Estonian smart-garden startup Click & Grow announced this week it has raised $11 million to help accelerate growth for its hyperlocal grow systems into new markets.
Investors in this round include two strategic corporate investors in Swedish holding company Ingka Group (which owns and operates the majority of IKEA stores) and French conglomerate Groupe SEB, as well as Y Combinator and Shanghai-based Yunqi VC. The round brings the total invested in the nearly 10 year old company to $17.9 million.
Investor interest in one of hottest indoor-gardening startups is not surprising given the strong growth in the home-grow space as of late. Demand for smart-grow systems has surged as consumers embrace the healthy aspects of indoor farming and — let’s be honest — start their own mini ganja farms as cannabis becomes legal in parts of the US and other countries like Canada.
While Click & Grow was one of the first of a wave of startups bringing technology to indoor gardening for the home, there is no shortage of competition in the space. New entrants like AVA, Verdical and SproutsIO are working to to bring their products to market, while Natufia, another Estonian smart garden startup, just raised $1.2 million in funding. Even long-time market leader AeroGrow (over 1.4 million units shipped as of 2016) has also seen a resurgence as majority owner MiracleGrow freshens up the product lineup.
IKEA’s involvement is intriguing for a couple reasons. For one, there’s no doubt the home furnishings giant has increasingly embraced smart home technology in recent years and the Click & Grow investment will strengthen extend this tech push into the garden. The deal is also interesting because IKEA had already launched a home grow system a couple years ago, which they are apparently still selling.
Either way, the Swedish company sees lots of potential in its new partnership:
“We see this as another step forward in our journey to serve IKEA customers and our co-worker’s healthier and more nutritious food, and it opens up new opportunities for IKEA Retail markets to become more self-sufficient by growing fresh local produce,” explained Krister Mattsson, Head of Investments, Ingka Group.
The Estonian startup, which has sold 450 thousand total systems and 2.1 million plant pods since launch, said it plans to use the funding to expand into new markets.