Technology, food system and agricultural transition: Futura Gaïa raises €11 million to reach industrial scale

by | Feb, 11 2023

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tt the crossroads of precision agronomy and cutting edge technology, Futura Gaïa designs a unique automated soil-based vertical farming solution, complementary to open field and greenhouse agriculture. This solution meets the needs of pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries by providing both pesticide-free and high-quality locally grown produce.
Futura Gaïa has just raised €11 million in a second funding round to reinforce agronomical and technological R&D capacities along with the installation of a first vertical farm at an industrial scale.

Futura Gaïa, a French startup located in the south of France, designs and markets ready-to-use vertical farms. It’s the only firm in the Controlled Environment Agriculture market (CEA) to offer rotating geoponics, an innovative soil-based solution for indoor plant production. To face the accelerating impacts of climate change and water scarcity, Futura Gaïa wishes to contribute to improving the territories’ food sovereignty, while involving all local actors (farmers, distributors, food industrialists, public authorities and even citizens).

In order to reinforce its agronomical and technological R&D capacities, to reach industrial scale and to launch its commercial phase, Futura Gaïa has just completed a second funding round of €11 million. The round table is composed of historical partners (UI Investissement, Sofilaro, Région Sud Investissement, Caap Création a subsidiary company of Crédit Agricole Alpes Provence, Occipac, Elpis and Alain François Raymond) and of new investors including Banque des Territoires, Abeille Impact Investing France, Colam Impact, InvESS’t PACA and several dozens of private individuals through Sowefund, a participative funding platform.

Futura Gaïa raised €2.5 million in 2020 with the help of UI Investissement. The company built its first indoor farm of 1 900 m² in Tarascon (Bouches-du-Rhône region, France), which includes 50 growing systems and combined advanced agronomical and technological innovations (the rotating geopony uses the Canadian GiGrow cultivation system. The Tarascon experimental farm is currently the most advanced GiGrow technology implementation project in the world).

On behalf of the French government, Bpifrance leads the “Première Usine” project. This is part of the France 2030 investment plan, which aims to support the transformation of excellence sectors in the French economy in the automotive, aerospace, digital, green industry, biotechnology, culture and healthcare where Futura Gaïa is one of the 18 winners of this first wave of “Première Usine” projects.

For Pascal Thomas, co-founder and CEO of Futura Gaïa, “we see our innovation as a complementary solution to the necessary changes in the agricultural world. Our solution enables the supply of fresh, local and healthy plant products. It will also be a privileged source of high environmental quality plant produce for both pharmaceutical and cosmetic markets. The support and loyalty of our historical investors combined with our new capital providers testify the relevance of our approach.”

“Futura Gaïa is the proof that innovation belongs to local territories. The startup provides a unique and innovative solution to tackle major challenges such as the erosion of France’s production capacity and its high-dependency to agri-food imports. Convinced of the need to transform production models, Banque des Territoires is supporting Futura Gaïa in every key step of its development by investing in equity capital” specifies Annabelle Viollet, Occitanie Regional Director of Banque des Territoires.

“Colam Impact is delighted to support Futura Gaïa in this new development stage. The company provides a particularly relevant solution for sustainable agricultural production which is innovative and complementary to open field crops. Its technology and agronomic expertise respond to the many challenges facing the agricultural sector: better management of water resources, zero pesticide use, preservation of biodiversity, but also the resilience and food security of territories, thus creating real environmental and economic value” adds Philippe de Moustier, CEO of Colam Impact.

Thomas Rivron, Investment Director of Abeille Assurances, specifies “the highly innovative nature of the agricultural production solution developed by Futura Gaïa is able to create stable and quality employment in territories by relocating some of the agricultural production and optimizing water and inputs consumption in a context of water scarcity.”

“This new funding round is exciting news not only for the company and its committed team, but also for the future of indoor farming. Our region is once again demonstrating the dynamism of its business ecosystem in the service of transitions. We are delighted with this co-investment alongside our historical shareholders and other leading impact funds” adds Jean-Michel Sibué, Associate Director of A Plus Finance.

For Georges Viglietti, CEO of Sowefund, “the relevance and positive impact of Futura Gaïa have generated a strong interest among our community of individual investors. We are pleased to join this funding round and to support them in the next stages of their development.”

 For Muriel Sembelie and Patrick Gounelle, founders of the regional entrepreneurial fund Occipac, “thanks to its vertical farm solution which combines precision agronomy and new technologies dedicated to the cultivation of plants, fruits and vegetables with high nutritional value, Futura Gaïa provides one of the most efficient and successful solutions on the market. Through its reinvestment, Occipac fund, a long-time investor in Futura Gaïa, confirms its support and commitment to the company’s management, which is providing a concrete and sustainable response to the major food challenges.”