Bowery: The Incredible Indoor Farming Startup

Recently, NYC-based indoor farming startup Bowery raised an additional $90 million in Series B funding. The funds will be used to continue Bowery's revolutionary approach to solving the world most pressing agricultural needs.

The Need for Better Farming

According to a recent study conducted by the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization, by the year 2050 global food production will need to increase by more than 60% to feed with world’s growing population. Couple with this the fact that the world has lost more than one third of its arable land in the past 40 years, and it’s easy to see why indoor sustainable farming startup Bowery is so popular.

A Modern Solution for a Modern Problem

Bowery is a NYC-based indoor farming startup that uses lights, technology, robotics, and carefully controlled environments to grow produce that may be an even healthier option and better tasting option than organic. According to company CEO Irving Fain, "We grow with no pesticides, herbicides or insecticides, no agrochemicals at all. And we're able to grow 365 days a year, independent of weather."

A Better Choice

Bowery also offers opportunity to grow produce in an urban setting where no other such farmland is available. In a statement outlining the benefits of Bowery, the company remarked, “traditional agriculture uses 700 million pounds of pesticides annually, and fresh food takes weeks” and sometimes longer to land on the table. During this long trip from the field to the table, lots of bad things can happen to the food, including contamination. By contrast, if food is grown in a Bowery facility just over the river in New Jersey it’s a much shorter trip in to New York City.

Less Environmental Impact

Along with the potential health benefits, Bowery also comes a plethora of environmental benefits as well. According to Mr. Fain, one square foot of growing space within a Bowery indoor facility is more than one hundred times more productive than one square foot of arable land. Bowery farms also use 95% less water than traditional farms, and cut down on transportation costs, while simultaneously eliminating chemical pesticide use. All of this adds up to a more efficient and environmentally beneficial farming process.

Higher Quality Produce

Along with all these benefits, the food Bowery produces also seems to taste better as well. It’s kale leafs are reportedly softer and its arugula has a more peppery flavor. According to celebrity chef and investor Carla Hall, "I visited the farm and tasted the food. It moved from a concept and an idea that is sustainable to deliciousness." Currently the company grows baby kale, butterhead lettuce, arugula, mixed kales and basil and is available at NYC area Whole Foods, as well as several high-end restaurants including Craft and Temple.

Investors are Interested

For all this investors have taken note. Just last month in December of 2018, Bowery closed a $90 million round of Series B funding led by GGV Capital and GV (Formerly Google Ventures). Previously GGV also led Bowery’s $40 million Series A funding in 2017, that time in collaboration with General Catalyst. This latest round of funding may be in response to SoftBank’s recent $200 million investment in Silicon Valley competitor, Plenty. To date however, Bowery has raised more than $141 million after five rounds of funding.

Whether or not indoor farming will become the standard going forward remains to be seen, but with companies like Bowery that possibility looks all the more promising.


NYC Startup Funding June Recap

NYC startups raised $700 million in June, thanks in particular to some late stage investments. (These numbers do not include companies that strictly focus on biotech and real estate.

Gemi $16 Million  The company has strong roots in Italian design, secured $16 million in Series C funding. The investment was announced on June 20th, and included lead investors Hurbert Burda, Forerunner Ventures, Principal Investments, Accel Partners, and General Catalyst.

 

Augury $17 Million This data analytics company specializes in maintenance strategies to help companies lower their carbon footprint. Augury obtained $17 million in Series B funding on June 19th. Some of the main investors in the round included Eclipse, Hartford Steam Boiler, and Munich Re/HSB Ventures.  

 

Bowery Farming Inc $20 Million.-Built on a bedrock commitment to grow only the purest,  most organic food, Bowery Farming creates local indoor farms that grown pesticide-free produce. The company raised an impressive $20 million in a Series A round which included key investors GGV Capital and General Catalyst. The funding was announced on June 14th.

 

Untuckit $30 MillionWhile the concept behind this high-end dress shirt company might seem simple (elegant men’s shirts that are designed not to be tucked in,) the company is thriving in the difficult clothing retail sector. Untuckit announced on June 5th that the company raised a $30 million June round, lead by Kleiner Perkins.

 

FuboTV $30 Million-After an earlier $30 million raise, the local sports streaming service FuboTV, which lets customers livestream and record games and matches from the MLB, NASCAR and UFC, raised $55 million in Series C funding. The June 19th announcement included investors 21st Century Fox, SkySports, and Northzone.

 

Cadre $65 Million-This financial services and real estate company set the tone early in June by announcing $65 million in Series C funding. The announcement came on June 6th, and included lead investors Andreessen Horowitz, Goldman Sachs, Thrive Capital, Ford Foundation, and General Catalyst.

ClassPass $70 Million- The exercise and dance class company offers an array of pass options for fitness classes in over 30 cities worldwide, and connects members to over 8,000 studios in New York alone. The company raised $70 million in Series C funding in June, with lead investors Temasek Holdings, M13, GV, CRV, Fifth Wall, and General Catalyst.

 

Freshly $77 Million- As a meal preparation company, Freshly delivers high-quality meals with elevated ingredients that can be ready in three minutes. The company offers various meal plans and vows to make the world eat healthy and feel better. They also had a banner month of June, raising $77 million in Series C funding that was announced on June 20th.  Leading the round were Nestle, White Star Capital, Highland Capital Partners, and Insight Venture Partners.

 

Casper $170 Million- The company offers pressure-relieving memory foam mattresses, and has expanded its line to include intricately designed pillows and sheets. Raising an astonishing $170 million this month, Casper secured Series C funding through a group of investors that included Target, Melo7 Tech Partners, NVP, New Enterprise Associates, and a slew of celebrity investors such as Kevin Spacey, Andre Iguodala, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Kyrie Irving, and Shaun White. The announcement for the funding came on June 18th.

 

By Brendan Fitzgibbons