Farmshelf, the New York City startup that brings vertical grow systems into restaurants and food retail spaces, has received an investment from one of Thailand’s biggest real estate development companies, Sansiri.
The investment by Sansiri comes a part of a broader $80 million investment across six companies that include lifestyle magazine Monocle, home sharing app Hostmaker, and Farmshelf. According to the Financial Times, Sansiri invested $300 thousand in Farmshelf, a relatively small amount compared to the other investments disclosed as part of the announcement such as the $58 million stake in US boutique hotel brand Standard International.
According to Crunchbase, Farmshelf received a $150 thousand seed round investment from startup accelerators Urban-X and SOSV in September 2016. The $300 thousand investment from Sansiri marks the second overall funding round for the company.
As detailed in the announcement, Sansiri’s investment plan for Farmshelf includes integrating the vertical farming startups products into select residential properties, as well as possibly scaling the business across Asia.
It’s an interesting investment for a company that has up to this point focused on installations in New York City restaurants and food retail. I visited the company’s installation at Grand Central’s Great Northern Food Hall in June and liked how it fit into the upscale food court. Residential properties seems like a bit of a departure for the company, so I am intrigued to see how these might be rolled out within the Asia market.
Long term, these types of developer deals make a whole lot of sense for a company like Farmshelf. Access to both retail and residential developments is not only a heavy business development lift for a resource constrained startup, but the long term success of these types of installations will require a strong commitment from the property holder and business operator.