US-based vertical farming group Oishii has closed a $134m Series B round, led by the Japanese telecommunications group NTT.

The company will use the capital to open a solar-powered facility, expand into unnamed “new markets”, as well as fund innovation developments in “advanced robotics and energy-saving innovations”, it said in a statement.

Oishii was unable to disclose when it expects to open the solar-powered facility or where it will be located.

When asked what the company meant by “new markets”, it said: “Our goal is to continue to expand across the East Coast.”

The publication also asked the New Jersey-headquartered group whether the investment would be used within a particular timeframe.

Besides NTT, other contributors to the fund included venture capital group Bloom8, private investors, McWin Capital Partners and Mizuho Bank, plus Mitsubishi’s food distribution arm, Mitsubishi Shokuin Co.

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­­The Japan Green Investment Corporation for Carbon Neutrality, a fund set up by Japan’s Ministry of the Environment, and local robotics group Yasawaka Electric Corporation also invested in the round.

Oishii’s investment comes as positive news at a point when many vertical farming companies have gone bust amid high energy costs.

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Commenting on the news, Hiroki Koga, Oishii CEO and co-founder, said in a statement: “The time is now to take our technology from a promise of a better tomorrow to a proven reality – making good on the movement my predecessors in Japan started a decade ago.”

He added: “This capital will help us pave the way for mainstream adoption of vertical farming in the US.”

Akira Shimada, the president and CEO of NTT, described Oishii as “a leading company with a great vision, a strategic approach, and one-of-a-kind technology, and has succeeded in what was previously considered difficult to achieve”.

He added: “We are confident that Oishii will be a great partner to take on the challenges for the future of agriculture.”

Set up in 2016 in New York, Oishii, (translating to “delicious” in Japanese) manages two vertical farms in New Jersey. Some 200 employees work for the company.

Opened in 2022, the group’s 74,000 square foot Mugen farm in New York is the “world’s largest” vertical farm for strawberries, it said.

Oishii’s portfolio includes strawberry varieties the Omakase berry and Koyo Berry, which were launched in 2018 and 2023 respectively. Earlier this year, it launched its third product, the Rubī tomato, which it describes as “jewel-like”.

The company’s strawberries are sold across New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, New England, Virginia, New Hampshire, Texas and DC, in over 100 retailers including FreshDirect, Balducci’s, 99 Ranch and Whole Foods. The tomato product is distributed solely in New Jersey through Whole Foods.

Oishii also sells its products through partnerships with restaurants and cafes in New York City. In February it also ran a month-long collaboration with the Planta restaurant which has 15 locations across New York, Atlanta, Maryland, Chicago, DC, Los Angeles, Florida, and Toronto in Canada.