“The beta products were tested by several growers to gather feedback for more improvement, that really addresses the industry’s pain-points,” says Ben Lee, founder and CEO of InvertiGro. During COVID we’ve seen lots of opportunities come up both here in Australia and globally.
The Asia Pacific is especially interesting for us to explore. We’ve received many inquiries globally as we’re offering an agnostic system that can grow microgreens to lettuce, mushrooms to medical marijuana and more. The ability to grow, and switch between a wide variety of crops has definitely been of interest to lots of growers and businesses looking to vertically integrate and become growers.”
A warehouse setup of the InvertiCubes
More affordable solution
According to Ben, the system allows 30% lower OpEx than current indoor farms, 4 times lower CapEx. Next to that, he says that Invertigro’s solution allows for 3 times bigger footprint productivity. In comparison to greenhouses, this solution would allow for 50% less CapEx and a 13 times bigger footprint productivity.
The InvertiCube is a sealed growing module, which comprises 1.5m x 1.5m x 2.2m, that is available in two different configurations (horizontal and vertical) to create the ideal conditions for maximum yields of a wide variety of different crops.
Closed off from the environment it’s located in, there is no need for the expensive building modifications often associated with establishing an indoor farm. Ben explains that with these modular systems scaling is made very easy and affordable. Especially in warehouses, these cubes can be stacked in regular pallet-racking as high as the ceiling height will allow.
The horizontal and vertical solution
“We started InvertiGro, because there weren’t any really efficient growing solutions in the market that were instinctively easy to use and affordable for farmers, “We’ve been in talks with different operators along the food supply chain from farmers to food distributors, retailers, restaurants and foodservice companies. From these conversations, we’ve noticed there are lots of problems in terms of yield consistency and product output. There is also a growing awareness of the need to build farming capacity closer to the end consumers, so as to avoid waste and increasing supply chain costs and disruptions.
Crop flexible solution
InvertiGro’s model is based on lots of R&D, testing on seeds, nutrients and optimum growing conditions to provide reliable and consistently high-quality yields for customers. The Australian tech startup based in Roseberry (a Sydney suburb) has two different products in its portfolio: a growing module ), named the InvertiCube and a growing wall, named the InvertiWall. Both are two stand-alone products. “the InvertiWall is aimed at retail, restaurants and bars, designed to be on display. Whilst the InvertiCube is our commercial-scale product aimed for growers of literally any scale," Ben affirms.
InvertiGro’s four main components are, hardware (OEM), technology, service and support. The company provides a complete user-friendly growing system through its integrated farm management technology platform which allows control of the environment for different plant varieties. In a facility, multiple crops can be grown at the same time.
As of now, InvertiGro has developed tested and optimized grow recipes for 150 different varieties of produce Ben adds, “You can grow almost anything, such as eggplants, strawberries, beans, etc..” Each InvertiCube can reliably produce up to 1000kg of lettuce or 2000kg of microgreens each year”.
Recipes are pre-programmed by Invertigro and are easy for farm operators to manage. It doesn’t take expensive labor going up in the farm to monitor and control the plants. “On top of that, we make sure the staff is fully trained and supported to get their farm efficiently up and running,” Ben adds.