IUNU plans CEA software and financing build-out after $24m Series B

Data products manager Allison Kopf says the company has already helped facilitate about $250m in expansion and project finance capital through a process it plans to accelerate over the next 18 months.

Controlled environment agriculture software provider IUNU has closed a $24 million Series B round led by Lewis & Clark AgriFood.

St Louis-headquartered Lewis & Clark was joined by existing investors S2G Ventures, Ceres Partners and Astanor Ventures in a funding round aimed at sales expansion and new product introductions.

IUNU data projects head Allison Kopf told Agri Investor that proceeds of the round will support formalization of existing efforts to connect institutional debt and equity capital with CEA companies already using the company’s software in their facilities.

Kopf – who in February highlighted to Agri Investor Cargill’s $200 million loan to Local Bounti in September as reflecting evolving financing options in the market – said IUNU has already helped facilitate about $250 million in expansion capital and project finance to its customers.

“We anticipate that we will lend in the billions of dollars in the next 12-18 months because of how fast the market is growing, how fast our market share is growing and our relationship with large institutional investors that are interested in the ag industry,” she said. “That is something that we are going to be accelerating pretty heavily.”

Seattle-headquartered IUNU (pronounced ‘you knew’) was founded in 2013 and provides computer vision and artificial intelligence software designed for management of greenhouse and vertical farming operations. Its LUNA AI platform uses a system of mobile robotic and fixed high-resolution cameras that measure and record plant development, supporting machine-learning technologies that build detailed models of individual plants.

LUNA also includes a separate cultivation management platform designed to manage all cultivation processes, which was added to the platform following IUNU’s September acquisition of Artmeis, of which Kopf was founder.

A late-2020 Series A for IUNU brought in $7 million and focused on accelerating global adoption of LUNA AI, which the company says is now used by 74 percent of top North American leafy green greenhouse growers. Key customers include Pure Green Farms, CubicFarm Systems Corp and Intelligent Growth Solutions, among others.

Including capital raised by Artmeis prior to its acquisition, the Series B brings IUNU’s total funding amount to $60 million. Kopf said the company expects to double its staff of 60 employees over the next year, with many of the hires focused on engineering.

Looking ahead, Kopf highlighted Local Bounti’s $122.5 million acquisition of California-headquartered indoor farming company Holandia Produce – which operates the Pete’s brand – as an indication of consolidation she expects will be a key focus of financing in the CEA market opportunities in the years ahead.

“That is one of the things that is so great about this industry right now,” she said. “There are such different opportunities for different investors depending what kind of exit appetite and returns appetite you have.”