EUROPE – Agricool, French urban agriculture startup has closed another round of funding and has raised US$28 million, including an investment from Danone Manifesto Ventures, Marbeuf Capital, Solomon Hykes, Bpifrance.
The company is targeting to expand its fruits and vegetables business with the new funding which was also raised from some of the existing investors including daphni, XAnge, Henri Seydoux and Kima Ventures.
Agricool grows and produces fruits and vegetables inside shipping containers with a mission to grow tasty and pesticide-free fruits and vegetables for everyone.
It highlights the fact that containers are more efficient than traditional agricultural practices, allowing the control of temperature, the humidity and the color spectrum.
The company produces locally-produced, GMO-free, pesticide-free strawberries.
Agricool plans to launch a hundred containers by 2021 in Paris and in Dubai and hire around 200 people by 2021 to support this growth rate.
The capital is critical in building this network of containers, providing the opportunity to expand to other fruits and vegetables.
Apart from cutting down on gas emissions, the venture is responding to reports which suggest that by 2030 20% of products consumed worldwide will come from urban farming, compared to 5% today.
Agricool said that its challenge, and that of urban farming, is to help develop the production of food for a growing urban population which wants to eat quality produce, while limiting the ecological impact of its consumption.
“Agricool strawberries are harvested when perfectly ripe and contain on average 20% more sugar and 30% more vitamin C than supermarket strawberries.
“The production technique makes for strawberries which require 90% less water to grow compared to traditional agriculture, with zero pesticides, and a reduced transportation distance reduced to only a few kilometres between the place of production and point of sale,” said the company in a statement.
Agricool co-founder and CEO Guillaume Fourdinier said: “We are very excited about the idea of supporting urban farming towards massive development, and it will soon no longer be a luxury to eat exceptional fruits and vegetables in the city.”
Last year, the startup raised US$9.1 million funding round from Jacques-Antoine Granjon, Thibault Elziere as well as existing investors Henri Seydoux and Daphni to grow fruits and vegetables in containers.
While the strawberry market is huge, the company is also thinking about producing common vegetables and fruits, such as lettuce,tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchinis and bell peppers, using the same model.