December 15, 2015
AeroFarms, the pioneer and leader in indoor vertical farming since 2004, closed on a $20 million financing led by UK-based Wheatsheaf Group, a Grosvenor Estate company, with participation from early round investors – GSR Ventures, MissionPoint Capital, and Middleland Capital.
- Building the company’s new global headquarters, state-of-the-art R&D facility, and the world’s largest indoor vertical farm capable of growing up to 2 million pounds of baby leafy greens and other fresh produce annually
- Expanding corporate and world-class leading R&D team
- Constructing two additional farms in the United States in 2016
- Developing a pipeline of farms on a total of four different continents worldwide
In addition, AeroFarms has been working closely with Goldman Sachs and Prudential Financial, to raise over $70 million in total financing helping reinforce AeroFarms market leadership for technology and innovation for indoor vertical farming, with plans to build 25 farms over the next five years. AeroFarms is focused on fundamentally transforming agriculture by growing indoors without sun or soil. Instead it uses proprietary aeroponics – growing plants in a mist environment without soil – LED lights, and growth algorithms, helping set a new standard for controlled agriculture. AeroFarms has over 75 times higher productivity per square foot annually than a field farm and 10 times higher productivity than a hydroponic greenhouse while using 95% less water, 40% less nutrients, and zero pesticides, fungicides, insecticides, or herbicides.
AeroFarms CEO David Rosenberg said: “There is so much interest in what we are doing and how we leverage technology to grow wonderful tasting and nutritious leafy greens. We are particularly excited about increasing our research and development efforts in order to improve quality and lower costs through streamlined operations and decreased capital expenditure. We are on a mission to build responsible farms and nourish communities all over the world, and we are very excited by the shared long-term vision with each of our investors.
“The Wheatsheaf Group invests in businesses that drive the efficient use of resources in food production and, as part of the Grosvenor Estate, is allied to Grosvenor, one of the leading international real estate companies, which has offices in 17 locations around the world and can provide critical assets and insights on appropriate markets and locations
“GSR Ventures has one of the most extensive portfolios of LED-based lighting companies in the world, including the recently purchased Lumileds from Philips, that can further enhance our expertise on the design and third party manufacturing of our own proprietary lighting arrays to drive even more cost-effective and efficient photosynthesis for our plants.”
“MissionPoint Capital’s investment history with financing models for distributed energy and renewables transfers directly into how we think about building farms near consumers.”
“Middleland Capital, a leading agricultural Venture Capital fund brings critical insights from the world of farming and food. And, Goldman Sachs and Prudential are able to scale with us with key project financing as we grow to other markets.”
Graham Ramsbottom, Wheatsheaf Group CEO, said: “AeroFarms is a very exciting company that is helping to produce more food, more efficiently, whilst also regenerating former industrial sites and creating employment in communities where it’s needed.
“AeroFarms expertise aligns with what we are trying to achieve with Wheatsheaf Group, which is to make better use of global resources, and we look forward to working with them on their journey.”
Sonny Wu, Managing Director of GSR Ventures said, “When we invest, we are looking for differentiating technology and the ability to scale, and AeroFarms delivers on both fronts. AeroFarms has led the way in understanding how plants see light in order to optimize the plants for taste, texture, nutrition, and yield and we see applications for this technology around the world.”
Founded in 2004, AeroFarms® is a mission-driven company and environmental champion leading the way to address our global food crisis by building, owning, and operating throughout the world responsible farms that grow safe, nutritious, and delicious food, setting a new standard for culinary freshness and flavor. AeroFarms has been fundamentally transforming agriculture and disintermediating the supply chain by enabling local farming at commercial scale all year round and helping combat food waste. Led by CEO David Rosenberg, who has been recognized by the World Economic Forum as one of the “Transformational Leaders in Agriculture”, AeroFarms was profiled by Bloomberg TV for their annual program Year Ahead 2015, highlighting companies that are poised to disrupt business. AeroFarms is an Ellen MacArthur Foundation Circular Economy 100 company, was voted Most Innovative Company at the Future Farm World agriculture conference and the Best Growth Company to invest in at the Wall Street Journal’s ECO:nomics conference. AeroFarms is also the 2015 Winner of Red Herring’s Global 100 and 2015 World Technology Award Winner for the Environment. Furthermore they are a past Finalist for Silicon Valley’s TiE50 Awards for Energy/CleanTech and CleanEquity Monaco for Technology.
For more information, please visit http://www.AeroFarms.com.
About Wheatsheaf Group and The Grosvenor Estate
The Grosvenor Estate established Wheatsheaf Group at the beginning of 2012 to invest in and develop businesses that will contribute solutions towards meeting the growing global demand for food, water and energy in the face of a rapidly changing world population. The Wheatsheaf Group incorporates existing Grosvenor Estate agribusiness related companies including Cogent, the UK’s largest bull stud and Grosvenor Farms, an award-winning farm in the North West of England. The Grosvenor Estate represents all of the assets and business interests, including rural estates owned by trusts on behalf of the Grosvenor family, headed by the sixth Duke of Westminster. The three key elements are Grosvenor Group, an international property group which has owned or managed assets in more than 70 urban centers around the world; Wheatsheaf Group, which comprises investments in sustainable food and energy initiatives together with a number of trading companies in the North West of England; and the Family Investment Office which includes five rural estates in the United Kingdom and Spain, and a charitable foundation. The Grosvenor Estate employs more than 1,200 people, whilst relating to many more through its ownership and management of land and property.
About GSR Ventures
GSR Ventures is an early-stage venture capital firm focused on building world-class technology companies, mainly in China. The firm invests primarily in the Internet, wireless, green technology, and semiconductor sectors. GSR Ventures has more than 50 companies in its portfolio. Founded in 2004, GSR Ventures now has more than US $1 billion under management and offices in Beijing, Silicon Valley and Hong Kong. GSR Ventures investment portfolio is a world leader in LED-chip and lighting companies including recent acquisition of Philip’s Lumileds, Nanchang-based GaN-on-silicon chip maker Lattice Power and Beijing University of Technology spin-out TimesLED, as well as LED packaging firm ShineOn and lighting-focused SunSun.
For more information, visit http://www.gsrventures.com.
A leading international private investment firm focused on financing the global transition to a low-carbon economy, MissionPoint provides growth capital to energy, industrial and financial services companies that enable cleaner, more environmentally-friendly energy, transportation and industrial infrastructure. MissionPoint’s portfolio of companies are focused on transforming the way business is conducted in the face of a rising demand for cleaner, more efficient resource use across all sectors of the global economy.
For more information please visit http://www.missionpointcapital.com.
About Middleland Capital
An agriculture-focused venture capital firm, Middleland Capital focuses on global early-stage technology opportunities. Leveraging a unique breadth of geographic and industry experience, the firm seeks partnerships with exceptional management teams to commercialize innovative technologies, accelerate growth and build long-term value around the world.
For more information please visit http://www.middlelandcap.com.