on Sep 22 2013
In 2010 we began researching urban agriculture and consulted for green-roof / rooftop greenhouse projects. Though this we saw a greater opportunity to disrupt a broken food system. Soon after, we raised ~$30,000 from 479 backers on Kickstarter to build our first prototype. Thanks to this funding, in 2012, we delivered the first Freight Farm in production to Clark University in Worcester MA.
We currently sell the Leafy Green Machine, which is great for growing produce like basil, lettuce, kale, chard, most types of leafy greens but can also grow cucumbers, peppers and a variety of tomatoes.
We started selling the "Leafy Green Machine" in early 2013 for $60k. The 2014 product sells for $76K .
We have shipped 16 units representing .$1M in revenue to customers in 7 US states.
We have a relationship with a national food distributors buying group and are going to expand through that channel. We're currently have a small salesforce and actively recruiting an experienced VP of sales to build out the larger team over the next 12 months. However, our best salespeople so far have been our customers and will continue to drive rapid growth. Our inbound sales traffic has been overwhelming and has opened the door for us to center sales teams around industry leaders.
In our first market of Boston, a fresh food distributor has committed to buying all the produce generated by up to 15 more farms to start. Their romaine lettuce demand alone would support 125 freight farms. We have seen similar demand in other markets around the country including St.Louis and Minneapolis.
The demand for consistent fresh food production is huge and growing. This is over a billion dollar company. Our initial target market is a $840 million domestic food distributor market. Once we own that, we'll next focus on the Grocery and Contracted Foodservice markets.
We've already been through the process of bringing two manufacturing partner locations online and have established a manufacturing partnership that allows us to replicate the process we've developed while maintaining quality. Our ability to monitor the farms remotely will allow us to assist our customers as needed and actually improve quality as we grow and collect more data on performance.
We understand that business is the driver of change especially in a global system like food. In order to disrupt such massive system we need to provide a platform with the tools to allow millions of different people to be successful. We make it dead simple to be a farmer. We know how make "local" the most profitable solution for food economics.
We partner with regional container modification companies that implement the Freight Farms design. This allows us to avoid the high cost of shipping our finished product long distances, and deliver it to customers faster. Our current lead time is 6-8 weeks.
Funding will get us through 12-18 months. We'll round out the hiring with a VP sales, VP manufacturing, and head of customer support. We plan to sell 30 Freight Farms by the end of the year and have partnership agreements in 4 target market cites.
Freight Farms qualify for the USDA's new small farm microloan program which provides a $35,000 loan at repayment terms of up to seven years and a 1.25% interest rate. Our customers also qualify for a Direct Farm Operating Loan, with a maximum loan amount of $300,000. There is no down payment requirement for either of these loans. With expected revenue from the Freight Farm, customers can pay back the loan in under a year.
We've worked together for over 5 years. First as part of a marketing company that Brad started, then with our rooftop greenhouse consulting business, and now with Freight Farms. Working together across all of those different businesses we've learned how to be an extremely effective team, how to get the most out of each other, and how to effectively split up responsibilities.
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