Sunday Wrap Up: 4AG Robotics' Funding Triumph and GreenOnyx's Space Endeavor

Discover this week's latest development from the world of Controlled Environment Agriculture.

As we begin a new week, we have a significant update to share:

We are pleased to announce the merger of our organization with the Vertical Farming Podcast, resulting in the formation of AgTech Media Group, LLC.

What This Means for You: This development signifies our transition into a multi-media platform. Soon, you will be able to access our content in various formats - be it reading, listening, or watching.

Opportunities for Sponsorship: As we prepare for our new season, we are eager to work with companies that share our vision and would want to support our endeavor. Feel free to reach out by replying to this email!

Proceeding to This Week’s Content: We now move forward to this week's wrap-up, bringing you the latest updates and insights in our field.

Special thanks to this edition’s sponsor, Artechno Growsystems, for keeping this edition free.

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This Week in Indoor Farming: 4AG Robotics' Funding Milestone and GreenOnyx's Historic Space Agriculture

4AG Robotics, formerly TechBrew Robotics, has successfully raised CAD 17.5 million in Series A funding, marking a significant advancement in agricultural technology. This investment will accelerate the development and deployment of their innovative mushroom-harvesting robots. With the strategic appointment of Sean O’Connor as CEO and Chris Payne as CFO/COO, the company is expanding its team and ramping up production, aiming to revolutionize the mushroom industry by addressing labor shortages and enhancing productivity. The funding, which includes contributions from various investors and marks InBC’s first direct investment, demonstrates strong confidence in 4AG Robotics' potential to transform mushroom harvesting with its patented technology despite the current challenges in securing capital for such ventures.

Israeli agro-tech company GreenOnyx has made history by sending its flagship product, Wanna Greens®, the world's smallest and most nutrient-rich green vegetable, to space. Launched on November 9, 2023, aboard SpaceX as part of the CRS-29 mission, this marks the first time duckweed has been included in a space mission. The initiative aims to explore Wanna Greens® for its rapid growth, high nutritional value, and potential as a sustainable food source for long-duration space missions. Grown in an eco-friendly indoor farm, Wanna Greens® is free from pathogens, pesticides, and harmful chemicals, boasting a high iron, zinc, and potassium content. With a stable shelf life and ready-to-use convenience, this mission, led by GreenOnyx co-founder Dr. Tsipi Shoham, signifies a significant step in space exploration and agricultural technology, potentially impacting fresh food supply chains in space travel and sustainable agriculture on Earth.

In Other News:

A Grist investigation uncovered the harsh realities at AppHarvest. Despite promising a revolution in sustainable indoor farming and quality employment, the company fell dramatically short. Grist's findings revealed that employees endured oppressive heat, inadequate training, and hazardous working conditions. The startup's lofty goals of revitalizing economically distressed areas through climate-resilient agriculture and job creation crumbled, leading to significant financial losses and bankruptcy. The disparity between AppHarvest's vision and its workers' actual experiences, as Grist detailed, highlights the challenges and complexities in realizing idealistic agricultural ventures.

According to a PitchBook report, Bowery Farming, a vertical farming startup, has recently faced significant challenges, layoffs, slowing growth, and a plummeting valuation. The company, once a unicorn in the agtech sector, is struggling as funding for the industry diminishes. Despite raising $85 million in a Series D round, Bowery's fundraising fell short compared to its previous $320 million Series C1 round in 2021. The company has delayed opening new facilities in Georgia and Texas, and Fidelity Management & Research has drastically reduced the valuation of Bowery's shares by over 85%. These developments reflect broader difficulties in indoor farming, which has seen a dramatic 87% decrease in VC investment. Despite these setbacks, Bowery has managed to keep its products in stores and maintain its existing farms. The company's financial woes include a marked decline in the fair value of FS KKR and Trinity loans, with varying assessments from the lenders. 

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