Overcoming obstacles in starting an indoor farm

Eric Levesque, co-founder and VP of Business Development and Sales at Cultivatd, shares his vision on starting an indoor farm. 

"I entered the ag-tech space approximately 5 years ago when I joined ZipGrow Inc in a leadership role as Head of Sales and Business Development. After acquiring a minority stake in the company, I helped to grow the company to 10 million in sales and from only a few employees to 20 or so in the first 24 months. The outpouring of support from potential clients was astounding, but the solution offered was a niche for most projects, leading us to turn away potential buyers on a regular basis. With that in mind, Eric Bergeron (co-founder of ZipGrow and Cultivatd) and I set out to flip the industry on its head by partnering with a wide range of companies in order to have a solution for every project.

"Cultivatd was founded with the goal of addressing what we feel is the biggest issue in entering the vertical farming industry: knowledge. Our team has experience as growers, product manufacturers, and start-up founders and we have seen the industry from many sides and we look to share that every time we work on a project. We’ve seen too many people buy the wrong technology and be stuck trying to make a business work because they only spoke to one company - they simply didn’t know what else was available. 

"Capital is also a big barrier to entry for many. We get hundreds of calls from people that want to impact their communities with vertical farms only to be put off by the true cost of a system (CAPEX), so we are always very clear with people early on. We also work with partners to help lower this barrier to entry as technology is now at a more profitable state than when our industry was just beginning."

"We think we are still at the beginning of this industry, even though our team is now 8 years in, and that the need for indoor farming is going to continue to grow exponentially over the next decade. The global food supply need is getting bigger while the ability to grow food outdoors is changing quickly. We see vertical farms solving a lot of the issues facing mankind in the next 10 years through a variety of technological advances (LEDs, automation, aquaculture, plant varieties (proteins, hops, medicinal), localization of supply chain) and we are proud to be at the center of it. The farm of the future is a hybrid model with multiple technologies and we are positioning ourselves to be core to the industry’s evolution."

Read the complete article at www.agritechtomorrow.com.

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