Agriculture is at the center of many of the global issues we face today.
Agriculture is at the center of many of the global issues we face today. We’ll need to produce more food in the next 30 years than we have in the last 10,000, all while managing a diminishing supply of water and arable land. In the U.S. alone, traditional agriculture uses 700 million pounds of pesticides annually, and fresh food takes weeks or even months to move through an opaque supply chain onto our plates — one that is all too vulnerable to foodborne disease as recent E.coli outbreaks have made clear. We started Bowery three years ago with the deep conviction that there must be a better way.
At that point, we were a small team of 5 with a plan to build our first farm backed by incredible partners. We had been working tirelessly for quite some time to ensure that before we took anyone’s money, we were as prepared as possible. I vividly remember standing in a cavernous, empty warehouse imagining what that space would ultimately become. It seems like ages ago, but it’s been just 3 years.
As Bowery grew (literally and figuratively) our ambitions never waned. Lessons from our first farm quickly translated into plans for our second, and we were fortunate to see enormous enthusiasm from customers, retail partners, and investors. In May 2017, we welcomed new investment partners into the company in order to continue to grow and expand. Since then, we’ve opened our second farm in New Jersey — 30x larger than our first — and we’ve grown from a group of 8 people to a team of over 65.
While we’re proud of what we’ve accomplished, we still have a long way to go, which is why we’re incredibly excited to announce that we’ve raised $90 million in new funding, led by GV (formerly Google Ventures), with participation from Temasek and Almanac Ventures. Our Series A investors, General Catalyst and GGV Capital, as well as a number of our seed investors, including First Round Capital, also participated in the round.
Andy Wheeler from GV will be joining Hans Tung from GGV, Spencer Lazar from General Catalyst, and Rob Hayes from First Round Capital on our Board of Directors. Not only is Andy one of the foremost investors in the food and agricultural space, having backed companies like Farmers Business Network and Impossible Foods, he has been a part of the Bowery family since participating in our Series A. We are also very fortunate to be working with one of the other leaders in agriculture, Temasek, which has invested in companies including Modern Meadow, Impossible Foods, and Perfect Day, among many others in the space.
While this latest financing is an important step toward our goal of democratizing access to fresh, local food, we have a lot of work in front of us. We plan to use this new funding across three main areas: building out our operations, expanding our products and partnerships, and growing our team to do both.
Building Out Our Operations:
Our plan is to build a global distributed network of farms connected to each other through BoweryOS, the brains of our system. We expect to open multiple farms in the coming year and have already begun work on our next farm outside the tristate area.
Expanding Our Product and Distribution:
Since launching, we’ve been overwhelmed by the demand for Bowery products. Customers love the opportunity to buy fresh, local, pesticide-free produce year round. Our distribution partnership with Whole Foods has expanded, and we’ve welcomed new partners like sweetgreen and Dig Inn with many more to come. We are continuing to expand the types of produce we offer and will be partnering with new retail, food service, and restaurant partners in the new year.
Growing Our Team:
Since the beginning, we’ve focused on building a world-class team made up of farmers, data scientists, agricultural scientists, systems engineers, software engineers, computer vision engineers, marketers, operators, and more. We’ve hired experts in their fields from a number of companies we admire including Amazon, Climate Corp, NASA, Samsung, Bain, Unilever, Casper, Goldman Sachs, and Betterment, bringing a broad set of experiences and perspectives to the team. We’re quite a diverse group, yet we all share a belief that a better future is possible and a drive to be a part of that solution. We’re actively hiring for a number of roles, so if you’re passionate about revolutionizing agriculture, check out our open positions.
Thanks to everyone who has helped us make it this far in the last three years — customers, partners, investors, advisors, and most importantly the Bowery team itself. We’re inspired, determined, and excited for this next phase of growth.