Existing investor Cox Enterprises led a debt and equity round to increase its share in the indoor farm operator to a majority stake.

Communications and media group Cox Enterprises led a $100m series E equity and debt round for US-based indoor farm operator BrightFarms yesterday, taking a majority stake in the process.

Growth equity firm Catalyst Investors also participated in the round, which BrightFarms said increased its overall funding to more than $200m.

BrightFarms runs a network of indoor farms across the US states of Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Virginia, growing fresh greens through a model that requires considerably less land and water than traditional methods, and supplying local grocers and supermarkets.

The company is developing new farms in Texas, North Carolina and Massachusetts and Texas, and aims to eventually secure a presence in every major market in the country.

Steve Bradley, Cox Enterprises’ vice president of cleantech, said: “Cox Cleantech’s goal is to build meaningful businesses that solve fundamental problems facing society and our environment.

“BrightFarms provides this opportunity through its sustainable model of growing food in the same communities where it is consumed, resulting in food that’s fresher, safer, better tasting and better for the environment.”

Cox Enterprises also led BrightFarms’ last round, a $55m series D round in July 2019 that included Catalyst Investors, WP Global Partners and NGen Partners – the three investors that had supplied it with $30.1m in series C funding three years earlier.

Retail group Tengelmann’s US investment arm, Emil Capital Partners, took part in the company’s $14m series B-1 round in 2015 alongside WP Global and NGen Partners.

BrightFarms completed a $7.9m series B round the year before, with Emil Capital, NGen Partners and company founder Ted Caplow all contributing to its $4.9m first close. The same three had provided $4.3m in 2011.

Image courtesy of Brightfarms.