Agtech startup iFarm, formerly based in Moscow but now headquartered in Helsinki, has raised $4 million in funding to expand its automated indoor farming solutions. The round was led by Gagarin Capital and joined by Matrix Capital, Impulse VC, IMI.VC and several business angels.
The company has developed vertical farming technology for sustainably growing fresh greens, berries and vegetables, with experiments on other crops underway. “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 CBDO. “The new round of investment brings us closer to our goal – we plan to operate 1 million m² of vertical farms using iFarm technology around the world and provide technology to grow more than 500 crops by 2026.” Over 50 projects are in play this year, with clients in Europe and the Middle East. Fellow co-founder and CEO Alex Lyskovsky commented on the global opportunity at hand: “Investors can participate in the worldwide network of vertical farms and receive a rate of return well above bank deposit rates. 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."
Founded in 2017, the company raised $1 million back in early 2019. The fresh capital will help develop ‘iFarm Growtune’, a SaaS platform that acts as a control center for a vertical farm, reporting on data collected and providing insight from professionals in the field (agronomists, plant health specialists, engineers, biologists, etc.). The startup will also invest in optimising its (automated) production lines to reduce labor costs and wrap up experiments with growing strawberries, cherry tomatoes, sweet peppers, radish and other crops.