Beyond the Megafarms: 4 Alternative Models For Indoor Agriculture

Indoor agriculture has grabbed several headlines in the mainstream media recently. Not only does the idea of growing produce indoors, in an automated high-tech environment capture the imagination of many consumers and readers, but just last month, an indoor farming business raised a whopping $200 million in funding, in the largest ever deal for an agriculture technology startup.

South San Francisco’s Plenty raised the funding from SoftBank along with affiliates of Louis M. Bacon, the founder of Moore Capital Management, who joined the round alongside existing investors Innovation EndeavorsBezos Expeditions, Chinese VC DCMData Collective, and Finistere Ventures.

Four different indoor farming operations told AgFunderNews that the rate of incoming investment inquiries noticeably increased after the Plenty news. High-tech indoor farming has captured the imagination of the media as well. In fact, you could say that indoor farming is the crossover hit of the agtech world — a niche story that has made it into the mainstream.

But like a country song that hits the pop charts for a while, high-tech, high-cost indoor vertical farming groups like Plenty are not necessarily representative of the form all indoor farming operations take. There are many different business models for growing food indoors, and as this segment of the agrifood industry is still very young, there are few proven successes yet.

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