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.


5 of the Largest Rounds of Funding for NYC-based Startups in 2018

 

2018 was a banner year for NYC-based startup funding. Below are five of the largest rounds of funding closed by NYC-based startups throughout 2018.

 

UiPath – $265M
Date: 11/15/18
Round: Series C
Industry: Automation, Enterprise Software, Information Technology, Robotics
Investors: 6 – Sequoia Capital, Meritech Capital Partners, Madrona Venture Group, IVP (Institutional Venture Partners), CapitalG, Accel
Company: Founded in 2005, UiPath is a software and automation robotics company. UiPath aims to streamline tedious tasks such as document management and data extraction and is currently used by thousands of companies. To date, UiPath has raised more than $448 million after four rounds of funding. This round was an additional $40 million to a Series C previously announced.

 

Oscar Health – $375M
Date: 8/14/18
Round: Corporate Round
Industry: Healthcare, Information Technology
Investors: 1 – Alphabet
Company: Founded in 2013, Oscar Health is a medical insurance company aimed at easing the process for its patients. The company offers individual, couple, and family plans, and is currently available in New York, New Jersey, California, and Texas. To date, Oscar Health has raised over $1.3 billion after eight rounds of funding.

 

Compass – $400M
Date: 9/27/18
Round: Series F
Industry: Real Estate
Investors: 4 – Softbank Vision Fund, Qatar Investment Authority, IVP (Institutional Venture Partners), Fidelity Investments
Company: Founded in 2012, Compass is a mobile app that pairs prospective real-estate buyers and sellers. With 30 offices in 19 regions, Compass caters to the luxury high end market.  To date, Compass has raised more than $1.2 billion after fourteen rounds of funding.

 

Letgo – $500M
Date: 8/8/18
Round: Series E
Industry: E-commerce, Online Shopping, Internet Marketplace
Investors: 1 – Naspers
Company: Founded in 2015, letgo is a free app that allows users to buy and sell products online. Using advanced AI technology, letgo allows users to take pictures of their products, then automatically identifies, categorizes, and lists them. According to the website, in their first two years in business, letgo’s app has been downloaded over 75 million times, and over 200 million items have been listed on the site. According to letgo, this makes them, ‘the largest and fastest growing app to buy and sell locally.’ To date, letgo has raised over $975 million after five rounds of funding.

 

Peloton – $550M
Date: 8/2/18
Round: Series F
Industry: Fitness, Cycling, Video Content
Investors: 10 – Winslow Capital, Wellington Management, True Ventures, Tiger Global Management, TCV, NBCUniversal, Kleiner Perkins, Fidelity Management and Research Company, Felix Capital, Balyasny Asset Mgt
Company: Founded in 2012, Peloton is a new high tech fitness concept that allows users live streaming access to elite fitness classes and instructors based in the NYC area. One of the standout stars of fitness from Silicon Alley, Peloton uses a specifically designed cycling hardware that merges with their software and content to revolutionize the at-home fitness space. To date, Peloton has raised over $994.7 million after eight rounds of funding.

 

Here's to hoping 2019 is even better!


NYC Startup Funding, Month-end Wrap-up: November 2018

 

While November did not see the monstrous rounds of funding so common over the summer, it nevertheless remained strong for NYC startup funding. Below are five of the larger rounds of NYC startup funding over the course of November 2018.

 

Force Therapeutics - $21M
Date: 11/7/18
Round: Venture Round (Series unknown)
Industry: Health Care, Mobile App
Investors: 1 - Insight Venture Partners
Company: Founded in 2010, Force Therapeutics is a company which provides mobile and web-based physical therapy videos and tutorials to its patients. The company allows physicians to work with their patients remotely in the comfort of their own home. To date, Force Therapeutics has raised over $25.7 million in NYC startup funding.

 

RapidSOS - $30M
Date: 11/6/18
Round: Series B
Industry: Public Safety, Mobile App, IoT
Investors: 8 - Two Sigma Ventures, The Westly Group, Ralph de la Vega, Playground Global, M12, Highland Capital Partners
Company: Founded in 2013, RapidSOS uses proprietary technology to integrate with 911 in order to analyze information as to when and where emergencies are occurring. RapidSOS then uses this data to alert people of situations in real-time so that users can safely avoid these areas. To date, RapidSOS has raised over $65.6 million in NYC startup funding.

 

Dynamic Yield - $38M
Date: 11/2/18
Round: Series D
Industry: Enterprise Software, Publishing, E-commerce
Investors: 4 - Viola Growth, Union Tech Ventures, Naver Corporation, Bessemer Venture Partners
Company: Founded in 2011, Dynamic Yield helps marketers increase revenue by automatically personalizing each customer interaction across web, mobile apps and email. Dynamic Yield's AI allows marketers to take instant action to target optimized messages for individual clients. To date, Dynamic Yield has raised over $83.3 million in NYC startup funding.

 

Dia&Co - $40M
Date: 11/15/18
Round: Series C
Industry: Fashion, Retail, E-commerce
Investors: 2 - Union Square Ventures, Sequoia Capital
Company: Founded in 2014, Dia&Co allows plus sized customers the ability to try on clothes in the comfort of their own home. Customers take a survey of their tastes and are then sent five-item boxes of clothing and accessories. They buy the pieces they like and send the rest back. To date, Dia&Co has raised over $90 million in NYC startup funding.

 

UiPath - $265M
Date: 11/15/18
Round: Series C
Industry: Automation, Enterprise Software, Information Technology, Robotics
Investors: 6 - Sequoia Capital, Meritech Capital Partners, Madrona Venture Group, IVP (Institutional Venture Partners), CapitalG, Accel
Company: Founded in 2005, UiPath is a software and automation robotics company. UiPath aims to streamline tedious tasks such as document management and data extraction and is currently used by thousands of companies. To date, UiPath has raised more than $448 million after four rounds of funding. This round was an additional $40 million to a Series C previously announced.

We look forward to reporting on the 2018 year-end next month!