Image credit: Infarm

Is this the fastest-growing vertical farming business in the world?

March 11, 2021

Indoor agriculture is competitive. While there is so much whitespace for vertical farms and high-tech greenhouses to grow and sell produce regionally, those that are VC-backed seem to have been fighting for investor attention for years – with big announcements often lacking substance. So who is really leading the race?

When I returned from maternity leave in January, I reached out to my good friend Henry Gordon-Smith from urban ag consultancy Agritecture to find out what I’d missed and what sort of traction these highly-funded startups were really getting.

When thinking about which company was making the greatest strides, Henry highlighted Infarm – the Berlin-based vertical farming group with more than $300m in funding under its belt.

Infarm’s global footprint has expanded rapidly in recent months. Its in-store units have been cropping up across the globe – including in Japan, one of the longest established and most developed indoor agriculture markets. It’s also expanding into new crops, a welcome addition to the leafy green focus so many of its peers continue to have. And, since we recorded this podcast — yes that’s how fast they’re moving — they announced the roll-out of new modular ‘Growing Centers’ and added yet more funding.

In January, Infarm’s EVP of sales Daniel Kats posted the following on LinkedIn:

“As we start 2021, stronger and healthier, here are Infarm 2020’s highlights:

>+800 multi-talented, purpose-driven infarmers from +50 nationalities
>+100,000 sqft of growing deployed in 10 countries
>Signed +$400M worth of contracts with top retailers worldwide
>Launched in Japan with Kinokunia and Summit, Canada with SobeysThrifty FoodsSafeway Canada, and added ALDI SÜDKaufland DeutschlandBünting GroupDOHLE HandelsgruppeGorillas in Germany, E.LeclercSYSTEME U and Monoprix in France, Whole Foods MarketSelfridgesFarmdrop, and Budgens in the UK to our farming network.
>Saved +40M Liters of water, +3M km on transportation, and +35K sqm of farmland.”

Given all that amazing traction, we decided to co-host an episode with Infarm’s two co-founders — and brothers — Guy and Erez Galonska, to dig in to this growth.

Expect to hear about Infarm’s surprising commitment to sustainability; the focus on their core customer -the retailer; the expansion of their plant science team; and the evolution of their differentiated business model. Enjoy!

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