IUNU, which builds computer vision and machine learning systems to add more precision to indoor farming, announced today that it has raised a $7 million Series A round of funding led by S2G Ventures and Ceres Partners.
IUNU (pronounced “yoo-noo”) makes Luna, a robotic system of cameras both fixed and mounted on rails that go on the ceilings of commercial greenhouses. Using these cameras, environmental sensors, computer vision and machine learning, iUNU can measure everything about plants being grown down to the growth rate of each individual plant. If Luna detects changes in the health of plants, it can alert growers so they can take action to improve product quality and yields.
The indoor agriculture space is certainly hot right now, and has seen downright frothy amounts of investment. BrightFarms raised a $100M Series E round in October, Plenty raised a $100M Series D round that same month, and Urban Oasis raised $1.2 million just last month. And just today, Gotham Greens raised $87 million for its high-tech greenhouses.
Beyond straight up fundraising, the indoor farming is also in the midst of a growth boom. AppHarvest is building out the world’s largest greenhouse in Kentucky, and YesHealth Group and Nordic Harvest are building “Europe’s largest” vertical farm.
It’s not hard to understand why there is so much going on in indoor ag right now. The population of our planet is expected to hit 11.2 billion by the end of the century, up from 7.7 billion in 2019. All of those people need to be fed, and more importantly, fed in a way that doesn’t exacerbate environmental problems. With its precision technology, and the ability to move food production closer to consumers, indoor farms hold the promise of creating a more equitable food system.
Unlike the other players mentioned above, iUNU is not a full-stack solution. It’s not in the business of growing its own greens. The Luna system can be used to help make existing greenhouses more productive and could presumably be built into these new indoor farms coming online.