Agriculture & foodtech Startups Venture

Future Crops Nabs Tencent Investment As Vertical Farming Sector Grows

Illustration of wallet filled with greens.

Vertical farming seems to have taken root in the heart of investors—with Netherlands-based Future Crops being the latest agtech company to cash in.

In January, South San Francisco, California-based farming startup Plenty sprouted a $400 million Series E led by new investors One Madison Group and JS Capital. The round also included participation from strategic partner Walmart and existing investor SoftBank Vision Fund 1. Founded in 2014, the company has raised $940 million to date, according to Crunchbase data.

That was followed in February by Florida-based vertical ag company Kalera announcing plans to go public on the Nasdaq through a merger with a SPAC. The deal is slated to close at the end of April.

Now, Future Crops has taken in an undisclosed investment from Tencentwhich has found itself in the news for other reasons today. The company had already raised more than $30 million in seed funding from a private equity arm run by the Lerman family of the steel industry.

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The basic concept of vertical farming is that produce is grown on levels—one above each other—conserving both land and water while also cutting down on pesticides and other chemicals.

Future Crops’ vertical farming platform, for instance, utilizes a “unique soil-like substrate” to help reproduce the natural environment, the company said in a release.

Agtech startups had a record year in 2021 in terms of fundraising—taking in more than $5 billion in funding. This year, agtech already has raised nearly $1.3 billion to date.

Illustration: Dom Guzman

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