London-based vertical farming technology company, which enables companies to grow sustainable produce in urban areas, without using soil has raised £21m to accelerate the company to produce affordable, higher quality produce.
Vertical Future, the brainchild of former Ernst & Young life sciences consultant Jamie Burrows and his Ph.D. health economist wife Marie-Alexandrine Burrows, has reached the Series A round, hailed the largest to ever reach European shores in the controlled environment agriculture space.
Series A is the name given to a company's first significant round of financing and funding. This round included Pula Investments, environmentalist Gregory Nasmyth, Nickleby Capital (representing various ultra-high net worth family offices), Dyfan Investment and other undisclosed investors. SFC Capital, the company’s second-largest shareholder also took part in the round.
Alongside the money they had already raised, the new funding will be used in several ways; to drive the deployment of the farms, to integrate specific manufacturing capabilities and to expand the team to a headcount of more than 60 by the end of June this year.
Jamie Burrows, CEO, said: “Unlike others in the vertical farming sector whose technologies and ambitions are restricted to growing only premium-priced salad and microgreens for a premium domestic and restaurant market, we are aiming to feed everyday working families with fairly-priced, higher-quality produce.
“This is achieved through a combination of technology, scale and data insights.”
With a series of projects in the UK, Ireland, Italy and Singapore, the company aims to further accelerate growth and is already in talks with several major UK retail and logistics brands.
It has a research and development programme with the University of Cambridge, Loughborough University and NIAB (National Institute of Agricultural Botany) which looks at various research including maximising yield, nutritional profile of vertically and exploration into phytopharmaceuticals (herbal medicines).
Tom Townsend, Principal Consultant at Acre said: “It is exciting to see innovative, scalable solutions to the food challenges the world faces. However, without significant improvements in more traditional areas of agriculture, we will not deliver food security for the world’s most vulnerable citizens, nor the reduction in emissions needed to meet our climate ambitions."
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Tom focuses on mid-senior level Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability appointments across Europe. Previously, Tom focused on senior appointments within Procurement & Supply Chain, with a particular expertise in Consumer Goods across the DACH markets Tom joined Acre to continue the company’s international growth. He holds a first-class degree in Mathematics.