Netherlands: Tencent invests in indoor vertical farm Future Crops

Start-up uses a soil-like substrate to imitate the natural environment to grows fresh, clean, ultra-sustainable crops
Future Crops

Chinese multinational conglomerate Tencent has invested in Future Crops, which has established a fully automated indoor vertical farm in Westland, Netherlands.

An Israeli-Dutch venture, Future Crops has developed advanced vertical farming that uses a soil-like substrate to imitate the natural environment. Future Crops says its farm grows fresh, clean, ultra-sustainable crops at competitive price points.

To date, Future Crops has raised more $30 million in seed funding from a private equity arm run by the Lerman Family, and leaders in the American steel industry, to finance the construction of its facility and to hire staff. This is the first time Future Crops has sought investment beyond its initial round of funding.

Gary Grinspan, co-founder and chief executive of Future Crops, said: “Tencent’s investment reflects the company’s focus on sustainable innovations and support for technologies, like vertical farming, which can create clean, locally grown sustainable food while helping to mitigate the negative impacts of climate change. We believe our soil-substrate-based platform is closer to nature and produces fresh, longer-lasting, higher-quality produce at improved yields, as plants grow best in soil.

“The timing of this investment round is perfect for us as Future Crops has recently scaled up to mass production capacity.We’re already supplying fresh high-quality herbs to leading European retailers, both under private label and our own brand. Currently, we market all our produce, so this investment will allow us to expand our capacities to meet demand and continue to increase our R&D capabilities and develop proprietary technology.”

Tencent’s chief European representative Ling Ge added: “Tencent supports companies creating solutions to the world’s most critical challenges, including technologies that can feed more people using fewer resources. Investments in sustainable agriculture technologies, such as vertical farm systems, aligns with our mission to apply technology for good.”

Future Crops maintains a strategic partnership with Israel’s Agricultural Research Organization and also collaborates with Wageningen University, both renowned agriculture research centres.