Controlled environment agriculture startup Hippo Harvest announces $21m Series B funding to scale next-generation greenhouse platform

Hippo Harvest, a Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) startup developing advanced greenhouse systems that produce sustainably-grown produce, has announced the close of its $21 million Series B funding round led by Standard Investments.

Congruent Ventures, Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund, Hawthorne Food Ventures, and Energy Impact Partners also participated in the round. The funding will be used to scale the company’s greenhouse operations and to expand its product offerings into new categories of leafy greens.

Founded in 2019, Hippo Harvest operates a first-of-its-kind repurposed greenhouse facility in Pescadero, CA that out-competes traditional greenhouses in scalability and unit economics and is comparable to traditional outdoor-grown produce prices. The company utilizes a closed-loop, non-recirculating, direct-to-root fertilizer system, machine learning and autonomous mobile robots to calculate and efficiently distribute water, fertilizer, light, and heating on a micro-climate basis throughout its greenhouses. The result is significantly more cost and resource efficient production of fresh produce. Consumers and retailers enjoy the superior quality, consistency, and food safety of Hippo greens at competitive prices.

Eitan Marder-Eppstein, CEO, Hippo Harvest:  “We’re excited by the opportunity to scale our production and reach more consumers with high-quality, sustainable produce. Our team’s work over the past twelve months demonstrates our ability to create modular, cost-effective growing systems that can be deployed across the country. We look forward to working with our investors to make it a reality.”

Logan Ashcraft, Principal, Standard Investments: “Since inception, Hippo has delivered superior produce while maintaining cost efficiencies. Standard invests in companies disrupting traditional industry and we are thrilled to partner with Hippo on its journey to scale.”

The company’s farming methods increase food safety and extend shelf life by up to 30% compared to outdoor-grown produce, due to a number of unique factors. Plants are irrigated with purified water and a uniquely customized nutrient blend from below, rather than above, reducing the risk of pathogen and fungus formation caused by water and nutrients touching the leaves. Off-the-shelf robots with customized attachments are used to tend to and harvest the plants, delivering precise levels of water and nutrition for healthier plants. All production is done in a clean, controlled greenhouse, reducing damage and quality variations that occur in conventional outdoor farming. Products are packed on-site, immediately after harvesting, using 100% post-consumer recycled plastic. Instead of conventional chemical pesticides, the company uses beneficial insects, natural oils, and other pesticide free practices.

Hippo Harvest’s approach to growing produce in greenhouses addresses a critical need to reduce climate change related volatility in the fresh-food supply chain. It also offers ecological benefits like significantly reducing water and fertilizer use, even in low-water environments or areas with limited agricultural space, and reduces methane-producing agricultural waste that is caused by traditional farming, without sacrificing accessibility and affordability at commercial scale. These characteristics increase the availability of locally grown, fresh food and provide communities with more accessible water, a cleaner environment, and safer, more stable agricultural jobs, without sacrificing accessibility and affordability at commercial scale.

The company signed The Climate Pledge, a commitment co-founded by Amazon and Global Optimism for businesses to reach net-zero carbon by 2040. Today, San Francisco residents can find Hippo Harvest products on the shelf at their local Gus’s Community Markets or online at Amazon Fresh with more locations coming soon in Northern California.

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