London-based Vertical Future, a vertical farming tech and research company, has raised £21M in its latest funding round.
The start-up claims this is the largest amount of funding Europe has seen raised in a Series A round in the vertical farming sector.
Investors contributing to the round include UK firm Pula Investments Limited, Gregory Nasmyth a British environmentalist, Dyfan Investment, Nickleby Capital, and SFC Capital, Vertical Future’s second biggest shareholder.
The agtech group announced on social media: “Funds from the raise will be used to improve and vertically-integrate some of our in-house manufacturing capabilities and to continue to seek improvements for our hardware and software solutions. More broadly, funds will also be used to scale the team internationally, also deploying capital into key joint ventures, projects, and M&A targets across the globe.”
The company aims to find more sustainable ways of producing crops through vertical farming. Its advanced technology allows soilless farming to take place closer to the consumer, which can help to reduce the level of GHG emissions that regularly comes from imported crops such as leafy greens or strawberries.
Vertical Future was established in 2016 in south east London by husband and wife Jamie and Marie-Alexandrine Burrows. Jamie previously worked as a life sciences consultant for E&Y, while Marie-Alexandrine was a Research Officer in Clinical Psychology.
“Unlike others in the vertical farming sector whose technologies and ambitions are restricted to growing only premium-priced salad and microgreens for a premium domestic and restaurant market, we are aiming to feed everyday working families with fairly-priced, higher-quality produce,” Burrows told Reuters.
The start-up says it is currently in conversation with several major UK food retailers with regards to their development in the country.
So far, the brand has trialled supplying its produce to a range of companies including Mindful Chef, and the salad chain Chop’d. The company has also invested in build projects with the sausage company Heck, London-based hydroponic farm Crate to Plate, and the sustainable crop grower SYAN farms in Northamptonshire.