I'm excited to announce that Brooklyn Bridge Ventures has led a $1 million round into Agrilyst.
Food is a big market.
There are a lot of humans and those humans eat a lot.
Unfortunately, growing all this food is getting harder. Climate change makes the weather unpredictable. Frost, drought, and flooding make the prospects for outdoor growing more and more difficult. On top of that, farmers are trying to figure out how to do more with less--and the answer to improving yields lay partially in being able to optimize and control more factors in the growing process. On top of that, we're actively trying to cut the distance between where food is created and where it is consumed in order to make it more sustainable.
That's why indoor farming has, no pun intended, gone through the roof. It's not a simple solution, however. Indoor farms consume a lot of energy--cutting into the sustainability gains around transportation decreases. Farmers are now looking to technology to help solve those problems and make indoor growing more efficient--because climate change is making it look more and more like a necessity. That's where data comes into play. Knowing exactly what factors produce what kinds of outputs is critical to the indoor farming infrastructure.
Over a year ago, Allison Kopf came to me to share her view on the tools that indoor growers needed to operate efficiently. She had great experience and insights from her time at Brightfarms, which finances, designs, builds and operates greenhouse farms at or near supermarkets.
How early was she in her planning? Well, let's just say the idea was called "Gardeneuron" at the time. :) Glad she's rethought that brand direction over time.
It was one of the first conversations she ever had about the idea--and she was about 9 months away from raising funding. At Brooklyn Bridge Ventures, there's no such thing as too early to have a conversation.
Various hardware systems used sensors to track indoor environments, but none of them spoke to each other or had good interfaces. It wasn't much different than the original pitch that I got for Datadog: "See metrics from all of your apps, tools & services in one place." Datadog is now a hugely successful startup monitoring all the systems of many of the apps you use everyday--enabling ops teams to make smart decisions around optimizing their infrastructure.
I was seriously impressed with her insight and she convinced me about the market opportunity. She went on to crush it at Techcrunch Disrupt in SF, winning the event, and we put together a seed round.
I'm excited to back her and her co-founder, Jason Camp, and to have helped them connect to their new VP of Engineering Aaron Quint, who joined the company after a successful tour at Paperless Post.