Vertical Farming Startup Plenty Raises $140M in Round Led by SoftBank

Plenty’s agri-foodtech platform leverages data analytics, machine learning and customized lighting in order to optimize plant growth cycles. The company grows baby arugula, baby kale and lettuce at its San Francisco-based farm.

Written by Jeremy Porr
Published on Oct. 15, 2020
Vertical Farming Startup Plenty Raises $140M in Round Led by SoftBank
Living walls aren't just a design trend, they might provide a peak into what the future of farming might look like.
photo: Plenty

Vibrant bunches of baby kale, arugula and lettuce line the walls of an indoor farm in South San Francisco at the forefront of agri-foodtech innovation. Plenty is homing in on alternative farming methods in an effort to combat climate change.

On Wednesday, the vertical farming startup announced that it raised $140 million in a Series D financing round led by SoftBank Vision Fund 1 to help further its plans to help cultivate a more sustainable future.

“The recent disruptions in the global supply chain caused by the West Coast wildfires and COVID-19 have highlighted how quickly our access to quality produce can be thwarted,” Matt Barnard, co-founder and CEO at Plenty, said in a statement.

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The new financing will be used to fuel research and development as the company continues to scale. Plans are already underway for a new farm located in the city of Compton.

In addition to its plans for a new farming facility, Plenty recently announced two new commercial collaborations. The company just signed off on a joint development agreement with Driscoll’s to grow strawberries at its facilities year-round. The company will also begin offering its greens at retail grocer Albertsons in 431 locations across California.

At Plenty’s indoor vertical farm every growth variable is meticulously managed. The air, humidity, light, water and soil are all consistently monitored to ensure healthy plant growth. Everything grown at the facility is pesticide and GMO-free, according to the company.

Plenty’s agri-foodtech platform leverages data analytics, machine learning and customized lighting in order to optimize plant growth cycles.

The company utilizes LED lights that are tuned to the ideal spectrum required for plants to photosynthesize. The photosynthetic wavelengths are synced with the crop’s growth to minimize energy usage and optimize yields, according to the company.

“[Our] controlled and resilient farms and local distribution made it easy for us to scale quickly, even during the pandemic, demonstrating that our indoor, vertical farm flourishes under environmental pressures,” Barnard continued.

According to the company, Plenty uses 100 percent renewable energy. Plenty has an additional research and development facility located in Laramie, Wyoming.

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