German in-store farming start-up gets $25m backing

London-based Balderton Capital led the Series A funding, which Infarm will use to expand its network across Europe.

Infarm, an in-store farming start-up based in Berlin, has raised $25 million in a Series A funding round led by early-stage venture capital investor Balderton Capital. TriplePoint Capital and Mons Investments also participated, alongside existing investors Cherry Ventures, Quadia and LocalGlobe.

The round brings the total Infarm has raised to date to $35 million, which includes a €2 million grant from the Horizon 2020 program, the EU’s largest research and innovation program with nearly €80 billion of funding available over seven years (2014 to 2020).

Infarm will use the funds raised in the latest round to grow its urban farming network to 1,000 in-store farms across Europe by the end of 2019, a spokesman for the company told Agri Investor. It currently operates more than 50 farms across Berlin in supermarkets, restaurants and distribution warehouses.

The firm’s two square meter-farms, which are also present at EDEKA and METRO locations, two of Germany’s largest food retailers, have an output of up to 1,200 plants per month.

Founded in 2013, Infarm’s indoor farming units have a controlled ecosystem in terms of light, temperature, pH and nutrients. They are connected by Infarm’s central farming platform, enabling the company to gather data and optimize output.

“Urban living is growing unrelentingly across the world and societies are at a point where they have to confront big existential questions such as how to feed their growing populations sustainably,” said Balderton partner Daniel Waterhouse.

“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 possible to grow fresh produce right in the heart of our communities.”

Balderton did not disclose the amount it invested in the company and a spokesperson for the firm did not respond to a request for comment. According to its website, Balderton focuses on European technology companies, investing $1 million-$20 million “into companies with the potential to disrupt huge industries, and the ambition to scale globally.”

Infarm’s spokesman declined to comment on the specific amounts each investor contributed to the funding round.

Infarm plans to launch operations in Paris, London and Copenhagen, as well as other German cities, later this year.