Beanstalk

This interview details Beanstalk, an indoor farming company based in the United States. The interview is with Mike Ross, Co-Founder & CEO of Beanstalk.

Source: Beanstalk

What is the origin story of Beanstalk?

  • The company was started by myself and brother Jack, both have engineering degrees.
  • Problems: 60% of the calories in the US consumed are processed.
  • Problems: Freshness is an issue with the produce.
  • Solution: As a result of these trends we partnered with a restaurant tour in the area and created a soil-based vertical farm and that was the beginning of our journey through the US Food System.

Source: Beanstalk

‍What are some of the biggest challenges facing your team in the future?

  • The challenge up until now has just been building the system.
  • Now we are able to run a healthy business unit.
  • The key is pricing at least a couple of dollars per pound.
  • Going forward we want to grow responsibly and not get over our skis and grow too fast.
  • Other important things are the right types of capital raising the site selection and building our team.
  • We really don't want to focus on growing too fast.
  • The current system for our indoor Farm runs profitably we were founded at the end of 2017.
  • For the first 4 to 5 years of the company we focused on R&D and then after focused on the direct to Consumer Channel.

Source: Beanstalk

What is unique about Beanstalk compared to competitors?

  • Our technical Advantage is our cost to produce the economics are similar between crops from an infrastructure perspective for us and lower than competitors.
  • Also, our solid kits are value-added products we are the only company with a solid kit that includes micro greens.
  • The cost of growing is the cost of inputs water nutrients electricity grow media typically electricity is the largest.  long-term the cost of food should approach the cost of energy is how we look at it typically the cost of energy depending on the area is between $1 and $2.25 per pound.
  • We are on the market that the cost of outdoor production will increase and this will make indoor farming economics more attractive.
  • In our system, we have found that the extra costs from soil do not significantly add to the total cost to grow.

Source: Beanstalk

How do you measure the impact of your company so far? (Revenue, Employees, Customer Quantity, Production Volume) etc?

  • In terms of the crops that we are actually selling now they include microgreens herbs and salads.
  • In the future, we want to grow cherry tomatoes and peppers as well.
  • Our pre-made salad kits are key they are ready-to-eat salads the kids have had good adoption.
  • We are moving into a 40,000-square-foot facility and we have been doing so for the past year.
  • The soil in the indoor Farm is the key to our success we pre-process the soil make sure we control additives, and can get better performance than Hydroponics.
  • There are more micro and Macro Nutrients a garden soil will have 50 to 60 nutrients whereas hydroponic crops have 20 to 30 micro and macronutrients.
  • We are active and composting with roots and leaves we have a machine shop on site and also do R&D finally we produce our salad kits on site.
  • The ultimate test was how good the product was we tested it out on a small mailing list and personally conducted 300 to 400 interviews from there we developed a healthy base of customers and now have distribution in Maryland Virginia and the DC area.

Source: Beanstalk

What have you learned that you wish you knew when you started the company?

  • Key learnings include people come into indoor farming and think everything needs to be controlled what we found is that you don't need to control every last environmental Factor if you control the temperature and humidity those are the key aspects. For example, EC does not have to be extremely precise in our experience.
  • Number two on learning is how impactful growing in soil can be it adds to the nutrient and taste profile of the product.
  • Next, we have learned quite a bit about LED lights. we have done a decent amount of work on grow light recipes and we develop our own. our recipes include red and blue but include other Spectra we are also researching how far red and UV can have benefits on antioxidants.
  • Regarding mushrooms we have tried on a small scale overall We Believe mushrooms are incredible foods with Incredible benefits so we will be revisiting them some companies out there are already doing well with mushrooms overall they are important and you will see mushroom offering from Beanstalk in the future .

Source: Beanstalk

How can people connect with you or learn more about Beanstalk?

Website: https://beanstalk.farm

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/beanstalkfarms

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/beanstalk_farms

Source: Beanstalk

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