Tencent leads investment in Future Crops, an Israeli-Dutch joint venture for vertical farming

On March 14, Future Crops, an agritech company headquartered in the Netherlands, raised an undisclosed amount in a funding round led by Tencent. It is reported that this was the first time Tencent has disclosed an investment in a vertical farming startup.

Future Crops, an Israeli-Dutch joint venture vertical farming company, is one of the largest vertical farms in Europe and even the world. It has established a fully automatic indoor vertical farm in Westland, the Netherlands, which is known as Europe's "greenhouse center". The farm is equipped with sophisticated agricultural technology and equipment and creates the best climate conditions for each crop.

Source: Future Crops official website

The main business is fresh herbs grown and processed in multi-level indoor vertical farming systems, which are grown in soil substrates developed by the company to be as close to nature as possible. Gary Grinspan, founder and CEO of Future Crops, said the new funding will be used to boost the company's research and development activities, hire talent, and open additional vertical farms.

Europe's first fully controlled, soil-based vertical farm
Founded in 2016, Future Crops is a joint venture between A&F Ventures and Israel's Agricultural Research Organization (ARO) and is headquartered in Poeldijk, the Netherlands. The Future Crops team is spearheaded by passionate agronomists with a vision to use technology and advanced agricultural expertise to grow crops in a fully controlled environment that enables consistent harvests of high-quality food throughout the year.

Unlike common conditions for growing crops, Future Crop uses hydroponic or aeroponics systems to grow crops in unique soil substrates in addition to ordinary soil. “This approach is closer to nature and produces a fresher, higher-quality product while increasing yields,” Grinspan said. “Nature tells us that most plants need soil to grow. Our approach is not to change the rules of nature, but to use technology to increase yields."

In addition to soil-based substrates, Future Crops has developed a range of customised automations for its vertical farms, such as irrigation, lighting, heating, and ventilation. Future Crops currently sells its own products through retailers and wholesalers, in addition to growing leafy greens and herbs on professional farms.

Source: Future Crops official website

Since its establishment, Future Crops has partnered with world-renowned herbal researchers and agricultural engineers, leveraging the team's unique knowledge and expertise, step by step to build Europe's first state-of-the-art, fully controlled, soil-based vertical farm.

In addition, Future Crops maintains a strategic partnership with the Israeli Agricultural Research Organization (ARO) and works closely with Wageningen University.

In 2018, Future Crops raised more than $30 million in seed funding from the private equity arm run by the Lerman family, a leader in the U.S. steel industry, to fund the construction of the facility and build their team of experts.

Source: Online sources

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