This interview details Hydropolis, an indoor farming company based in Poland. The interview is with Wojciech Krajewski, CEO of Hydropolis.
What is the origin story of Hydropolis?
Our journey started five years ago when we learned about the concept of vertical farming. What started as a hobby, quickly changed into a business vision.
Our mission was to find solutions to the impending issues of food shortages and clean air and water accessibility that are approaching us. With the world's population projected to reach 9.8 billion by 2050, it is crucial that we find innovative ways to ensure that everyone has access to the basic necessities of life.
Furthermore, as time goes on, it's becoming clearer that the changes we're seeing in the environment are linked to human activity. The agricultural industry contributes to 23% of greenhouse gas emissions. The expanding global population in such a short span of time is likely to trigger challenges of the accessibility of clean air, water, and food.
We have been grappling with the worsening impacts of climate change each year. Scarce water resources and droughts adversely impact crop cultivation and lead to significant losses.
Our team has successfully achieved the objective of creating innovative technology that takes a different look at cultivation methods, making them faster and more water-efficient than traditional agriculture. Our first hydroponic cultivation prototype with a controlled atmosphere was developed in collaboration with the University of Agriculture in Krakow (2019). The company Hydropolis was registered in 2020.
The name we chose, Hydropolis, embodies the values we hold dear: responsible use of water resources and care for the natural environment. It is the combination of "Hydro" (meaning water) and "Polis" (referring to the ancient Greek city-state). We chose this name to represent our modern approach to water management infrastructure and our commitment to creating a sustainable city.
What are some of the biggest challenges facing Hydropolis in the future?
Success doesn't happen overnight. It takes a solid plan and a well-crafted strategy to achieve it. When you combine knowledge, science, and passion, you get a winning formula for success – and that's exactly how we grow. We're not the ones to sit on our laurels.
The task of scaling our business is one that requires careful planning and execution. Developing effective cultivation recipes is a challenging and time-consuming process. This process requires constant repetition and optimization. Our ambition is to create cultivation recipes for many plant species, including those that produce fruit. That's why we're focusing on plans to develop our R&D center, as we see it as a thrilling opportunity to take our business to the next level.
What is unique about Hydropolis compared to competitors?
Our company's core focus is on cultivation regulations, which we refer to as "cultivation recipes".
These algorithms work by taking into account various factors that influence plant growth, such as the plant's nutritional needs, environmental conditions, and energy requirements.
We analyze data on plant physiology to determine how different plants absorb nutrients from their environment, whether from water or the atmosphere. Using this information, we can create a plant growth model that helps us optimize the growth of various plant species.
We created an algorithm for managing plant growth by integrating a mathematical and logical cultivation model with data collected from probes that monitor the atmosphere and growing medium. Our automation system uses this algorithm to maintain ideal growing conditions and to regulate various components, such as irrigation pumps, dosing pumps, mixers, oxygenators, lamps, fans, valves, and filters.
With this process comes not only the provision of logical values, but also the infrastructure:
Our R&D team's primary focus is on developing specific algorithms for each plant species, ensuring that every process is carefully repeated and individually adjusted. This approach guarantees consistent quality and quantity. Furthermore, ensures precise planning and production of any desired quantity of plants within a given timeframe. The development of these algorithms is a key function of our R&D team.
Grow Wizard software is the beating heart of our system, managing everything from the execution of uploaded algorithms to providing support and guidance to our users. Through the software, our skilled technologists can manage every aspect of cultivation. This powerful tool allows for planning, monitoring, and precise planting and harvesting of crops, ensuring optimal results with every cycle.
Our company has pioneered new technology in Poland that allows for year-round cultivation, which is complemented by our state-of-the-art Grow Wizard software and automation tools. In addition, we offer comprehensive solutions for constructing, managing, and operating vertical farms. With our cutting-edge technology and expertise, we're proud to be at the forefront of the vertical farming industry in Poland.
How do you measure the impact of your company so far? (Revenue, Employees, Customer Quantity, Production Volume) etc?
Our team has grown significantly since our beginnings in 2018 with just two members. By 2020, we had doubled our workforce to four people. We are proud to say that we now have a team of 25 highly skilled individuals, including our subcontractors and designers.
At our company, we have a well-structured organization where each department is dedicated to the development of a specific field. Our approach involves setting measurable goals and leveraging a combination of expert knowledge, scientific rigor, commitment, and passion to achieve them. With this method, we're able to drive innovation and deliver high-quality results across all aspects of our business.
But that's not all – we're constantly measuring the impact of our company on various levels, from revenue and customer quantity to our ongoing research and development efforts.
Currently, we're proud to be working with two clients – SmartFood, who are striving to create a sustainable future through innovative food production and consumption methods, and a private investor who is partnering with us to start his own cultivation facility near Warsaw.
At the heart of all our efforts is our R&D center, where we're constantly conducting research to improve cultivation recipes and offer the best solutions to our customers. And with a team of talented specialists in various fields and plans to expand our R&D center even further, we're poised to make a big impact in the years to come.
In 2023, we aim to provide our clients with a total cultivation area of 1700 square meters.
What have you learned that you wish you knew when you joined or started the company?
At our company, we believe that commitment and knowledge are the cornerstones of success. With these values at the forefront of our approach, we constantly focus on our specializations and achieving our goals. Our dedication to these principles has allowed us to continually innovate and make significant contributions to our field.
How can people connect with you or learn more about Hydropolis?
They can visit our website: https://www.hydro-polis.com/en/
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