Bayer And Temasek Unveil New Company Focused On Innovative Vertical Farming Solutions

Wednesday, August 12th, 2020 | 1157 Views


Leaps by Bayer, the impact investment arm of Bayer AG and Temasek, the global investment company headquartered in Singapore has announced the joint investment and formation of a new company, Unfold. The new venture will focus on innovation in vegetable varieties with the goal of lifting the vertical farming space to the next level of quality, efficiency and sustainability.

While most start-ups in the vertical farming market are focusing on the development of more efficient infrastructure, Unfold is the only company with unparalleled assets to unlock the genetic potential of vertical farming. By utilising the seed genetics (germplasm) from vegetable crops, Unfold will focus on developing new seed varieties coupled with agronomic advice tailored for the unique indoor environment of vertical farms.

Unfold raised USD 30 million in the initial funding round and entered into an agreement for certain rights to germplasm from Bayer’s vegetable portfolio.

“The investment in Unfold is a great example of a transformative, creative approach to developing agricultural products that meets the needs of consumers, farmers and the planet by increasing access to fresh fruits and vegetables, supporting sustainably grown, hyperlocal production and addressing food security challenges faced by growing urban populations,” said Jürgen Eckhardt, Head of Leaps by Bayer.

Vertical farms, also known as indoor farms or plant facilities with artificial light (PFAL), utilise indoor growing facilities that leverage artificial light, reduce dependency on synthetic chemistry and other crop inputs, optimise water use and allow food growth in challenging environments with limited arable land. Vertical farms help crops grow more quickly, enabling the reliable growth of fresh, local produce anywhere, anytime utilising less space and fewer natural resources while reducing the need for food logistics and transportation.

Investment in the vertical farming market has increased significantly in recent years mainly due to decreasing arable land, increasing market demand for local, sustainable produce and migration towards mega-cities.

Singapore, where Temasek is headquartered, is one of many mega-cities experiencing an increasing demand for fresh, sustainable and locally grown produce that has a smaller environmental footprint, using fewer resources to grow and ship, offering peak freshness and flavor.

“The global food challenges we increasingly face require us to rethink traditional farming practices. We need to ensure secure farm-to-fork supply chains in urban settings while we also work to reduce the overall environmental impact of farming. Reducing food waste and improving the safety, traceability and nutritional value of food are all the more important as populations grow and demands for food expand,” said John Vaske, Head of Agribusiness at Temasek.

“Investments in companies such as Unfold allow us and our partners to support innovative, sustainable solutions that will benefit all of us over the long term.”

 

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