Gotham Greens, the urban greenhouse developer and grower, has raised $29 million in Series C funding. Creadev, the private equity arm of the Mulliez family — founders of the Auchan chain of department stores in France — contributed to the round alongside existing investors, which include the real estate company The Silverman Group.
The Series C round brings Gotham’s total funding to date to $45 million, excluding bank debt.
Gotham Greens is one of the more mature players in the US indoor agriculture startup scene, launching in 2011. It now has three commercial-scale greenhouses in New York and one in Chicago spanning a total of 170,000 square feet in New York City. One in Brooklyn is on top of the Whole Foods supermarket in Gowanus.
“Creadev and their link to Auchan Group was attractive to us given their deep experience in retail and their global outlook,” Gotham Greens CEO Viraj Puri told AgFunderNews. He would not comment on the potential of partnering with the Auchan Group in establishing farms at their retail bases. “We also liked their perspective on the space and long-term outlook (Creadev is an evergreen fund).”
Gotham Greens spoke to many different types of investors during the fundraising process and Puri noticed an increasing number of different players interested in indoor agriculture from the agriculture, technology, and consumer packaged goods verticals. But the startup decided to stick with its existing investors to lead the round as they had the appetite to increase their investment, said Puri.
The proceeds from the round will be used to expand its footprint further with another 500,000 square feet of greenhouses under development in five US states, including Baltimore and new locations in Chicago.
The funding will help the business widen its distribution channels that currently includes retailers such as Target, ShopRite, and Jewel-Osco, as well as institutional food service groups. Gotham Greens also wants to grow its team, and enhance its research and development in CEA techniques and technology.
Puri said the startup uses “state of the art” greenhouse tech, which includes the latest in automation from seed to harvest, data science and machine learning, pest management techniques, irrigation filtration, and plant physiology. The business is also trialing various new technologies from incumbent tech players and startups in lighting as well as climate control software, he added.