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Indoor garden tech firm secures $2m

Upfront Ventures led the seed round of funding for plant-growing technology start-up Grove Labs, alongside three other VC firms and an individual angel investor.

Boston-based MIT graduates Jamie Byron and Gabriel Blanchet have secured $2 million in seed funding for their plant-growing technology start-up, Grove Labs Inc.

Los Angeles-based Upfront Ventures, a venture capital firm, led the round. Grove Labs also received funding from Felicis Ventures, Galvanize Ventures, Vayner RSE — all venture capital firms — and Tim Ferriss, a start-up angel investor and author.

The proceeds of the fundraising will be used for “hiring the best people and continuing our research and product development,” Blanchet told Agri Investor. He would not disclose details about how the funding round was initiated.

Grove Labs has designed home appliances to grow fruits and vegetables indoor using water, nutrients and LED lighting that aim to do so organically. Grove Labs has also developed Grove OS, a digital appliance for farms. It uses sensors and cloud technology to send information about soil conditions and other data to the customers’ computers and mobile devices.

Grove Labs has previous raised “several hundred thousand dollars from angel investors, MIT and friends and family”, according to Blanchet, who would not reveal any details about future fundraising rounds.

Upfront Ventures is an America-focused fund, typically investing at seed and Series A stages of funding. They currently have five active investments split over two funds; three in Upfront III and two in Upfront IV. They are a technology-focused fund, with 33 percent of investments being made in cloud computing and ‘Software as a Service’ (SaaS) projects.