Gotham Greens, the New York-based producer of greenhouse-grown greens and products including dressings, dips, and sauces, has just raised $310 million in a Series E funding round to lead its U.S. expansion plans.
Led by BMO Impact Investment Fund and Ares Management, the Series E also includes participation from Commonfund, RockCreek, Kimco Realty Corporation, Manna Tree Partners, and The Silverman Group. This raise brings Gotham Greens’ total funding to $440 million since launching in 2009.
“Today, our ambitions and footprint are outgrowing our roots in the best way, and we’re humbled to receive this funding from new and existing investors to continue our national expansion in order to reach our goal of delivering Gotham Greens fresh produce within a day’s drive from our greenhouses to 90 percent of consumers across the U.S.,” co-founder and CEO Viraj Puri said in a statement.
The company is working on three new greenhouse locations in Texas, Georgia, and Colorado. The funding will support expansion plans for Chicago and the Northeast. It also has eyes on locations in California, New York, Maryland and Colorado.
Gotham also made its first acquisition—a 540,000-square-foot FresH2O Growers facility in Virginia, just outside of Washington D.C.
Gotham Greens made history in 2013 when it partnered with Whole Foods Market to put the first greenhouse on top of a supermarket. The 20,000-square-foot greenhouse opened at the Whole Foods Market store in Gowanus, Brooklyn, with products being sold in the store below.
By 2023, the company expects to own and operate 13 locations across nine states totaling about 40 acres of growing space. It plans to double its greenhouse growing capacity to more than 1.2 million square feet this year.
Demand for healthier plant-based fare is boosting interest in leafy greens. Gotham Greens saw its sales increase 26 percent year on year. By comparison, the greens category only grew three percent. Indoor growing saw more than $1 billion in investments last year—up 25 percent over 2020.
Part of the interest in greenhouse-grown greens is a reduced risk of pathogens and other contaminants that can affect field-grown greens.
But the company is pushing the sustainability angle the hardest and decentralizing growing operations while bringing them closer to cities. With placement in more than 3,000 grocery stores in the U.S. already, the new Gotham Greens’ facilities will help it reduce transport time to less than a day per location.
Greenhouse growing, unlike vertical indoor growing operations, runs on sun-powered greenhouses, reducing the need for artificial lighting and other energy-intensive operations. Gotham also says its indoor growing reduces the need for water by 95 percent compared to conventional farming.
Featured photo Gotham Greens in California | Courtesy Arco Murray Aerials