Crocus Labs closes a seven-figure seed investment round to build energy efficient lights designed for horticulture
November 23, 2022
Berlin, 23.11.2022 – Crocus Labs’ vision is to spark life into spaces. The team achieves this by producing the most energy-efficient full-light spectrum lighting solutions that enable a sustainable future for vertical farms and greenhouses.
With the seven-figure investment round led by High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF) and Brandenburg Kapital, the company will focus on R&D and bring the next generation of luminaires to the market. The round is also supported by BACB Bet. GmbH, the investment vehicle of Business Angels Club Berlin-Brandenburg e.V. (BACB) and angel investors.
Crocus Lab’s mission is to empower the world’s transition to sustainable food through increasingly sun-like, efficient light technologies for greenhouses, vertical farms, and all other forms of closed-environment agriculture. By leveraging proprietary semiconductor technologies, Crocus Labs is developing groundbreaking lighting systems with best-in-class performance. With the received investment, Crocus Labs will continue to innovate, scale and reduce the costs of operating indoor farms while improving crop quality.
Crocus Labs’ founding team Dr. Prashanth Makaram, Markus Erbe, and Galina Gorshkova are focusing on bringing a sustainable agriculture future by utilizing proprietary innovation. The team brings to the table a mix of skills from different industries and first-hand entrepreneurial experience from all three founders.
Crocus Labs was started in 2020 with the idea to leverage the proprietary innovation we had developed and experience in the semiconductor industry, and build a product that will bring a strong positive impact.
Dr. Prashanth Makaram, CEO & founder of Crocus Labs
The product brings up to 50% of energy efficiency by combining intelligent driver technology, proprietary LED diodes, and software components. It also covers a full light spectrum that improves crop quality and health.
With the massively increased energy prices and importance of locally grown food caused by the geopolitical situation, Crocus Labs will play a crucial role in enabling the future of sustainable, regional agriculture.
Disruptive and addressing a strategic issue for Europe in terms of food independence.
The European Innovation Commission Jury
The financing round enables the transition to growth phase
Crocus Labs has been developing the process since 2020, with multiple successful studies demonstrating the product can support the quality & biomass increase across various crops: stevia, basil, chilies, and strawberries. The testing has also demonstrated 15% energy efficiency of the first product generation.
The investment will support further product R&D and production in Brandenburg as well as testing across various customers to prepare the company for further geographical expansion and wide product commercialization.
Energy and food crises underscore the importance of alternative approaches and innovation in securing food production. Crocus Labs’ novel, efficient full-spectrum light enables the implementation of new cropping methods and can thus make a crucial contribution to food production in the future. We look forward to supporting the experienced and diverse team together with the new partners in the further development and scaling of the business.
Dr. Gernot Berger, Senior Investment Manager at HTGF
The innovative lighting solution of Crocus Labs forms one the most fundamental catalysts for the future of sustainable and self-sufficient agriculture in Europe. We see great potential in the combination of good market timing, significant impact, excellent technologies, and a highly competent team and we are proud to welcome Crocus Labs to our portfolio.
Binh Vu, Analyst at Brandenburg Kapital
Further development of indoor and vertical farming concepts will be crucial to successfully face the challenges of sustainable food production. More efficient lighting systems will be the deciding factor in making those concepts profitable and more widespread. We believe Crocus Labs has the technology to enable those concepts, and we are super excited to be part of the journey, together with a phenomenal team and great Co-Investors.
Martin Huber Managing Director, BACB Beteiligungsgesellschaft
About Crocus Labs
Crocus Labs is a Berlin-based startup developing smart LED lighting technology that enables indoor farms (greenhouses, vertical farms, etc.) to significantly reduce their CAPEX and OPEX arising from artificial lights and pathing the way to profitability. The tunable broadband spectrum and related sensors allow customers to grow a wide variety of crops indoors with significantly higher yields.
Founded in 2020, Crocus Labs had developed two generations of products that have been successfully tested with commercial partners growing strawberries, basil, and lettuce.
With a team of serial entrepreneurs and engineers, seed investment, and the EIC grant, Crocus Labs is planning to exponentially develop the technology and expand across the European region and beyond.
Contact info Crocus Labs
Co-founder & CRO
About Brandenburg Kapital GmbH/ ILB
Brandenburg Kapital GmbH is a subsidiary of the Investitionsbank des Landes Brandenburg (ILB). Since 1993, as the venture capital arm of ILB, it has supported Brandenburg-based companies by acquiring equity stakes and equity-like investments. As a public venture capital company, experienced lead investor and active partner, Brandenburg Kapital ensures a strong equity base for start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises in the State of Brandenburg on the basis of a stable group environment. The Early-stage and Growth Fund is currently available in the amount of around 100 million euros for this purpose. The funds for the Brandenburg Kapital fund, which was set up on behalf of the Brandenburg Ministry of Economics, are currently provided by the European Fund for Regional Development and by the ILB. Through ILB’s investment activities, 252 companies have so far been supported on their growth course with around 290 million euros. In addition, private investors have invested more than 640 million euros in the companies to date.
For further information, visit: www.brandenburg-kapital.de
Investitionsbank des Landes Brandenburg
Pressesprecherin: Ingrid Mattern
Tel.: 0331 660 – 1166
Fax: 0331 660 – 61166
Mobil: +49 171 7685894
About High-Tech Gründerfonds
The seed investor High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF) finances tech start-ups with growth potential and has supported over 680 start-ups since 2005. With the launch of its fourth fund, HTGF now has over 1.3 billion euros under management. Its team of experienced investment managers and start-up experts support young companies with expertise, entrepreneurial spirit and passion. HTGF’s focus is on high-tech start-ups in the fields of digital tech, industrial tech, life sciences, chemistry and related business areas. To date, external investors have injected more than 4 billion euros of capital into the HTGF portfolio via more than 1,900 follow-on financing rounds. In addition, HTGF has already successfully sold shares in more than 160 companies.
Fund investors in this public-private partnership include the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, KfW Capital and the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft along with over 40 companies from a wide range of industries.
High-Tech Gründerfonds Management GmbH
Stefanie Grüter, Partner Communications & Relations
T.: +49 – (0) 228 – 82300 – 188
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