Infarm, once Europe’s largest vertical farming company, has been declared bankrupt in the Netherlands as of September 19, according to official documents.
The news comes after the company shut down operations across its key markets of the UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark over the last year. In June, Sifted reported that Infarm was leaving Europe altogether and has set its sights on expanding to the Middle East.
Infarm, which launched in 2013, grows vegetables like salad leaves and herbs in vertical farms and sells them via supermarkets, restaurants and wholesalers. The company has raised $473m in total, according to Dealroom, from high profile investors like Atomico and Balderton.
But like many vertical farms, Infarm has been hit hard by rising energy prices, which prevented the company from reaching profitability.
In November 2022, Infarm laid off half of its staff, citing the economic downturn, the increasing costs of energy and disruption of supply chains.
Sifted has reached out to Infarm for comment.
A flight to other continents
The Middle East is an exciting prospect for vertical farming startups, say commentators, as energy is relatively cheap and governments want to improve food security through the creation of more localised supply chains.
Infarm, which was backed by the Qatar Investment Authority at its last funding round in 2021, previously stated its plans to open a growing centre in the country in 2023.
The company is also building a facility in Toronto, Canada.
Infarm told Sifted in a June 2023 interview that it plans to “continue to grow our business in North America, where we currently farm in our state-of-the-art growing facility in Toronto”.