CIT GAP Funds Makes Follow-On Investment in Babylon Micro-Farms to Advance Sustainable Urban Agriculture
Additional funding supports company’s continued expansion into senior living and healthcare facilities
Richmond, Va. – March 11, 2021 – The Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) today announced that CIT GAP Funds has made a follow-on investment in Charlottesville, Va.-based Babylon Micro-Farms, provider of a software enabled indoor farming service. Since GAP Funds’ initial investment in 2019, Babylon Micro-Farms has pivoted to focus on indoor growing systems for hospitals, senior living communities, and schools as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The company will use this additional funding to continue its expansion into more locations in Virginia and across the East Coast.
More communities across the U.S. are seeking fresh, high quality produce, but most people lack access to affordable food options due to long and expensive distribution from where the produce is typically grown. This demand is stretched further due to the coronavirus pandemic, forcing restaurants to shut down over the last year and leaving people hesitant to spend too much time in public places. For businesses and communities dealing with coronavirus, the ability to raise fresh produce on site is extremely valuable. Babylon Micro-Farms has shifted the focus of its indoor hydroponic system to meet the needs of these groups.
“Despite challenges in 2020 where some our customers had to temporarily suspend their operations, we have been fortunate to find other opportunities where our farms can continue to operate and provide fresh produce,” said Alexander Olesen, Co-Founder and CEO, Babylon Micro-Farms. “Focusing on hospitals, senior living communities and schools has allowed us to provide a critical need to one of, if not, the most vulnerable populations affected by the pandemic. We are grateful for CIT’s continued support as we continue to expand.”
Babylon Micro-Farms enables small growers and businesses to take control of their supply of fresh produce, including vegetables and salad greens, with a variety of scalable indoor farming modules. These modules are powered by the company’s patented IoT control system that automatically regulates the micro-farm and controls the inventory. The core control system allows remote access and removes day-to-day maintenance. This is also advantageous in the age of coronavirus because it minimizes the need to tend to produce in person and therefore reduces risk of exposure.
“Babylon Micro-Farms has found their focus and it is a reflection of their leadership team’s commitment to building a category-defining customer experience while making a positive impact. The pandemic highlighted a national food-supply system issue, putting the spotlight on a critical need for more locally-grown produce options,” said Alex Euler, Investment Director, CIT GAP Funds. “During a time when many people are experiencing isolation, being able to watch your own garden grow can improve one’s quality of life. The company’s innovative approach to developing a technology system that enables its own staff to remotely control the light, water and nutrients for its farming systems is absolutely making them a leader in this space. CIT looks forward to following their future success.”
In June 2020, Babylon Micro-Farms was awarded additional funding support through CIT’s Commonwealth Research Commercialization Fund (CRCF). The CRCF award, combined with CIT GAP funding, is an example of how CIT’s programs work together to help sustain companies through the difficult first stages of the commercialization process.
About Babylon Micro-Farms
Babylon Micro-Farms provides an on-demand indoor farming service that makes sustainable indoor farming more accessible. We are developing the technology that will inspire a new generation of decentralized urban farms. We are also enabling anyone to grow their own fresh sustainable produce at the push of a button, improving the health of our community of growers and the planet. For more information, please visit: https://www.babylonmicrofarms.com/.
CIT Press 2020-2021