Over the past decade and a half, Spread has become the most recognizable name in the Japanese vertical framing ecosystem. The Kyoto-based firm opened its first farm in 2007 and, six years later, said it was the first company in the space to become profitable. This is no small feat, given the significant overheads associated with running a fully automated indoor farm and the extremely low ROI per head of lettuce.
Spread has also sought to reduce the cost of its products over the past decade. Vertical farming may be new with its own benefits (less water and land use, no pesticides, etc.), but being truly competitive on grocery store shelves means at least matching the price of existing products.
While the company is fairly mature in terms of timing and indoor farm automation, further accelerating its technology and properly marketing its Vegetus brand still requires significant funding at this stage. Spread announced a raise this week 4 billion yen (~$30.5 million) Series A target and align sentences.
The company notes
Since its inception, Spread has always strived to create a sustainable society where future generations can find peace of mind. Spread is currently working towards its 2030 goal of producing 100 tons of lettuce per day domestically. To meet the world’s growing food needs, Spread is expanding its product range with fruit and meat alternatives and looks forward to global expansion in the future.
Spread currently specializes in lettuce, but is working to join a handful of other indoor growing companies with vertically grown strawberries. He also has alternative meat in the roadmap, although there is no indication of how far they are from that.
As a sector, vertical farming has grown rapidly in Japan. The 2011 tsunami that led to the Fukushima disaster is seen by many as the main driver of interest in alternative growing methods. The country’s aging population has also affected its agriculture, resulting in the average age of a Japanese farm being around 67 years old.
Credit: techcrunch.com /