Plenty Stock and IPO: Can You Invest in This Vertical Farming Company?
Vertical farming is still in its early stages, but Plenty is rapidly emerging as one of the frontrunners. Read more to learn about your options for investing in Plenty stock or similar companies.
David Dierking Updated April 20th, 2022
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What is Plenty?
Vertical farming uses climate-controlled environments in large warehouses to grow produce. Because greens and vegetables are grown in vertical stacks, they use a fraction of the land typically needed in outdoor farms.
Co-founded in 2014 by Nate Storey and Matt Barnard, Plenty is one such vertical farming company that brings fresh, pesticide-free produce to consumers. It offers several leafy greens and herbs, including lettuce, kale, and spring mixes.
Vertical farming also comes with many environmental advantages. Plenty’s produce contains no pesticides or GMOs. Because water is recycled and filtered, Plenty can grow its crops with only about 5% of the water typically used on outdoor farms.
The company claims that it can increase the yield of its crops to more than 350 times that of traditional farming. Plenty is also capable of growing crops 365 days a year and avoids the risks of extreme weather conditions. It doesn’t matter if the weather is too cold, too hot, too rainy, or too dry. Besides, produce can be grown next to urban centers where the consumers are located. There is no need to put leafy greens into trucks and transport them for hundreds of miles while they wilt.
Where are Plenty farms located?
Plenty is headquartered in San Francisco, California, and employs roughly 400 people. The first Plenty farm, pictured above, opened in San Francisco in 2018. There is also a second farm and plant science research facility in Laramie, WY. The launch of the third, 95,000-square-foot facility in Compton, California, was scheduled for 2020 but delayed by the COVID pandemic. This facility expects to deliver its first crops in early 2022.
The company’s warehouses are located near the California markets Plenty serves. Whereas traditional farming might require transporting produce over long distances, Plenty can harvest, package, and deliver its crops in as little as a day. That improves the freshness of the product and reduces costly spoilage.
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Is Plenty different from other vertical farming startups?
- Plenty has a special relationship with Walmart, but its produce can also be found in Whole Foods and Albertsons
- Plenty relies on AI and robots to grow its crops
- Farms are powered using clean energy
While most vertical farms offer environmental benefits (less land, less water, no pesticides), Plenty has a few unique advantages.
The first is its distribution. As part of Walmart’s investment in Plenty, the supermarket giant will put Plenty’s produce in its stores. The current plan is for the company to supply its leafy greens to Walmart stores later this year.
Once the Compton location is fully operational, it will eventually be the supplier to all Walmart locations in California. As Plenty builds more farms – it plans on having 500 farms worldwide longer-term – it will supply more Walmart stores.
Walmart isn’t the only chain where Plenty will show up. In 2020, it established an agreement to place its vegetables in select Whole Foods locations. In 2021, it expanded its relationship with Albertsons, including Safeway, to be a supplier to 430 locations throughout northern California. Plenty also has a deal in place with strawberry giant Driscoll’s to grow its fruit on Plenty’s farms.
Plenty is also at the forefront of technological innovation. The company uses artificial intelligence (AI) and robots to grow and harvest its crops. Robots plant seedlings. AI monitors the amount of light and water the plants are getting. Plenty’s goal is to automate as much of the process as possible. Besides, Plenty’s facilities are powered by environmentally friendly wind and solar energy.
Will Plenty go public?
At the moment, Plenty is privately owned and its stock doesn’t trade on a public exchange. It also happens to be one of the most well-funded vertical farming companies. At this time, the company has not disclosed plans to go public.
Plenty has raised several rounds of venture capital, including the latest Series E round in 2022. In total, the startup raised nearly $1 billion. Its high-profile investors include Walmart, Bezos Expeditions (which manages Jeff Bezos’s personal investments), and Softbank’s Vision Fund.
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Can you buy Plenty stock?
Plenty stock is not publicly traded, but that doesn’t mean there is no way to invest. Plenty and other privately owned startups may be periodically available on pre-IPO platforms such as Forge, which cater to high net worth, accredited investors.
Who is an accredited investor? There are several ways of qualifying, but broadly speaking, you need to earn at least $200,000 a year for two years and expect the same this year, or your net worth – excluding your primary residence – must exceed $1 million.
Investing in private companies comes with added risk. Private companies don’t have to disclose financial information like publicly traded companies. Their stock is illiquid. Your investment could be tied up for multiple years without the ability to sell it. And the employees or early investors who are selling you stock may know more about the company than you do. Minimum investment amounts can also be offputting, such as a $100,000 minimum through Forge.
Plenty stock alternatives
First, agriculture investing platforms like Harvest Returns let you invest in private indoor farms starting with $5,000.
Second, you may want to invest in publicly traded vertical agriculture companies. Even though Plenty isn’t publicly traded yet, there are vertical farming companies out there that are.
For example, AppHarvest (APPH) is a Kentucky-based vertical farming company focused on strawberries and leafy greens. It has three farms up and running, announced plans for a fourth and fifth, and wants to operate 12 farms by the end of 2025.
Another alternative is Orlando, Florida-based Kalera (KSLLF). The company operates vertical farms that grow a full spectrum of leafy greens. The company is already serving over 1,200 stores in the United States.
🔔 Learn more about investing in vertical farming stocks.
NOT INVESTMENT ADVICE. The content is for informational purposes only; you should not construe any such information as investment advice.