Bowery is betting on indoor farming and today announced that is has secured $20 million in funding to grow its vision. General Catalyst co-led the round with GGV Capital, and GV participated — all three are new investors. This round comes on the heels of Bowery’s seed round, which the company announced in February when it launched.
The New York City-based startup uses Bowery OS, a proprietary operating system, to track and optimize plant growth in a controlled indoor environment. The system applies machine learning to data collected by vision systems and a network of sensors in order to determine what variables drive growth at every stage of a plant’s lifecycle.
“This enables us to provide each plant with exactly what it needs and nothing more,” wrote Bowery cofounder and CEO Irving Fain, in an email to VentureBeat. “It also drastically reduces the risk of human error and waste in the growing and harvesting processes.”
Bowery grows its plants in vertical rows using LED lighting to mimic sunlight and purified water to deliver the same nutrients that are found in soil. This reduces the use of water by 95 percent, says Fain, who also claims to be using zero pesticides in the process.
According to the chief executive, Bowery has grown more than 100 crop varieties to date, including kale, basil, arugula, and lettuce. Its produce is sold by two Whole Foods and one Foragers store in the Tri-state area and counts restaurateur Tom Colicchio as a client.
Bowery’s suggested retail price for its packaged greens starts at $3.49. This falls in the price range of other brands, which sell their salad mixes starting at $2.99 and can go up to $7.99 at Whole Foods.
Indoor farming could become a viable option in the future, especially in remote or developing countries that suffer from extreme climates that heavily impact their crop growth. Bowery is focusing on scaling within the U.S. before expanding globally, however, according to a spokesperson.
The sector seems to be booming in New York, with companies like AeroFarms and Gotham Greens flourishing. But one of the largest indoor farms is actually located in Tokyo, Japan, and produces 10,000 lettuce heads a day in a 25,000 square foot space.
To date, Bowery has raised a total of $27.5 million. The startup will use the fresh capital to develop its technology, expand operations, and grow its team of 12. Founded in 2015, Bowery currently has one farm located outside the city of Kearny, New Jersey and is working on its second farm.