Finnish vertical farming company iFarm announced today it has raised $4 million for its automated indoor farming operation, according to a press release sent to The Spoon. The round was led by existing investor Gagarin Capital with participation from Matrix Capital, Impulse VC, IMI.VC, and several angel investors.
iFarm makes a turnkey vertical farming solution that can be deployed in a number of different-sized settings, from large warehouse farms to shelf-like grow modules in supermarkets. The company offers four different automated technologies: one for growing a variety of crops on a vertical farm; one for growing strawberries on a vertical farm; iFarm Cropper, a standalone module for growing greens; and iFarm Growtune, a SaaS platform for managing the vertical farms.
Using machine learning and computer vision, the iFarm Growtune tool, which powers the other technologies mentioned above, can detect a plant’s weight as well as any growth deviations or pathologies. It also prompts farm staff when it is time to adjust the “climate” settings inside the vertical farm.
According to today’s press release, iFarm has over 50 ongoing projects with clients in both Europe and the Middle East, including an industrial vertical farm in its homeland of Finland that’s due to launch sometime in 2020.
Vertical farming has seen a steady stream of developments over the last six months, from Farmshelf releasing its first consumer-facing grow system to SinGrow’s proprietary strawberries to Wilder Fields building an industrial vertical farm inside an abandoned Target shop. All of which is to say, vertical farming is no longer just a large-scale endeavor done by a few companies, but rather, a grow method appearing in many shapes and sizes, whether in the warehouse or the grocery store.
Because of the variety iFarm offers in terms of automated grow technologies, the company seems poised to serve multiple markets as it further develops its system. The company says it will use the new funds to further develop iFarm Growtune and quadruple the number of plants available to grow via the system. It will also further build out the automation aspect of its system and experiment with growing strawberries, cherry tomatoes, sweet peppers, radishes, and other crops.