Evolving market

The last quarter of 2022 and beginning of 2023 have seen increased investment into CEA from different sources — as well as a notable closure.

Fifth Season (whose farm in pictured here) closed in late 2022 after previously announcing expansion plans.
Photo by Michael Ray

Controlled environmental agriculture remains an evolving space. That includes several companies raising new capital or entering into new agreements. Here’s the inside look at three recent deals.

THE DEAL: Local Bounti raises $23.3 million in new equity raise

KEY DETAILS: With the new funding round, the company says it wants to build out its network of farms, improve crop turns and output and improve unit economics.

WHAT THE COMPANY IS SAYING ABOUT IT: “We are very focused on delivering high quality, great tasting produce grown locally and closer to the consumer and this financing allows us to continue to strategically expand our national footprint to meet robust demand from our existing customer base.” — Kathleen Valiasek, CFO of Local Bounti

THE DEAL: Siemens, 80 Acres announce collaboration

KEY DETAILS: Through a partnership and an undisclosed investment, 80 Acres will use Siemens technology to improve “intelligent facility and energy management systems.”

WHAT THE COMPANY IS SAYING ABOUT IT: “We sometimes hear that food is medicine. Vertical farming is an opportunity to turn this concept into a reality, and 80 Acres Farms’ use of technology is now modeling the path forward for this transformative approach to food production. In this moment of change and disruption — and in a world becoming increasingly ‘glocal’ — what I see at 80 Acres Farms represents both the purpose and the power of the industrial technologies now readily available to us: the capability to invent anywhere, then to scale our world-changing solutions everywhere.” — Siemens USA President and CEO Barbara Humpton

THE DEAL: Pittsburgh-based Fifth Season closes

KEY DETAILS: A robotics-centered startup, Fifth Season closed in late 2022, as first reported by the Pittsburgh Business Times. The exact reason the company shut down is unclear, as the company has not released an official statement. Prior to closing, there were plans to build a new farm in Columbus, Ohio, as well as a partnership with Kroger.

WHAT THE COMPANY IS SAYING ABOUT IT: “It was an amazing ride. I’m so proud of the team that we put together and the technology that we made. It was honestly the best job I ever had. … I still believe in our vision. Temporal downturns may have affected us, but I believe it will be a realized solution at some point in the future.” — Eric Chmielewski, software engineer, on his LinkedIn page

February 2023
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