SoftBank-backed farming startup Plenty in talks to raise $100m

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Indoor farming startup Plenty Inc. is in talks to raise $100 million or more in a fresh round of funding, according to people familiar with the matter.

SoftBank’s Vision Fund is in discussions to lead a new fundraising round for Plenty at or below the $1 billion valuation that was ascribed to it in its most recent round, said the people, who requested anonymity because the matter is private. They cautioned that no agreement has been reached, and that one may not be finalized.

“Plenty does not comment on financing proposals and has not committed to any new financing rounds,” a spokeswoman for the South San Francisco-based company said in an emailed statement. “We are not in need of new equity financing, and evaluate any proposals opportunistically,” she added.

A representative for the Vision Fund didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Plenty has raised about $400 million in capital over the past four years, according to PitchBook. In addition to the $100 billion Vision Fund, other backers include Data Collective, DCM, and funds that invest on behalf of Amazon Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos and former Google CEO Eric Schmidt.

The startup aims to be more efficient than traditional farms, yielding more produce in a given space, while requiring less water.

Last fall, Plenty said it intended to expand beyond the Bay Area and had identified Compton, Los Angeles, as the location for its next farm, with building slated to begin in late 2020.

SoftBank is seeking $10 billion so its Vision Fund portfolio companies can support portfolio companies battered by the coronavirus pandemic, Bloomberg News reported earlier this month.

Some of the Vision Fund’s companies have laid off employees this month including co-working giant WeWork and residential real estate brokerage Compass.

Bloomberg

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.