Hydroponics startup Babylon Micro-Farms raises $3m seed capital for US expansion


US indoor agriculture startup Babylon Micro-Farms has closed a $3 million seed round led by previous investors including the Center for Innovative Technology (CIT).


New investors to take part in the fundraise included Hull Street Capital, VentureSouth, and CAV Angels – the University of Virginia‘s alumni angel investor group.


Babylon will use the capital to fund its nationwide expansion. It offers a cloud-based, plug-and-play hydroponics system for indoor farming operations. The Richmond, Virginia-based startup claims that its 15 square-foot miniature farm can grow as much produce as 2,000 square-feet of outdoor cropland.


In January 2020, Babylon raised its initial seed investment of $2.3 million led by CIT’s early-stage investment group CIT GAP Funds and startup incubator Plug and Play Ventures.


“2021 is on track to be a year of accelerating growth and major market penetration through national distribution as we continue to focus on deploying our indoor farming service,” Babylon CEO Alexander Olesen said in a statement.


“We’re enabling businesses and communities to grow their own fresh produce and demonstrating the benefits of our fleet of remotely managed vertical farms.”


Indoor farming startups have been bagging fundings left, right, and center of late. Babylon Micro-Farms is just one of the latest outfits to capture investors’ attention, along with the likes of New York’s Oishii, Germany’s Infarm, and recently SPACced Kentuckian player AppHarvest.


What makes Babylon unique — in its own estimation — is its “remotely managed,” easy-to-use growing platform. The technology could give aspiring or existing indoor growers a quick way to get into the game instead of building a new growing system from scratch, or having to learn the ropes through old-school, analog means, the startup suggests.


Babylon Micro-Farms’ machinery can squeeze into relatively smaller spaces compared to many other indoor ag solutions on the market. This may give users a foothold over larger operations by allowing them to enter the fray more quickly while bigger players are still shopping for real estate. Through a two-year lease contract, Babylon users can dabble in the indoor farming craze without having to commit to a more long-term operation. This can also give flexibility when it comes to testing new markets.


“The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted a national food-supply system issue, putting the spotlight on a critical need for more locally grown produce options. Babylon Micro-Farms has found their focus, and it is a reflection of their leadership team’s commitment to building a category-defining customer experience while making a positive impact,” Alex Euler, investment director at CIT GAP Funds, said in a statement.


“During a time when many people are experiencing isolation, being able to watch your own garden grow can improve one’s quality of life. The company’s innovative approach to developing a technology system that enables its own staff to remotely control the light, water, and nutrients for its farming systems is absolutely making them a leader in this space.”

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