“Design is really important for indoor farming as you need to use every cubic meter in a very functional and intelligent way. The design needs to accommodate automation to avoid human error, and it needs to be financially accessible if we want people to transition to indoor farming,” says Abdel Rahmna Alzubaidi, founder and CEO of agtech company Ivvest.
Abdel Rahmna Alzubaidi
Ivvest is a vertical farming company that was established in Amman, Jordan, in 2019. The company builds vertical farms using its proprietary vertical growing systems. Ivvest currently has two solutions on the market, the first being its “capsule” or container farm that can be installed as a single unit and then scaled up. The second product is a custom-built farm.
Custom-built from end to end
As Abdel explains, Ivvest’s growing systems were designed in-house as they found the commercially available systems to be inefficient in their use of space and resources.
For example, Ivvest designed its own grow lights to ensure that the light would cover the entire space and use 40% less electricity. The farm itself is also completely insulated to reflect solar radiation and facilitate temperature management in the farm. Fans and HVAC systems then allow the grower to precisely manage the climate in the farm.
Ivvest has two operational indoor farming units – one in Amman, Jordan, and a pilot in Qatar. The company is also working to install a third one in Saudi Arabia.
“Our first indoor farming unit in Amman was built to prove the efficiency and validate our propitiatory end-to-end solutions from the structure, the farming systems, lighting systems, and our indoor farming operating software. With this showcase, we were able to collaborate with a partner in Qatar to build our first pilot project there,” says Abdel.
Challenges to vertical farming in Jordan
As vertical farming is new to Jordan, Abdel explains that he has had to convince people of the value of vertical farming. However, the reduced food miles and higher product quality tell the story of vertical farming quite well. People are also made aware of vertical farming through all of the projects and start-ups featured on social media and in the news, all of which increase awareness of vertical farming at a rapid pace.
Ivvest raised more than $100.000 in its first round of funding, which allowed the company to develop the final product. The company is now in its second round of funding, which will allow Ivvest to penetrate markets in the Middle East and Europe. The company has already started its Startup Visa process in the Netherlands with the aim of accelerating our R&D and believes this will facilitate market penetration in the EU.
“Overall, our financing is good. Logistics-wise, we have lots of solutions nearby, as well as universities, accelerators, and support from the municipality of the Hague (Impact City Programme). We believe that this will be a great starting point for us,” explains Abdel.
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Abdel Rahmna Alzubaidi, founder and CEO