New York-based Gotham Greens, an indoor farming startup, announced on Monday it raised a whopping $310 million in Series E funding led by BMO Impact Fund and Ares Management Fund. Gotham Greens has raised $440 million since it launched in 2009.
The company, which sells leafy greens grown in hydroponics-equipped greenhouses, will use the funding to support its goal of delivering basil, butterhead lettuce and romaine to grocery stores such as Whole Foods and Sprouts within a day of harvesting.
Gotham Green’s goal is to have 13 locations across nine states by 2023. So far the company is building new greenhouses in Texas, Colorado and Georgia, in addition to existing greenhouses in Chicago and Providence.
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It also uses hydroponics, an agricultural phenomenon that allows plants to grow virtually anywhere and anytime. The roots grow in nutrient-rich water sans soil, saving acres of rolling, fertile farmlands that degrade over time and become less suitable for crops. Per Gotham Greens, using hydroponics in their greenhouses allows them to use 97% less land when compared to farming.
“With increasing climate and supply chain-related issues facing our food system, it’s more important than ever to bring innovative farming solutions that grow high-quality produce while using fewer precious natural resources,” co-founder and CEO Viraj Puri said in a statement.
Part of the agtech craze
Gotham Greens’ $310 million deal is the second-largest series raise so far this year in the sector. Plenty, the San Francisco-based indoor farming company, raised a $400 million Series E in January with the help of JS Capital Management and One Madison Group.
According to Crunchbase data, startups in the vertical farming space raised a record $1.1 billion in 2021 and only $826 million so far this year. But urgency in climate change and COVID-related supply chain issues is bringing agricultural technology to the forefront of urban-minded venture investors.
And while vertical farming cuts down on transportation costs, requires less labor than traditional farming, and saves arable soil, it’ll take more than that to address the plethora of the U.S. drought-related farming issues. Only a limited number of crops can be grown using vertical farming methods (largely leafy greens), and setting up the greenhouses requires large upfront costs.
Illustration: Dom Guzman
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