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infarm growing centre
An Infarm Growing Centre. Image credit: Infarm

Brief: Infarm raises $200m Series D from Qatar sovereign fund, others at $1bn+ valuation

December 16, 2021

  • Infarm has raised $200 million in Series D funding from the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) alongside other new and existing investors including Partners in Equity, Hanaco, Atomico, Lightrock, and Bonnier.
  • QIA will work with Infarm to build its vertical farming facilities in the Middle East with a goal to open Qatar’s first in 2023.
  • The additional capital will enable the deployment of more vertical farms in the US, Canada, Japan, and Europe, and allow Infarm to enter new markets in Asia Pacific.
  • The company plans to expand its portfolio with 40 new crops next year including mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, peas, and strawberries.

Why it matters:

Infarm is best known for the growing units it deploys in supermarkets; it says it has 1,400 in-store farms with 30 retailers. But it appears the in-store farms are becoming more focused on “making the shopping experience more dynamic for consumers,” rather than producing significant amounts of food, as the company builds more of its ‘Growing Centres.’ These are much larger units connecting multiple vertical farming units with a distribution center and are more akin to the plant factories we’ve seen other startups deploy.

Infarm currently has 17 Growing Centres in operation and a target to deploy 100 of them by 2030 across 20 countries. In August the company announced plans to construct a 9,760 square meter facility just north of London that can “serve 90% of the UK population within four hours.”

Many vertical farming companies have not experienced the same traction as Infarm. In this guest post, Henry Gordon-Smith argues that the sector could be headed for multiple failures.

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