Canadian vertical farming systems developer Inno-3B has completed its first seed round of financing at nearly C$6 million ($4.45m).
Located in Quebec and Ontario, the company provides turnkey vertical farming systems for a variety of customers, from researchers, biotechnologists, and small-scale farmers, to regional and multinational producers.
Inno-3B provides fully automated, controlled, scalable, and remotely monitored robotic growing systems with real-time support to help customers grow organic produce, berries, and herbs locally.
This week, the business benefitted from a seed investment round led by the Ecofuel Fund, with the participation of Desjardins Capital, the Fonds de Solidarité FTQ, Premier Tech, the Fonds de Solidarité FTQ Bas Saint-Laurent, Investissement Québec and the Ministère de l’Économie et de l’Innovation.
Inno-3B said that the C$6m will enable the business to implement a demonstration of its technology in the context of real-time operations, a move which is designed to accelerate product marketing and ensure constant support for customers. This will include creating 10 new jobs to advance the company’s design and manufacturing processes; the company already has 15 employees across its two locations.
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“We are enthusiastic to start this new phase of development with such strategic investors dedicated to our success,” said Martin Brault, President and CEO of INNO-3B, adding that the Ecofuel Fund, Desjardins Capital and the Fonds de solidarité FTQ were, in particular, actively supporting the company’s growth.
Richard Cloutier, president and CEO of the Ecofuel Accelerator and managing partner of the Ecofuel Fund, said that Inno-3B’s innovative technology had the capacity to enable customers to produce vegetables with low production costs, high yields and low energy consumption, and to do so all in a small space.
“Innovation makes it possible for the company to respond to the growing needs of consumers for fresh quality products while also reducing greenhouse gases significantly,” he said.
In addition to accelerating Inno-3B’s marketing push, the new funding will also be used help to intensify R&D activities within the business.
“Thanks to the technological advances made in recent years, we have managed to position ourselves among the leaders in automated vertical farming,” said Brault, revealing that the company was also exploring certain ‘interesting synergies’ relating to artificial intelligence (AI) as part of its future development planning.
The Ecofuel Fund is a C$30m venture capital investment fund and accelerator offering customized training programs for clean technology companies. Powered by Cycle Capital, Ecofuel works with entrepreneurs to assist them in starting businesses to breakthrough internationally.
Ecofuel is funded by Investissement Québec, BDC Capital, Fondaction, the Fonds de solidarité FTQ and the Centre québécois de valorisation des biotechnologies (CQVB).
Desjardins Capital, working with a background of nearly 45 years expertise, is committed to the promotion and support of small and medium-sized businesses in Quebec, having assets under management of C$2 billion. The fund contributes to the sustainability of 460 businesses, cooperatives and funds operating in various sectors of activity and from all regions of Quebec.
The Fonds de solidarité FTQ is a capital development investment fund that is financed with Quebec savings. With net assets of C$13.7 billion as at November 30, 2017, the fund contributes to the creation and maintenance of 186,440 jobs, partnering with more than 2,700 companies and with more than 645,000 shareholders.