US (VA): Indoor farming startup among finalist for $500,000 Verizon climate tech prize

A local tech startup is on the shortlist to win a nationwide prize for entrepreneurs making a difference in environmental technology.

Scott’s Addition-based Babylon Micro-Farms, which sells and leases modular vertical indoor micro-farms to businesses and individuals, is one of 10 finalists for the Verizon Climate Resiliency Prize, an award established last year to recognize new innovation that helps communities impacted by climate change. Babylon CEO and co-founder Alexander Olesen said he was attracted to the contest’s goal of climate resiliency.

“When we live in an age where smoke fills the skies, and fire and drought and flooding are affecting different corners of the world on a constant basis… there is a whole industry marching toward net-zero [carbon emissions],” Olesen said. “I desperately want that to succeed, but there is also an emerging trend here about resilience and adaptation, right? How do we make the basics, protect ourselves, protect the environment?”

Judges evaluate contestants on whether their products and services are ready to scale, focus on vulnerable populations and leverage 5G broadband technology. The prize includes $500,000, split evenly among four winners, and consulting support from Verizon to help scale the businesses.


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