Helsinki-based indoor farming startup iFarm has raised a $4 million seed round to continue its growth from the coronavirus pandemic.
iFarm’s indoor farm tech is automated and the firm claims to allow customers to start growing salads, greens, berries and vegetables in urban environments. The firm says its platform is powered by computer vision, machine learning, and data about thousands of plants collected from a distributed network of farms as well as industry knowledge.
“COVID-19 been a boost to our business, it’s boosted our number of farms, requests from customers also increased, we were in the right place at the right time,” Max Chizhov, cofounder and CEO of iFarm, told Business Insider in an interview.
The round was led by Gagarin Capital, a previous investor in the startup. Other investors include Matrix Capital, Impulse VC, IMI.VC and several business angels.
“It was not hard for us to raise this money during the pandemic because our existing investors supported us,” Chizhov added. The round was closed remotely in July.
The company will use the funding to develop its iFarm “Growtune” tech platform which Chizhov calls a “super app” that enables the operation of multiple varieties of vertical farms through an API.
Delays to supply chains because of the pandemic has accelerated iFarm’s business according to Chizhov, who added that the company has a planting area of 11,000 metres squared across a number of countries and is aiming for 1 million metres square and 500-plus crops by 2026.
“The 2020 pandemic exposed the problems of the global food system – food supplies, sowing and harvesting were disrupted across the globe,” Mikhail Taver, Managing Partner at Gagarin Capital, said. “iFarm is taking a novel approach to agriculture, offering an automated solution to grow crops close to the consumer and ensure food security.
“We believe that the future of the food market lies in modern technologies and are excited to support the project on its way.”
Check out iFarm’s pitch deck below: