Infarm, the Germany-based vertical-farm operator, has attracted more funding to fuel its bid to “make a truly global impact”.

The company, set up in 2013, has raised US$170m in the first close of a Series C funding round the Berlin business expects to reach $200m.

In June last year, Infarm announced $100m in Series B funding, which built a $25m tranche the company received the year before.

Infarm said the latest round had taken the funding it had so far secured to more than $300m, which the company claimed “underscored consumer and retailer appetite” for its production systems in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The group said it is working with retailers including Kroger in the US, Marks and Spencer in the UK, Aldi in Germany and Sobeys in Canada.

Erez Galonska, Infarm’s co-founder and CEO, said: “The coronavirus pandemic has put a global spotlight on the urgent agricultural and ecological challenges of our time. At Infarm, we believe there’s a better, healthier way to feed our cities: increasing access to fresh, pure, sustainable produce, grown as close as possible to people.

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“As we scale to 5,000,000 sq ft in farming facilities across Europe, North American and Asia by 2025, this investment will help us make a truly global impact through our network, preserving the thousands of acres of land, millions of litres of water and ultimately change the way people grow, eat and think about food.”

The first close of funding in the Series C round was led by “impact investor” LGT Lightstone, which is part of LGT Group, a private banking and asset management group controlled by the Liechtenstein royal family.

Infarm also attracted backing from investors including venture-capital fund Hanaco and German family-owned private-equity firm Haniel. Existing Infarm investors including venture-capital firm Atomico, as well as investor firms Mons Capital and Astanor Ventures, also took part.

Pasha Romanovski, co-founding partner of Hanaco Ventures, said: “We are big believers in vertical farming as we see the traditional industry going through much-needed rapid disruption these days.”