UrbanFarmers (UF), a start-up company focusing on aquaponic rooftop farming, closed Series A financing at CHF 2.1 million ($2.15 million; €2.03 million) at the end of March from new and returning investors, missing the target of CHF 3 million.
“Given the current backlog of projects and our ability to finance operations with current cash flow from income-generating activities we were able slightly reduce this amount,” Roman Gaus, founder and chief executive of UF, said in an email.
According to UF, proceeds will be used to strengthen its project portfolio, build internal capabilities in engineering, procurement and contracting and to boost the company’s operating technology and brand assets.
Returning investors include the two founders, Roman Gaus and Andreas Graber, and an angel investor who prefers not to be disclosed. New investors include Eckenstein-Geigy-Stiftung, a Switzerland-based foundation, and Walden Woods Holdings, a company founded in 2013 that seeks stakes in early-stage companies and start-ups.
Gabriel Eckenstein, the principal investor behind the Eckenstein-Geigy-Stiftung foundation, who will join the UF board of directors, said in a statement: “we believe UrbanFarmers is the ideal impact investment combining a strong business model with our sustainability criteria. We want to provide growth capital where it helps accelerate robust business opportunities and sustainable solutions for a healthier planet and the next generation.”
Gaus told Agri Investor that the company will launch Series B funding in about six months’ time with the aim of raising CHF 5.0 million. UF plans to close the round in about 12 months from now and all current investors are likely to tag along in Series B, Gaus said.
About bringing in new investors for Series B, “we will target private individuals and family offices with a clear vision to diversify their portfolio with resource-efficiency investments (water, energy, nutrients) and towards driving social and environmental impact; as well as large, diversified private equity holdings targeting stable, non-correlating returns from our farm asset investments,” Gaus said in an email.
Prior to Series A, UF raised about CHF 0.5 million in seed money from its current investors through a convertible bond offering issued last year.
“With this new funding, we can now fast-track our international farm development projects, build strong internal capabilities to engineer, procure and contract rooftop farms and invest strategically into our IP and operating technology. We will also strategically invest into the UF brand to provide a strong price umbrella for our produce,” Gaus said in a statement. “Our goal to scale urban farming on a global basis with a profitable business case has come a step closer.”