French urban agriculture start-up Agricool has secured $28 million in its latest funding round, including an investment from Danone’s investment arm, Danone Manifesto Ventures.
In the past three years, Agricool has developed a technology to grow local fruits and vegetables more productively and within small and controlled spaces, known as ‘Cooltainers’ (recycled shipping containers transformed into urban farms).
The Paris-based business said it is responding to reports which suggest that by 2030 20% of products consumed worldwide will come from urban farming – compared to 5% today.
Other investors in the round – which adds to $13 million previously raised – include Bpifrance Large Venture Fund, Antoine Arnault via Marbeuf Capital, Solomon Hykes and a dozen other backers.
With the new funding, Agricool aims to position itself as a key player in the vertical farming sector. The start-up hopes to multiply its production by 100 by 2021, in Paris first, then internationally, starting in Dubai, where a container has already been installed in The Sustainable City.
Agricool said that its challenge, and that of urban farming, is to help develop the production of food for a growing urban population which wants to eat quality produce, while limiting the ecological impact of its consumption.
In a statement, the start-up said: “Agricool strawberries are harvested when perfectly ripe and contain on average 20% more sugar and 30% more vitamin C than supermarket strawberries.
“The production technique makes for strawberries which require 90% less water to grow compared to traditional agriculture, with zero pesticides, and a reduced transportation distance reduced to only a few kilometers between the place of production and point of sale.”
Agricool co-founder and CEO Guillaume Fourdinier said: “We are very excited about the idea of supporting urban farming towards massive development, and it will soon no longer be a luxury to eat exceptional fruits and vegetables in the city.”
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019