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Agricool raises €4M for indoor fruit and veg cultivation

Agricool is a startup created in 2015 by Gonzague Gru and Guillaume Fourdinier, two sons of farmers who couldn’t find any high-quality fruits and vegetables in the city. The problem was obvious: fruits and vegetables sold in cities don’t have any taste and they’re full of pesticides, they say. The reason was obvious, too: fruits and vegetables in Europe travel, on average, 1500 km before reaching your table. They’re harvested too soon and they are expected to ripen during the transportation process. What’s worse, they’re selected precisely for their ability to travel instead of for their taste. And why do they come from so far away? Because space is rare: in France, 25 square meters of agricultural land disappears each second. So if we want to eat high-quality fruits and vegetables, we need to find a way to grow them in cities, they thought.

Inside, all growing conditions are optimized: irrigation, lighting, CO2, etc. By doing so, a Cooltainer is 120 times more productive than the same space in the fields, without using pesticides, while reducing the amount of water needed by 90%, and only using renewable energy sources, Agricool claim. Cooltainers can be placed almost anywhere in cities and towns, and they can be managed even by those without any previous experience in farming. The first fruit that is being grown is the strawberry, one of the symbols of lost quality over the past several decades, according to the company.

Agricool has spent 2016 in a major Research & Development phase, going from a prototype Cooltainer to one that can be scaled everywhere. The startup went from 2 employees to 30, harvests have been multiplied by 10, and the team is now working in a 1500 square meter warehouse in La Courneuve, just outside the Parisian city limits.

Now, Agricool is announcing a €4M fundraising round with Daphni, Henri Seydoux (Parrot) and Jean Daniel Guyot (Trainline, formerly Captain Train). These funds will serve to speed up Agricool’s development: the goal for 2017 is to install 75 Cooltainers, distribute 91 tons of strawberries and begin work on two new crops.

Photos by Tony Trichanh

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