Indoor farming startup BrightFarms Inc. raised $55 million in new funding to open more hydroponic greenhouses across the U.S. as it seeks to capitalize on rising demand for locally grown food. The Series D round is led by Cox Enterprises Inc. and includes funding from existing investors Catalyst Investors, WP Global Partners and NGEN Partners.
Catalyst-backed BrightFarms is expanding its operations to Ohio, opening a $10 million Greater Cincinnati facility to supply large grocery chains in the region. The Wilmington greenhouse is BrightFarms’ fourth, behind the original concept greenhouse in Pennsylvania, one in Northern Virginia and one in Rochelle.
Catalyst portfolio company BrightFarms is gearing up for the opening of its Wilmington, Ohio greenhouse in July, giving consumers in Cincinnati, Dayton and Columbus access to year-round locally grown produce.
Catalyst-backed BrightFarms announced its fifth production greenhouse will be built in Abilene, Texas. The company has production facilities in Rochelle, Ill., Bucks County, Pa., and Culpepper County, Va. A Wilmington, Ohio, facility is scheduled to open in July.
Catalyst-backed BrightFarms Inc. broke ground in Wilmington on its first greenhouse farm in Ohio. The 120,000 square-foot farm will provide locally grown salad greens and herbs to supermarkets in the Dayton, Cincinnati and Columbus metro areas. The farm will create 30 permanent jobs, reduce the amount of miles food has to travel to consumers and improve the environmental impact of the food supply chain.
Since last year, BrightFarms four-acre greenhouse south of Rochelle has been providing top quality fresh greens and herbs, along with tomatoes. The company grows 75 percent greens and 25 percent tomatoes in its hydroponic greenhouse and insists on being pesticide free.
To find the 25 ag-tech startups that carry the most potential, Forbes.com surveyed the agricultural technology landscape by speaking with experts, venture capitalists and accelerators, and then examined financials and each company’s agricultural credentials.
The demand for hyper-local produce is booming, and BrightFarms is building and operating greenhouses in urban and suburban areas. The company partners with supermarkets like Giant, ACME, and Pick-n-save and puts the farm at or near the store to maximize produce freshness.
BrightFarms Inc. is a New York City-based greenhouse farm startup that aims to become a national brand for local produce by shortening the distance produce travels, providing food that it says is one-week fresher than the supermarket industry standard. Last September, BrightFarms closed on a $30.1 million Series C equity financing round led by New York-based Catalyst Investors, joined by existing investors WP Global Partners, based in Chicago, and New York-based NGEN Partners.
Forbes and The Mixing Bowl gathered 140 thought leaders, investors and industry executives to explore how information technology can be harnessed to solve challenges in food and agriculture. Participants engaged in a substantive dialogue on the role of technology in “changing food & farming at scale” and the “fight for the fork”. These themes were explored through a series of moderated discussions, the Blender Business Pitch competition – judged in part by Catalyst’s Kapil Desai – and interactive breakout sessions.