Urban Agriculture Startup Gotham Greens Closes $29 Million Round of Funding

June 20, 2018, 1:00 PM UTC

Gotham Greens is growing.

The Brooklyn-based urban agriculture startup has closed a $29 million Series C financing round, bringing its total equity funding to $45 million.

The round was comprised of existing backers, including the Silverman Group. “Our same investors have invested in every round,” Gotham Greens co-founder and CEO Viraj Puri told Fortune. “They’re sticking with the company. They like the profitability and the returns.”

In addition, the round included what the company called a “significant” new investment from Creadev, a global investment company funded by the Mulliez family—one of the wealthiest families in France.

The Brooklyn-based startup, which grows produce hydroponically in climate-controlled greenhouses, will use the funds to build out new greenhouse facilities, invest in R&D, and expand distribution and its team.

Gotham currently operates four greenhouses that make up 170,000 square feet of space in in New York and Chicago. It said it has another 500,000 square feet under development across five U.S. states, including new facilities in Chicago and Baltimore that it announced earlier this year.

“Overall our strategy is to build greenhouses across the U.S,” Puri says. “The goal is to be a national company within a couple of years and have a whole network across the country.”

The company, which sells into retailers like Whole Foods under its own brand, selects greenhouse locations close to market. For example, its Chicago facility serves the upper Midwest. Gotham reuses and rebuilds post-industrial sites; take the case of Baltimore, where its greenhouse will be located in the old Bethlehem Steel plant. “We want to be near market,” Puri says, “and have a mission of being urban farmers.”

Gotham is one of several indoor farming startups that is trying to remake the face of agriculture by improving yields and reducing the use of resources needed in food production. The majority of Gotham’s competitors are vertical farms that use artificial lights in warehouses, but Gotham’s greenhouses use natural sunlight. “The technology is robust,” Puri quips. “The sun has been here for a long time.”

Gotham says it yields up to 30 times more crops per acre than conventional agriculture. Advocates of vertical farms, which stress their use of artificial intelligence, big data, and machine learning, say they can get up to 100 times more. The costs, however, are higher.

Puri says that there is already a lot of sophisticated data used in its greenhouses, but it’s not something its industry markets or showcases. “We don’t position ourselves as a big data company,” he says. “We’re saying, we’re farmers. It’s a different approach a little bit.”

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