Agricultural Technology Greenhouse Startup AppHarvest Raises More Money

Bloomberg writer Emily Chasan reported today that, “In a bid to push more sustainable production into the U.S. food system, hedge funder-turned impact investor Jeff Ubben is backing agricultural technology greenhouse startup AppHarvest in his first deal since leaving ValueAct Capital Management LP in June to launch a new firm, Inclusive Capital.

“AppHarvest, which is planning to open the world’s largest greenhouse this fall—a 2.76 million square foot facility in Morehead, Kentucky—raised $28 million in a Series C funding round, it announced Thursday. That brings the total raised for the company to $150 million over the past two years.

The latest round was led by J.D. Vance’s Narya Capital, which focuses on ‘scientifically complicated’ startups. It also includes James Murdoch’s Lupa Systems investment firm and Steve Case’s Rise of the Rest fund, among others.”

The Bloomberg article noted that, “The company’s Kentucky greenhouse less than a day’s drive from 70% of America’s population, AppHarvest said, a strategy designed to reduce fuel and food waste associated with transporting fresh vegetables around the country. The greenhouse grower, which relies on rainwater rather than local water supplies, aims to create jobs in Eastern Kentucky, a region hard hit by the decline of the coal industry.

“‘Agriculture is at a tipping point now where we have to have technology and infrastructure come onto farms and update them over the next few years,’ said AppHarvest founder and Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Webb. The company is betting that supply chain disruptions related to the coronavirus pandemic will push large grocers to back more domestic sources of produce.”

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