Scottish AgriTech business Intelligent Growth Solutions has raised £42 million in growth funding.
The announcement was made at its COP26 exhibition site and welcomed by First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon MSP.
The latest investment round has been supported by a conglomerate of new investors including COFRA AG (Zug, Switzerland), Cleveland Avenue LLC (Chicago) and DC Thomson (Dundee, Scotland).
They were joined by existing institutional investors Ospraie Ag Science (New York City), S2G Ventures (Chicago), venture capital firm AgFunder (San Francisco); and Scottish Enterprise in the Series B investment round, with private shareholders and IGS staff also contributing.
IGS designs and builds vertical farms for farmers and growers in food, pharmaceutical and fragrance markets around the world. It has deployed its technology to customers across four continents to date, with a sales pipeline that has quadrupled in the past 12 months.
The Series B investment reflects a broad, global momentum driving agricultural transformation and will be pivotal for IGS’ technical development and enhancement of scientific understanding.
It will allow wider and faster market penetration for IGS as demand for its technology increases from growers, retailers and governments aiming to address food security issues, mitigate environmental concerns and develop sustainable methods of production and new business models in their regions.
Sturgeon (pictured with IGS CEO David Farquhar) said: “Here at COP26, it’s fantastic to see a Scottish company at the forefront of innovation in AgriTech and vertical farming attracting investment from across the world.
“With a great team behind it and support from Scottish Enterprise, IGS is expanding rapidly and now has nearly 150 staff. This investment will enable its next stage of global growth.
“The success of IGS shows that the transition to net zero can create new opportunities for fair work and prosperity. The Scottish Government is determined to work with businesses and partners to grasp those opportunities as part of a just transition to net zero.”
For lead investor COFRA, a sixth-generation family-owned business, this is a first investment into sustainable food systems and agritech as part of its strategy to contribute to the food system transition. The investment is part of COFRA’s broader commitment to contribute positively to both society and the environment through its businesses and investments.
Donald Brenninkmeijer, the director appointed by COFRA, commented: “With a growing population putting ever greater strain on resources and the environment, there is an urgent need for sustainable, high-yield forms of food production.
“We’re excited to support IGS on its journey to resolve the dual challenge of food insecurity and environmental degradation through its vertical farming technology.
“IGS’s technology is unique, its growth plan solid and we are confident in its potential to rethink the future of agricultural food systems.
“This first investment in sustainable food systems is consistent with COFRA’s longstanding commitment to using business and capital as a force for good and I look forward to working with the IGS Board and management team to further support their growth.”
Donald Brenninkmeijer and Jason Mraz from Ospraie Ag Science LLC have both been appointed to the IGS Board as non-executive directors.
IGS CEO David Farquhar said: “We are delighted to welcome the First Minister to our COP26 site as we make this incredibly important announcement for our business. The conclusion of a hugely over-subscribed Series B round represents another exciting step for IGS and our investors.
“We have been supported with this investment by well-established, globally recognised and highly ethical investors in COFRA, Cleveland Avenue and DC Thomson, who understand the transformational potential of our technology for controlled environment agriculture.
“There is growing realisation in all regions of the world that sustainable, deliverable and scalable food production is fundamental to the future of the planet and its people. The challenge to deliver this is more important than ever, with the backdrop to this announcement coming at COP 26 and the pivotal actions being agreed here.
“An Agriculture 4.0 future must revolutionise crop production and the science behind it, and with high levels of investor confidence in the future of indoor and vertical farming and the brilliant innovation taking place, this vision can become a certainty.”