Spread strawberries, alternate meat, and eyeballs after the Series A rise

Spread has become the most recognised name in Japan’s vertical framing ecology during the last decade and a half. Six years after opening its first farm, the Kyoto-based business claims to be the first in the industry to be profitable. Because of the high cost of creating a fully automated indoor farm and the poor return on investment per head of lettuce, this is no easy task.

Over the last decade, Spread has also worked to reduce the price of its products. Even if vertical farming has its own built-in benefits (less water and land usage, less pesticides, etc.), competing on grocery store shelves requires at the very least matching present crop prices.

Even while the firm is well-established in terms of timetable and indoor farm automation, it still needs a large amount of money to further accelerate its technology and adequately advertise its retail brand, Vegetus. Spread announced this week that it has raised a 30.5 million (4 billion yen) Series A round geared at enhancing the company’s products.

According to the firm,

Since its establishment, Spread has always strived to create a sustainable society where future generations can attain peace of mind. Currently Spread works toward its 2030 goal of 100 tons of lettuce daily production domestically. To answer the world’s growing needs of food supply, Spread is widening its product range by working on fruits and alternative meat, and is looking to expand globally in the future.

A few other indoor farming firms are already releasing vertically produced strawberries, and Spread is hoping to join them. Alternative meats are also planned, but there’s no telling when they’ll be available.

Vertical farming is a fast expanding industry in Japan. One factor in the surge in interest in alternate means of growth is the 2011 tsunami that triggered the Fukushima nuclear plant tragedy. The country’s ageing population has also had an effect on the country’s agricultural business, which now has an average age of 67 years.