Appleton-based Fork Farms, an agriculture technology startup that makes hydroponic systems, raised funds from TitletownTech venture capital fund, a $25 million fund and venture studio led by the Green Bay Packers and Microsoft. The VC fund, which is managed from the Packers’ Titletown District in Green Bay, writes checks between $100,000 and $1 million.
Fork Farms’ indoor vertical farming system, called the Flex Farm, was designed to eliminate food transportation costs. It consumes 97% less water and gives 45 times more produce production than traditional agriculture. Its’ even 40% more energy efficient compared to hydroponic systems currently in the market.
“Low accessibility of fresh food is a huge problem for many people, and Fork Farms is a great example of local entrepreneurs chasing a big opportunity to make positive change.”Craig Dickman, Managing Director, TitletownTech
The salient features of the Flex Farm are:
|COSTS LESS THAN|
$1.50 A DAY
|HARVEST UP TO|
THAN 20 LBS.
EVERY 28 DAY CYCLE
“TitletownTech is an incredibly innovative model that will significantly bolster the local start-up economy. It provides an exemplary blueprint that should be followed by other organizations around the country. The depth of support is unprecedented and will provide Fork Farms significant acceleration and lift to our organization’s mission of unleashing the power of fresh food production.”Alex Tyink, co-founder, Fork Farms
Fork Farms’ timeline:
- 2010: Fork Farms founded as an independent contractor building rooftop and indoor gardens for schools and food programs in New York. Initial product research focused on lowering operating costs of indoor agriculture.
- 2013: 26 product prototype iterations built. Core intellectual property discovered.
- 2014: Patent awarded. Business moves to Wisconsin. First Flex Farm prototype built out of wood in a garage.
- 2015: 8 field-test installations of Flex Farm Generation 1 (made out of stainless steel) with support from Goodwill Industries. First prototype donated by Bassett Mechanical.
- 2016: Resounding positive product and program feedback from community leads to family and friends capital round and engineering of Generation 2 Flex Farm. Partnership with Feeding America established.
- 2017: Generation 2 Flex Farm launches (made out of recyclable plastic) and 30 installations completed. Environmental efficiencies and commercial viability proven.
- 2018: Seed capital round raises $750K. 95 Flex Farm installations. First commercial-scale installation commences (2,000 sq ft). Fork Farms wins THINC! Innovation Award.
- 2019: Generation 3 launches, opening global shipping capability. Over 50 Flex Farm installations completed across 10 states. Gardan Inc. formalized as a fulfillment partner. FIRST Educational Resources develops custom K-12 curriculum. Taher Inc., a food service company based in Minneapolis, MN, begins providing Flex Farms to its clients. Fork Farms enters into multiple product distributor agreements.