9th February 2022
Walmart invests in vertical farming
Plenty Unlimited, a vertical farming business in California, has announced a major new funding agreement with Walmart and other investors.
In its Series E financing round, Plenty Unlimited secured $400 million – the largest investment to date for an indoor farming company. In addition to Walmart and existing investor SoftBank, new partners One Madison Group and JS Capital also participated in the round.
Plenty Unlimited will use this funding to support its growth strategy, including leveraging its technology platform to sell multi-crop farms directly to partners.
“The indoor farming sector is at an exciting inflection point, poised to reach its full potential as a new asset class that addresses the significant need to provide access to fresh, nutritious food year-round, even in geographies where traditional farming is difficult,” said Omar Asali, Chairman and CEO of One Madison Group. “Plenty has truly ‘cracked the code’ on the technology and economics of indoor farming. It has developed an innovative and scalable model that can deliver fresh, sustainable produce to retailers, growers and governments anywhere in the world.”
Plenty claims that its architecture is completely different from greenhouses and other indoor farms. Its vertical towers and intelligent platform make it the only vertical farming company able to grow multiple crops on one platform with consistently superior flavour and yields. While traditional farms and other indoor farming solutions battle the limits of space, crop variation, nature, and yield, Plenty’s innovative, modular system makes it possible to scale farms to meet partner and consumer needs.
Plenty aims to create a more sustainable model for agriculture that helps partners achieve their own environmental goals. Plenty’s vertical farms use just 1% of the land required by traditional farming, while improving yields by an estimated 150-350 times per acre. As more Plenty farms are deployed globally, transportation times will decrease, thereby reducing cost and environmental impact due to transportation, while enabling Plenty’s pesticide-free produce to stay fresher longer on store shelves and in customers’ homes.
“We are pleased to work with a strong group of investors who recognise how Plenty’s proprietary approach to building and selling farms delivers a scalable, cost-efficient pathway to bringing fresh, clean produce to market 365 days a year, anywhere in the world,” said Arama Kukutai, Plenty CEO. “Having Walmart, as one of the world’s largest retailers, partner with us demonstrates the rising importance of indoor agriculture to the future of fresh and their belief in Plenty’s unique technology solution.”
In addition to this commitment, Plenty has also entered into a strategic commercial agreement with Walmart to lead a new category of fresh products and bring Plenty farms closer to Walmart customers to offer pesticide-free, sustainable produce year-round. The partnership will begin by sourcing Plenty’s leafy greens from its Compton farm for all 250 of Walmart’s California stores in 2022. After the Compton facility is fully operational, Plenty then hopes to expand its presence to the east coast. The company also plans to start growing strawberries and tomatoes and selling them to customers in 2023.
“As the global demand for clean and sustainable food continues to increase, indoor growing is an opportunity to provide fresh and nutritious produce that is good for the people and planet,” said Andrew Zloto, Investment Director at SoftBank. “With support from leading retailers and growers and a new focus on selling farms directly to partners, we believe that Plenty is at a critical inflection point that will have a lasting impact on the entire industry. We’ve been a long-term partner to Plenty and are delighted to continue to support them as they continue to innovate and rewrite the playbook for indoor growing.”
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