We have been writing about indoor farming on SustainableAvenue before and this time round, we have a company that enables any business or community to safely grow their own ultra-fresh, sustainable produce.
Founded in 2017, Babylon Micro-Farms has developed a software platform called BabylonIQ that remotely manages the network of modular vertical farming systems. The data collection capabilities enhance the experience by tracking production and measuring efficacy. The service includes semi-automated vertical farms, software, and supplies wrapped into a flat monthly fee.
In 2022, Babylon launched the Galleri Micro-Farm — a large $15,000 “wall appliance” designed to grow more than 50 different plant varieties for on-site harvest — which has accelerated adoption with clients ranging from MSC cruise lines to retailers like IKEA, Neiman Marcus, and major food service management clients like Aramark. They currently operate well over 150 locations within the healthcare, education, and corporate dining sectors.
Later that year, the Richmond, Virginia-based startup was awarded Emerging Technology Startup of the Year at the 2022 RVA Tech Awards, while its co-founders — Alexander Olesen and Graham Smith — were listed on Forbes 30 Under 30 for Social Impact.
Back to the Galleri Micro-Farm; it is a self-contained system that is capable of producing up to 24 pounds of leafy greens a month.
In April 2023, Babylon closed an $8 million Series A round of financing led by Venture South with participation from Virginia Venture Partners, Hull Street Capital, and New Theory Ventures, among others. Additionally, at that time, the company was awarded a $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation. The funding was meant to support the company’s growth and help new businesses and communities to grow their own food using Babylon’s remotely managed vertical farms.
“This investment gives us the resources we need to execute our growth plans serving a range of businesses and communities across North America. We have a fantastic team in place who’s worked tirelessly to get the company to where it is today, and it’s great to see strong investor support for our fully distributed approach to vertical farming in a tough macro-economic environment,” Alexander Olesen, CEO & Co-Founder of Babylon Micro-Farms, said at the time of the funding. “We are demonstrating that growing food on-site is a powerful tool for foodservice operations to source high-quality, fresh ingredients while educating and inspiring their communities to eat healthy food”.
Perhaps one of your local government buildings could benefit from a Galleri Micro-Farm. It would show you're a progressive municipality that is willing to adopt novel technologies while also producing part of the food for local consumption. This may further lead to other businesses in your area following suit, eventually ensuring that more greens are produced locally. Such a move would also promote healthy eating and could thus make a dent in the overall health of your constituents.
Babylon Micro-Farms is still in the "startup phase," and chances are, they are looking for distributors and partners as we speak. You may be the link they're missing and could perhaps contact them to bring their Galleri Micro-Farm to new markets, which would be the towns and cities your company hopes to serve. Since it's a "green" service that also happens to produce healthy food - it shouldn't be a hard sell. Or so we think.