As of August 2021, nearly $5.6 billion capital was invested in agritech startups, which is a sweeping vertical industry that comprises over 6000 companies. Within this category, there are subcategories that include ag techs such as precision ag, ag biotech, agrifinance, animal ag, and finally indoor farming. In this article, we will have a look at the top 5 indoor farming startups for 2021 and beyond.
What Is Indoor Farming?
Before we go into the names of the top indoor farming startups, it is crucial to know the concept of indoor farming. As the name suggests, it is a method of producing agricultural products indoors which include fungi, crops, and insects. It occurs within the environment that is enclosed from the outdoors, where despite nature, technology controls the factors that are conducive to harvesting and growing.
Indoor farming mainly happens on a large scale, and the vertical stacking of the harvest is often powered for maximum output in an enclosed area. Indoor farming which is also known as CEA (Controlled Environmental Agriculture) provides the advantage of a year-round harvesting season, one that is not dependent on seasonal fluctuations like sunlight, rain, etc.
Types Of Indoor Farming Startups
There are primarily three types of indoor farming startups. They are as follows:
- Indoor farming component technologies, e.g AI/ML, robotics and lighting system, and automation. Companies that work in these categories include AI, Root, Thrive Agritech, and iUNU.
- Turnkey indoor farming method both consumer and commercial. Examples of consumer turnkey farming systems include Lettuce Grow and Just Vertical, which commercially focused entities include Red Sea Farms and Freight Farms.
- Indoor growers like vertical, both aeroponic and hydroponic which are highlighted in the section below.
Top 5 Indoor Farming Startups For 2021
Now that you have gained some idea on the indoor farming startups and their types, let us have a look at the top 5 startups in this same niche for this year and also for the upcoming years. Let us have a look at the list of vertical farming companies in India.
Bowery farming was founded by Irving Fain in 2014. It is a New York-based vertical farming company that offers products to grocery stores which include Walmart, Albertsons, Whole Foods, and many others. This business creates smart indoor farms that are near cities, harvesting fresh, organic, pesticide-free safe produce. Bowery also generated its own proprietary technology that combines hardware, software, sensors, machine learning models, AI, and robotics to arrange and automate its functions.
AeroFarms has its headquarters in Newark, New Jersey. It is an indoor farming entity that avails the latest breakthroughs in vertical farming, plant biology, and artificial intelligence to repair the food system and enhance the way fresh produce is harvested and distributed. This company was founded in 2004 and the Certified B Corporation offers to produce indoors year-round while employing 95% less water, 99% less land, and no pesticides, as per the declaration of its website.
The company obtained a definitive agreement to get Spring Valley Corp. for $232 million via a reverse merger in March 2021. In that same month, AeroFarms got nearly $317 million of development capital from Pearl Energy Investments and many others.
80 Acres Farms
80 Acres Farms, which is in Ohio is an indoor farming entity that offers its customers with pesticide-free, just-picked leafy herbs, greens, microgreens, and also vine crops. The startup provides its nutritious products by positioning its indoor farms close to its customers and by discarding the cost, time, and ecological impact of cross country transportation. 80 Acres distributes to big national grocers, local retailers, and food service entities from its six farm facilities in Arkansas, Ohio, Alabama, and North Carolina.
The company got $160 million of growth capital from General Atlantic, BeyondNetZero, Barclays, Siemens Financial Services, Taurus Venture, and Blue Earth Capital in August 2021.
Plenty has its headquarters in San Francisco and functions indoor vertical farms on a mission to offer fresh, clean produce to the consumers. The greens of the startup that include baby arugula, baby kale, crispy lettuce, and mizuna mix are vertically farmed without the use of any pesticides. Available via services like good eggs and Instacart they arrive in a resealable pack and do not require to be washed before consumption.
The funding venture funding round of Plenty vertical farming $140 million Series D in October 2020 was conducted by SoftBank Investment Advisers Driscoll’s also took part in the round.
Upward Farms of New York City is an indoor aquaponic farm that produces leafy greens and fish with quality and ecological standards. The startup provides microgreens that are a combination of broccoli, cabbage, kale, and white freshwater fish that are produced without hormones, antibiotics, or mercury. With 95% of leafy greens produced on the West Coast and 90% of seafood imported, the mission of Upward Farms is to heal the food method and reconnect the eaters with nutritious, local food, as per their website.
In June 2021, the indoor farming startup raised $121.67 million via a mix of Series B3 and Series B1 venture funding from Tribe Capital, Prime Movers Lab, and many others.
The Bottom Line
With time the ways of framing are also changing. Today various new techniques and ways have evolved to cater to all types of products and one among them is indoor farming. This concept gained importance in 2020 and with time, there came many indoor farming startups that are not taking a back stand when it is about innovation. In the above section, we have spoken about 5 such important startups in the farming periphery of 2021 and beyond.