UK food technology company, Vertical Future, completes its £4m seed round to accelerate growth plans in London
- Funds will be used to build additional ethical plant factories in London Fields and Mayfair, expanding from its existing site in Deptford
- The move will also see improvements in technology, primarily in automation, data, and nutrition
- Earthworm, lead investor, and High-Net-Worth-Investor-base invest in high-yield food production for urban environments
- The company’s long-term objective is better urban health
Today (7 th October 2019), Vertical Future, a London-based food technology company, announced the completion of its Seed Round, raising £4m of equity finance, with further investment expected in the coming months. The company uses technology to produce high-quality, ethical food (primarily baby leaf vegetables and herbs), in controlled environments.
They also develop efficient and sustainable methods of food production and supply systems, with a long-term commitment to improving health and reducing CO2 emissions in cities.
“Following several years of hard work, today’s raise validates our growth strategy and strong position in the London market, furthering our mission to improve the food and health of urban inhabitants, starting in London” said Jamie Burrows, Founder and CEO of Vertical Future.
The capital raised will be used to support the first phase of Vertical Future’s long-term, ambitious growth strategy. The company will see a 25x increase in crop production capacity across its London operations, aided by the development of two new ethical plant factories” in London Fields and Mayfair, as well as further developing its existing site in Deptford. Despite significantly more automation, this heightened production is expected to lead to 30 or more permanent local jobs, with more specialist roles focusing on the development of in-house growing tech, robotics, and process management.
The investment round was led by Earthworm – a fast-growing impact investor with a portfolio across food, energy and waste – and supported by corporate finance adviser, Acceleris Capital. Also supporting the raise was Amberley Advisory and Gateley.
Ben Prior, CEO of Earthworm said: “Vertical farming offers huge potential in solving one of the biggest issues of our time – how to feed a growing population sustainably. We are really impressed with Jamie’s vision and work ethic, and the team at Vertical Future has a very special business poised for growth.”
Lord Nigel Crisp, Former Head of the NHS and Non-Executive Board Member at Vertical Future, added: “This is our first major move in this sector, enabling us to direct our work more towards health, in addition to purely producing food, in future years. Sustainable food will be one of society’s biggest health challenges and we aim to be at the forefront of the effort for better, long-lasting, tangible solutions”
Vertical Future’s ability to produce significantly more food will target a 10x increase in its Business-2-Business (B2B) restaurant, home cooks, and food brand customers – sold under the “MiniCrops” consumer brand. Current customers include Tom’s Kitchen, Mindful Chef, Chop’d, Kaleido, Sartoria, Lahpet, and Quaglino’s, to name a few.
Simon Thorn, CEO of Acceleris said: “We are delighted to complete this transaction with Jamie and the team at Vertical Future. We believe that we have secured an excellent investment partner in Earthworm and we look forward to supporting the company’s growth over the coming years. The team has attracted an impressive customer base so far and we see plenty of areas for growth.”
About Vertical Future
Vertical Future is a privately-owned technology company focused on improving health in cities through developing a better, more efficient food production and supply system. www.verticalfuture.co.uk
About the Founder
Jamie Burrows previously worked as a consultant specialising in healthcare and life sciences strategy. Before founding Vertical Future in 2016, he worked at numerous top-tier consulting firms including EY and Deloitte, and also undertook a secondment to the Office for Life Sciences at the Department of Health. Educated to PhD level in Economics, Jamie believes that much of the Vertical Future business directly relates to the central theme of health economics – resource scarcity.
Earthworm is an environmental fund manager which only backs projects that will have a positive social or environmental impact. We work closely with industry professionals from food, energy and waste to source, develop and nurture start-up and scale-up businesses with significant commercial potential. Although it is vital for the companies within the Earthworm community to make a return for our investors, it is equally important that they are ethically driven and they contribute to the circular economy. Members of the Earthworm community share expertise and best practice to support each other and achieve the best return for investors.
Earthworm now manages over £100m of investor capital. 10% of Earthworm profits go to charitable causes and 10% is invested directly in the environmental technologies of tomorrow.
About Acceleris Capital
Acceleris Capital are an FCA regulated corporate finance boutique who focus on advising early-stage technology SMEs. Since incorporation in 2000, Acceleris have advised and managed fundraisings for over 50 UK businesses and raised over £120m, with a track record including start-up to IPO, trade sale and private equity exits.
Acceleris primarily source external funding directly from their network of High Net Worth investors and major UK investment institutions.
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