PlantLab, a vertical farming company based in The Netherlands, has raised €20 million (~$23,171 USD) in growth capital to scale up its high-tech indoor farming operations and expand to new locations, including the U.S. (h/t Horti Daily) The round was led by De Hoge Dennen Capital.
PlantLab said it would use the investment funds to open more locations and improve its technology. As with other vertical farming facilities, the tech controls the grow environment — everything from the light mixture to the temperature at the root zone of the plants to the level of humidity in the air.
The company calls these grow environments “Plant Production Units,” and it has been perfecting the model since 2005. Right now, the company operates a facility in Amsterdam. It also struck a partnership with foodservice provider Van Gelder in 2019 to supply chefs working with the Van Gelder.
Since the start of the year, the vertical farming sector has seen a steady supply of investment dollars. Boston-based Freight Farms raised a $15 million Series B round, Elevate Farms nabbed $10 million, and Upward Farms, a combination vertical farm and aquaponics facility, grabbed $15 million.
On top of all that investment has been a number of announcements for new commercial-scale facilities and a push to bring the vertical farming concept into new markets like grocery stores and the consumer kitchen.
All this activity isn’t surprising, given the times. Demand for vertically grown greens was already up before the pandemic. A couple panic-shopping sprees and a broken food supply chain later, and more consumers are prioritizing things like food traceability, buying locally, and having more control over where their food comes from. How high this demand reaches will depend on the variety of crops these farms can eventually grow (aka, more than leafy greens) and how well they can scale economically.
For its part, PlantLab has new facilities planned for the Netherlands, the U.S., and the Bahamas, among other locations.