January 24, 2019 12:45 PM, EST

Virgo Invests in Indoor Farming Company 80 Acres Farms

Virgo Investment Group has made a “significant” investment in 80 Acres Farms, a Cincinnati-based indoor farming company, according to a Jan. 15 press release. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Since its founding in 2015, 80 Acres has fine-tuned a process of growing crops indoors with LED lighting, allowing easier access to locally grown leafy greens, microgreens and vine crops. Its system makes use of artificial intelligence, data monitoring and automation technologies.

Each of the company’s three currently operational farms — in Ohio, Arkansas and North Carolina — has one refrigerated van to distribute to customers within a 50-mile radius. Customers also can pick up directly from the farm.

80 Acres Farms markets its indoor agriculture process as how a growing human population will feed itself in the future. The facilities allow for crops’ ideal conditions by controlling variables such as nutrients, water and air.

“Virgo Investment Group joins our existing notable and experienced food industry investors in supporting the company to rapidly commercialize the indoor vertical farming technology we have developed over the past three years,” 80 Acres Farms CEO and co-founder Mike Zelkind said. “We are optimizing every aspect of our production processes and driving down costs, which is crucial to scaling an indoor farming business like ours.”

Virgo’s investment will help 80 Acres Farms complete its previously announced facility in Hamilton, Ohio, which will be the first fully automated indoor farm in North America, according to the release. Seeding, growing and harvesting processes will be automated, and the first phase of the project will be operational early this year.

Virgo, which was founded in 2009, is based in the San Francisco Bay Area. It targets companies undergoing industry or company-specific change and has invested more than $1.1 billion, completing 52 investments to date. — Transport Topics