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To solve the issues related to the agriculture industry including soil health, labour shortage, transportation cost and sustainable irrigation, some great technologists and entrepreneurs are working really hard to eradicate these problems. And, investors are also helping them by funding their worthy ideas.
One such startup from France named Agricool has recently raised $28 million (around €25 million) in its latest round of funding. The startup competed with Bpifrance, Danone Manifesto Ventures, Marbeuf Capital and Solomon Hykes, among others and it is working on sustainable containers to grow fruits and vegetables in urban areas; starting with strawberries.
Agricool has got the investments from Bpifrance Large Venture Fund, Danone Manifesto Ventures, Antoine Arnault via Marbeuf Capital, Solomon Hykes, daphni, XAnge, Henri Seydoux, and Xavier Niel via Kima Ventures.
In 2016, the Paris-based startup raised $4.3 million of funding, so now the company has raised $41.3 million of funding in total. Founded by Guillaume Fourdinier and Gonzague Gru in 2015, the startup idea flourished when both the founders were bothered by pesticides and chemicals affecting the quality of fruits and vegetable, including nutritional value and taste. How is Agricool working towards a sustainable and urban Agtech future? Let’s find out!
Space efficient farming
Agricool states that the mode of their farming is 120 times more productive than open field agriculture. Moreover, 90% less water and nutrients are used in producing farm fresh fruits and vegetables. Their ‘Cooltainers’ offer a controlled temperature, humidity, colour spectrum and more. Further, the French startup effectively uses a ton of LEDs to replace the sun.
It is commendable that farming is carried out without any pesticides and GMOs. Not only these are locally-produced but one can relish GMO- and pesticide-free strawberries. Customers can already buy some of the strawberries in a couple of Monoprix stores in Paris.
Agricool’s primary goal is to bring back the incredible taste and freshness to the fruits and vegetables. It is aiming to keep the nutritional value of the farm products intact.
High productivity, low carbon footprint
The output from Agricool’s production is quite commendable. Not only one can grow strawberries all year round but also save water as the container is limited when it comes to space. Since the fruit is locally produced in urban areas, a lot is saved on transportation. So, it is a win-win situation for the parties involved.
Future lies in sustainable farming
The company will use the new funding to increase production by 100 times, including expansion to Dubai, where one of its Cooltainers is already in use. Reportedly, Agricool hopes to launch a hundred containers by 2021 in Paris and Dubai. The company is looking forward to hiring around 200 people by 2021. Beginning with strawberries, Agricool also plans to expand to other fruits and vegetables. Sounds like the future is fresh and nutritious!
Stay tuned to Silicon Canals for more updates in the tech startup world.