines highly efficient vertical farms with IoT technologies and Data Science, to offer an alternative food system that is resilient, transparent, and affordable. The company distributes its smart modular farms throughout the urban environment to grow fresh produce for the city’s inhabitants. With cutting edge R&D, patented technologies, and a leading multi-disciplinary team, Infarm was founded on a visionary mission: helping cities become self-sufficient in their food production while significantly improving the safety, quality, and environmental footprint of our food.
About Balderton Capital
Balderton Capital is Europe’s largest early stage venture capital investor, focused on European technology companies at Series A. Based in London, the firm manages $2.6bn and invests in entrepreneurs building globally ambitious businesses. Balderton’s Partners and advisory team include the founders and operational leaders of multi-billion dollar companies including Business Objects, Dropbox, Uber and Autonomy. Previous investments include Betfair (FTSE: BET), Magic Pony (Twitter), NaturalMotion (Zynga), Sunrise (Microsoft) and Yoox Net-a-Porter (BIT: YNAP). Among Balderton’s current portfolio of 76 companies are: Aircall, Carwow, Citymapper, Contentful, GoCardless, The Hut Group, Kobalt Music, Nutmeg, Prodigy Finance, Recorded Future, Revolut, ROLI, SOPHiA Genetics, Talend (NASDAQ: TLND), Vestiaire Collective, and Vivino.