US greenhouse farming start-up BrightFarms has secured $55 million in a Series D equity financing as it aims to expand its network of sustainable farms. The round was led by Cox Enterprises, Catalyst Investors, WP Global Partners and NGEN Partners.
BrightFarms builds and operates greenhouse farms near major metropolitan areas to provide supermarkets with a consistent and year-round supply of locally grown produce.
The firm claims to have had success with retailers Kroger, Ahold Delhaize, Albertsons and Walmart, thanks to its “one-week freshness advantage and innovative varieties”.
The company currently operates facilities in Pennsylvania, Virginia and Illinois. A new farm in Ohio will open this summer, followed by a Texas facility in early 2019.
BrightFarms said its operations use “80% less water, 90% less land and 95% less shipping fuel than long-distance, centralised and field-grown suppliers”. All its produce is pesticide-free and non-GMO.
Paul Lightfoot, BrightFarms CEO, said: “Cox is a long-standing, successful investor and operator, with a proven track record across multiple industries, and a long-time leader in corporate sustainability. We have a bold vision to change the way Americans get their produce and this round will help us achieve our goals.”
Paul Lightfoot, BrightFarms CEO
Cox Enterprises CEO Dallas Clement said: “BrightFarms presents a unique opportunity to reshape agriculture production and drive positive environmental change by growing in local, controlled environment agriculture farms. We are excited about the opportunity to support BrightFarms’ growth as it scales into a national brand.”
The deal comes a day after vertical farming company Eden Green Technology released a new fresh produce line which it hopes can be stocked on retailers’ shelves the same day it is picked.
Eden Green said it aims offer freshly picked produce, grown locally at “next-generation” vertical farms on a large scale.
Greenhouse farming allows companies to optimise growing conditions and increase the number of harvests per year, while also lowering transportation costs.
Earlier this month greenhouse developer and grower of sustainable produce Gotham Greens raised $29 million in funding.
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