January 12, 2023
In 2022, indoor ag funding brought to the forefront some difficult hurdles of the industry while also shining a light on opportunities and areas for growth and expansion within the indoor ag industry.
Despite a rough funding environment across the board, the indoor ag industry still raised over $1bn in 2022. Venture capital (VC) investment continued to weaken from the record-setting levels of 2021, declining by 37 in 2022, according to industry analyst CB Insights.
2022 Funding Overview
During 2022, we saw:
-Announcements of builds in crops beyond leafy greens, such as strawberries. It has been long anticipated that these crops would become commercial.
-Development & funding of promising plant biology approaches e.g. Pairwise, which promise potential gamechangers for the industry’s profitability.
In 2022, we saw a sharp pick up in M&A activity, with the beginnings of roll up strategies (a company growing by acquiring several of its rivals in quick succession) in areas such as greenhouse manufacture and controls and automation. We are also seeing farms consolidate and expect more of this in 2023. Notable deals included AppHarvest’s sale and leaseback arrangement with greenhouse major Mastronardi, and Local Bounti’s acquisition of fellow farmer Pete’s.
Elsewhere, private funding remained respectable, at $1bn. This was down on 2021’s record total. The fall was smaller than that seen by the wider venture capital industry. Though we saw fewer deals (29 vs 51 in 2021), there were notable raises from greenhouse farmer Gotham Greens and vertical farmers Bowery Farming and Plenty Ag.
In recent years we saw more interest in CEA from large private equity and tech firms, who made substantial investments. This led to a wave of IPO listings in indoor agriculture expanding beyond the usual cannabis companies which have led the way in terms of SPACs.
Download the briefing paper for stats on CEA funding by year, by location and by sector.