US firm invests £1.5 million in Scottish agri-tech firm

A North American agri-tech firm has invested £1.5 million in a Scottish indoor growing company to help boost its market presence.

Dundee firm Intelligent Growth Solutions Ltd (IGS) uses commercial lighting business to allow vegetable crops to be grown indoors.

The Scottish-led research team at IGS has developed, patented and commercialised an internet-based platform consisting of patented electrical, electronic and mechanical technologies, as well as the world’s most sophisticated ventilation system. All this can be managed using artificial intelligence.

The £1.5 million received from globally established agri-investor Ospraie Ag Science (OAS), is coupled with an additional £100,000 from Agfunder, and brings IGS’ total Series A fundraiser to £7 million.

The New York company joins existing investors such as Chicago firm S2G Ventures, the most active agri-food tech investor globally in 2018; online venture capital firm AgFunder; and the Scottish Investment Bank in the investment round.

The money will be used to help IGS to expand its market presence through global sales operations for both agri-tech and commercial lighting. Demands for its systems are already high with the first deployments expected in early 2020.

Dwight Anderson, chief investment officer at Ospraie Ag Science, said: “IGS has tremendous potential to transform the way food is produced and supplied, and our investment – Ospraie’s first in the indoor agriculture market and in Scotland – is a testament to our strong belief in the success of IGS’ technology.

The benefits of IGS’s vertical farming align well with our mission of helping farmers do more with less.

“We look forward to leveraging our significant agriculture network to help IGS grow its business to meet the market’s demand for sustainable solutions.”

IGS chief executive officer David Farquhar said: “The further investment of £1.6 million is a hugely exciting one, not only for our business, but also for the Scottish economy.

“Ospraie has chosen IGS as its initial investment target in the indoor agriculture market, and also as its first investment in Scotland, which is a substantial endorsement of our technology and approach to-date.

“The pressures of climate change are real and clear and our technology and systems have the ability to play a part in addressing how we produce and supply food sustainably and productively all over the world.

“Our customers in the commercial property world are equally keen to adopt [internet]-enabled smart lighting to create better indoor climates for their tenants and visitors alike.”