iFarm, a Finnish startup that provides innovative solutions for growing fresh greens, berries and vegetables, has raised around €3.3 million in funding. The round was led by Gagarin Capital, who also previously invested in the project. Other investors include Matrix Capital, Impulse VC, IMI.VC and several business angels.
The startup will use the funding to develop its iFarm Growtune tech platform that enables operations of multiple varieties of vertical farms and quadrupling the number of plants available to iFarm’s tech. In addition, iFarm will be optimizing its automated production lines to reduce labor costs and complete experiments with growing strawberries, cherry tomatoes, sweet peppers, radish and other crops.
Founded in 2017, iFarm has over 50 on-going projects with clients in Europe and the Middle East for 2020. That includes an industrial vertical farm based on iFarm’s tech that is due to launch in Finland by the end of the year. Its construction was funded through the company’s internal crowdfunding platform.
“Investors can participate in the worldwide network of vertical farms and receive a rate of return well above bank deposit rates”, says Alex Lyskovsky, co-founder and President of iFarm. “We already have a group of financial partners involved in the development of our farms, and now there is a direct opportunity for this type of investment in Finland, UK, Switzerland, Netherlands, Russia and UAE.”
iFarm’s automated vertical farm management technologies allow customers to start growing salads, greens, berries and vegetables in the urban environment: from empty warehouses and factory shops to basements and distribution centres. The technology is based on an adaptive protocol that includes computer vision, machine learning, the data about thousands of plants collected from a distributed network of farms as well as the industry knowledge. The iFarm Growtune platform can determine the plant’s weight, any growth deviations or pathologies and build a system that improves crops’ quality characteristics on its own. It provides recommendations to the farm staff and adjusts the microclimate settings to ensure better results.
“iFarm enables environmentally friendly production with zero carbon footprint delivery due to much shorter transportation time, does not deplete the Earth’s soil resources, and saves water needed for the plants”, says Max Chizhov, co-founder and CEO of iFarm. “The new round of investment brings us closer to our goal – we plan to operate 1M m² of vertical farms using iFarm technology around the world and provide technology to grow 500+ crops by 2026.”
“The 2020 pandemic exposed the problems of the global food system – food supplies, sowing and harvesting were disrupted across the globe”, says Mikhail Taver, Managing Partner at Gagarin Capital. “iFarm is taking a novel approach to agriculture, offering an automated solution to grow crops close to the consumer and ensure food security. We believe that the future of the food market lies in modern technologies and are excited to support the project on its way.”
“Over the past few years, the team has already reached great success, making indoor farming tech possible”, Igor Matsanyuk, Chairman at IMI.VC, says. “We believe that the company will continue to develop its technology, introducing it to the new markets. IMI.VC is proud to be a part of that journey”.