iFarm’s indoor farming solution raises $4m

20 Aug 2020

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With the fresh investment, iFarm plans to develop its Growtune platform to boost volume and variety in vertical farms.

Today (20 August), Helsinki-based indoor farming start-up iFarm announced that it has raised $4m in funding.

The funding round was led by existing investor Gagarin Capital, with additional participation from Matrix Capital, Impulse VC and several business angels.

The Finnish start-up has developed technology for growing fresh greens, berries and vegetables in vertical farms in urban environments, and has 50 ongoing projects with clients in Europe and the Middle East.

One of these projects is an industrial vertical farm that is due to be launched in Finland by the end of the year. The project’s construction was funded through iFarm’s internal crowdfunding platform.

Fresh funding plans

With the $4m the company has raised in funding, iFarm plans to further develop its Growtune technology platform. Growtune is a SaaS platform that enables users to operate multiple varieties of vertical farms and quadruples the number of plants that can be grown with iFarm’s tech.

In addition, the start-up will be optimising its automated production lines to reduce labour costs and will complete experiments with growing strawberries, cherry tomatoes, peppers, radishes and other crops.

Max Chizhov, co-founder and CEO of iFarm, said: “iFarm enables environmentally friendly production with zero carbon footprint delivery due to much shorter transportation time, does not deplete the Earth’s soil resources and saves water needed for the plants.

“The new round of investment brings us closer to our goal – we plan to operate 1m sq m of vertical farms using iFarm technology around the world and provide technology to grow 500 crops by 2026.”

The company’s technology is automated, based on an adaptive protocol that includes computer vision, machine learning and data about thousands of plants collected from a distributed network of farms as well as industry knowledge.

The platform can determine a plant’s weight, any growth deviations or pathologies, and build a system that improves crops’ quality characteristics. It provides recommendations to farm staff and adjusts the microclimate settings to ensure better results.

Mikhail Taver, managing partner at Gagarin Capital, said: “The 2020 pandemic exposed the problems of the global food system – food supplies, sowing and harvesting were disrupted across the globe. iFarm is taking a novel approach to agriculture, offering an automated solution to grow crops close to the consumer and ensure food security.”

Kelly Earley was a journalist with Silicon Republic