Farm Startup With Ties to NYC History Hits $2.3 Billion in Value
(Bloomberg) -- Bowery Farming Inc., the indoor-agriculture company whose name is derived from the Dutch farms that once thrived in Manhattan, raised $300 million in a funding round that sets its value at $2.3 billion.
The C series funding was led by Fidelity Management & Research Co. and included investment from celebrities like singer Justin Timberlake, actor Natalie Portman and chef Jose Andres. It brings the total raised by the company to $472 million, according to a statement. Other participants include GV, which is the investment arm of Alphabet Inc., General Catalyst and Temasek.
New York-based Bowery has rapidly expanded its brick-and-mortar presence, with its 13 types of leafy greens and greens currently sold in 850 stores that include retailers such as Safeway, Walmart and Whole Foods Market. E-commerce sales have quadrupled since January 2020, the grower said.
Bowery uses vertical farming, which is touted as an environmentally friendly method that uses less water and land than traditional agriculture, and grows its produce under LED lights.
Irving Fain, the company’s chief executive officer and founder, said Bowery plans to use the funding to open more farms and improve its technology, which uses software, sensors and robotics to automate operations. He’s currently working to expand the offerings to include produce such as berries, tomatoes and cucumbers.
“You’re going to see more and more produce grown by Bowery on the grocery store shelves,” Fain said in an interview. “We’re excited about being an important part of developing a more sustainable and a more resilient regional food system, both around the country but globally as well.”
The company grows its produce near cities, which reduces the cost and energy used in transportation, and doesn’t use pesticides.
Roland Fumasi, who heads Rabobank’s agricultural research team in North America, said that consumers’ demand for produce farmed by indoor farms has continued to grow during the pandemic.
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.