- Vertical-farming company Plenty Unlimited announced it has raised $140 million in a new round of funding led by SoftBank
Vertical-farming company Plenty Unlimited announced it has raised $140 million in a new round of funding led by SoftBank along with new investor Driscoll’s according to Bloomberg. The strategic investment from fresh strawberry company will enable Plenty expand into new products.
And the partnership with Driscoll’s will also enhance Plenty’s reputation for signing new grocery stores.
And for Driscoll’s, the company will gain a partner that specializes in using robots to assist with farming. Currently, Plenty specializes in kale and other greens. And those greens are grown without being touched by human hands as it depends heavily on robotics.
“We have an interest in understanding how robotics can assist in the harvest of our crops,” said Scott Komar, Driscoll’s senior vice president for research and development via Bloomberg. “It’s a very tricky problem to solve. This fruit is so delicate.” On Monday, Driscoll’s and Plenty said they agreed to grow strawberries together.
In the future, the partnership could enable these companies to sell product all year in regions that are generally more difficult to reach like remote areas of Asia. And since Plenty grows its produce in controlled indoor environments, the outdoor weather does not affect the crops.
With the funding, Plenty is going to launch a new indoor farm in Compton (city in Los Angeles County) next year.
“Other than delicious and yummy, that’s all we have to say,” explained Plenty Chief Executive Officer Matt Barnard, who added he eats some sort of Plenty product every day. The new farm had originally been slated to open this year, but the coronavirus pandemic pushed back those plans. Next week, Plenty will start listing jobs in the Compton facility, Barnard said.
Including this round of funding, Plenty has raised over $500 million. And Driscoll’s will gain a board observer at Plenty.