Ottawa’s The Growcer raises $3M from investors including Jeff York, Jeff Westeinde

Corey Ellis and Alida Burke Growcer
Growcer co-founders Alida Burke (left) and Corey Ellis.

Ottawa-based vertical farming company The Growcer has raised $3 million in Series A financing to accelerate the company’s growth. 

The round was led by strategic investors Modern Niagara, Jeff Westeinde and former Farm Boy co-CEO Jeff York, the company announced Tuesday.

In a news release, Growcer said it will use the capital to “accelerate its growth trajectory, expand its market reach into more regions such as the northeast U.S., and enhance its product offerings beyond leafy greens and modular structures.”

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“We’ve found an ideal group of investment partners that understand our space, can help us drive revenue growth and streamline our operations so that together we can help more people unlock local food year-round,” said Corey Ellis, CEO and co-founder of Growcer. “It’s validating to have investors who have repeatedly shown their confidence in the business.”

According to the news release, Modern Niagara, a national building services provider, will bring value to the partnership due to its manufacturing capacity and expertise as Growcer “pursues a broader set of purpose-built agricultural growing solutions.”

York brings experience in the grocery industry, where Growcer’s modular farms have gained traction, with many retailers growing greens steps away from the produce aisle. York is currently a full-time special adviser with Sobeys.

Westeinde is a cleantech serial investor and sustainability engineer and a “natural addition to the strategic partnership,” the company said. 

Both York and Westeinde are returning investors who participated in an earlier seed round.

The founders of Growcer, Alida Burke and Ellis, will maintain their majority stake and focus on “ensuring that the company’s original vision and mission to bring local food and secure supply chains to all continues to guide its future.” 

Growcer’s modular vertical farms “enable anyone to grow food year-round.” Prior to this investment, Growcer said it has seen revenues double year-over-year. To date, there are more than 80 Growcer farms across the country growing more than 10 million servings annually of local greens. Customers include retailers, entrepreneurs and schools, as well as rural, remote and Indigenous communities.

According to the company, Growcer has enabled fresh produce to be grown at -40 C, designed the first wheelchair-accessible modular vertical farm in Canada, and launched the Farmplex – a multi-farm, bolt-on solution for commercially focused customers.

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