This article details Veles Farming a Slovakia based company pioneering the production of saffron indoors. The interview was conducted with Co-Founder and COO Viktor Kulcsar.
What is the origin story of Veles Farming?
Veles farming is a food tech start-up from the heart of Europe that utilizes vertical farming technology and industry 4.0 solutions to grow and sell complex crops.
We began the business as a student project at Inholland University in the Netherlands, and with the help of AERES University in Dronten and their agri-innovation center, we were able to take it to the next level.
We acquired all the necessary expertise and skills here, which allowed us to construct our prototype for growing basic leafy greens, herbs, and microgreens, selling them to bars and restaurants in Amsterdam.
Then we enrolled in the Founders Institute's pre-seed start-up accelerator, and we managed to graduate with the inaugural Vienna cohort in 2021. After that, we were able to gather the funds necessary to construct our commercial-scale prototype in Slovakia.
However, because market trends in Slovakia are very different from those in the peripherals, we had to pivot into growing more complex crops.
Currently, we specialize in growing and selling the highest-grade saffron as we managed to develop a system to have multiple harvests per year (4) compared to (1) possible outdoors with additional plants coming in the future.
What are some of the biggest challenges facing Veles Farming in the future?
We have recently begun our seed round of fundraising, so this will be on our thoughts for the next 5 to 9 months as this process demands a lot of time and effort.
On top of this, there is enhancing the growing recipes for increased yield and output per m2.
Introducing new crops will be another step for us to complete in the coming year as we want to increase the variety of complex crops we want to grow since saffron is a specialty product.
Overall, taking the company from the early stages into the scale-up phase will be the main course of problems for us.
What is unique about Veles Farming compared to competitors? How do you measure the impact of your company so far? (Revenue, Employees, Customer Quantity, Production Volume) etc?
We use the same tools and resources as everyone else, so I wouldn't call our strategy "unique," but we have given it our distinctive spin. (secret sauce)
What sets us apart from competitors is a mix of the growing tower design, crop arrangement, our growing recipes, and the expertise we employ to cultivate crops.
Since our goal is to grow as much as we can with the fewest inputs, we now gauge impact through production.
As we seek long-term partnerships based on trust and collaboration, customer satisfaction is another crucial area for us.
To ensure that our customers are satisfied, we pay special attention to their current needs and tailor our products to meet those needs so that they can benefit the most from them.
What have you learned that you wish you knew when you joined or started the company?
To make wise judgments and successfully manage the complexities of the industry, it is essential to have a solid understanding of how the business operates.
It can be easier to spot chances for growth and development if you have a solid understanding of the market and the industry.
The majority of things require patience and commitment to work.
The hardest thing is starting; I'm not suggesting it will get any easier from there, but at the beginning, you are the only one who can move forward, and then possibilities will start to present themselves. (The harder you work the luckier you get!!!)
How can people connect with you or learn more about Veles Farming?
You can contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting our website at velesfarming.com. If you enjoy what you see and would like to keep up, you can subscribe to our newsletter for Veles Farming updates and information.
Follow us on social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram) to get a glimpse into a vertical farming firm's daily operations, or chat up with the founders, they are happy to answer your questions.
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