For lead investor COFRA, a sixth-generation family-owned business, this is a first investment into sustainable food systems and agritech as part of its strategy to contribute to the food system transition. The investment is part of COFRA’s broader commitment to contribute positively to both society and the environment through its businesses and investments, the investor said.
“With a growing population putting ever greater strain on resources and the environment, there is an urgent need for sustainable, high-yield forms of food production. We’re excited to support IGS on its journey to resolve the dual challenge of food insecurity and environmental degradation through its vertical farming technology,” COFRA’s Donald Brenninkmeijer commented.
“IGS’s technology is unique, its growth plan solid and we are confident in its potential to rethink the future of agricultural food systems. This first investment in sustainable food systems is consistent with COFRA’s longstanding commitment to using business and capital as a force for good and I look forward to working with the IGS Board and management team to further support their growth.”
Brenninkmeijer and Jason Mraz from Ospraie Ag Science LLC have both been appointed to the IGS Board as non-executive directors.
COFRA, Cleveland Avenue and DC Thomson were joined by existing institutional investors Ospraie Ag Scienc, S2G Ventures, venture capital firm AgFunder, and Scottish Enterprise in the Series B investment round, with private shareholders and IGS staff also contributing.
The announcement was made at IGS’s COP26 exhibition site at an event attended by Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
Speaking at IGS’s demonstration side in Glasgow, Sturgeon said: “Here at COP26, it’s fantastic to see a Scottish company at the forefront of innovation in agri-tech and vertical farming attracting investment from across the world. With a great team behind it and support from Scottish Enterprise, IGS is expanding rapidly and now has nearly 150 staff. This investment will enable its next stage of global growth. The success of IGS shows that the transition to net zero can create new opportunities for fair work and prosperity. The Scottish Government is determined to work with businesses and partners to grasp those opportunities as part of a just transition to net zero.”
IGS designs and builds vertical farms for farmers and growers in food, pharmaceutical and fragrance markets around the world. It has deployed its technology to customers across four continents to date, with a sales pipeline that has quadrupled in the past 12 months.
Global momentum for ag transformation
IGS said the funding round reflects a ‘broad, global momentum’ driving agricultural transformation. The cash will be pivotal for IGS’ technical development and enhancement of scientific understanding. It will allow ‘wider and faster’ market penetration for IGS as demand for its technology increases from growers, retailers and governments aiming to address food security issues, mitigate environmental concerns and develop sustainable methods of production and new business models in their regions.
“The conclusion of a hugely over-subscribed Series B round represents another exciting step for IGS and our investors. We have been supported with this investment by well-established, globally recognised and highly ethical investors in COFRA, Cleveland Avenue and DC Thomson, who understand the transformational potential of our technology for controlled environment agriculture,” IGS Chief Executive Officer David Farquhar said.
“There is growing realisation in all regions of the world that sustainable, deliverable and scalable food production is fundamental to the future of the planet and its people. The challenge to deliver this is more important than ever, with the backdrop to this announcement coming at COP 26 and the pivotal actions being agreed here. An Agriculture 4.0 future must revolutionise crop production and the science behind it, and with high levels of investor confidence in the future of indoor and vertical farming and the brilliant innovation taking place, this vision can become a certainty.”