Bayer and Temasek form new company focused on vertical farmingChristian Fernsby ▼ | August 12, 2020
Leaps by Bayer, the impact investment arm of Bayer AG and Temasek announced the joint investment and formation of a new company, Unfold.
Bayer Vegetable varieties
Topics: Bayer Temasek
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 utilizing 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 aligns with Bayer’s vision of “Health for All, Hunger for None”, a commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals the United Nations has set for 2030, especially the goals of assuring healthy lifestyles and putting an end to hunger.
Vertical farms, also known as indoor farms or plant facilities with artificial light (PFAL), utilize indoor growing facilities that leverage artificial light, reduce dependency on synthetic chemistry and other crop inputs, optimize 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 utilizing less space and fewer natural resources while reducing the need for food logistics and transportation.
Unfold will support the hyperlocal production of consumer-pleasing vegetables while also addressing the increasing need for a reliable and safe supply of sustainably grown produce, especially in food deserts and in times of crisis such as the coronavvirus pandemic.
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.
Led by CEO John Purcell, Unfold will be a U.S. entity headquartered in the Davis, Calif. area with commercial and research and development operations in both California and Singapore. ■