SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF. — Indoor vertical farming company Plenty Unlimited Inc. closed a $140 million Series D funding round led by existing investor Softbank Vision Fund 1, with participation from Driscoll’s, a Watsonville, Calif.-based fresh berry supplier.
The funds will accelerate Plenty’s commercial collaboration with Driscoll’s, which will see the company grow fresh strawberries year-round in its indoor farm. Plenty also plans to build a new farm in Compton, Calif., and supply greens to 431 Albertsons stores in California.
The company will leverage Driscoll’s genetics and berry expertise to deliver consistent flavor and size while removing unpredictability from the growing process.
“We looked at other vertical farms, and Plenty’s technology was one of the most compelling systems we’d seen for growing berries,” said J. Miles Reiter, chairman and chief executive officer at Driscoll’s. “We got to know Plenty while working on a joint development agreement to grow strawberries. We were so impressed with their technology, we decided to invest.”
Plenty’s vertical design grows 1,500 acres in a building the size of a big box grocery store. Using data analytics, machine learning and customized lighting, the company produces up to 400 times the yield of traditional farming. Its South San Francisco Farm uses 100% renewable electricity and saves more than a million gallons of water per week.
“Plenty has built an intelligent, scalable agriculture platform that delivers unprecedented flavor, purity, consistency and yield,” said Matt Barnard, co-founder and CEO at Plenty. “The recent disruptions in the global supply chain caused by the West Coast wildfires and COVID-19 have highlighted how quickly our access to quality produce can be thwarted. Plenty’s controlled and resilient farms and local distribution made it easy for us to scale quickly, even during the pandemic, demonstrating that our indoor, vertical farm flourishes under environmental pressures and delivers delicious greens along with the sales that come with it.”