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Event Coverage 4 minutes

Countdown to Groceryshop 2019: Innovator Spotlight Profiles — Babylon Micro-Farms

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Coresight Research

Key Points

  • The Coresight Research team will be attending and participating in the Groceryshop 2019 conference, which runs September 15-18 in Las Vegas. The conference is expected to bring together over 3,000 attendees and more than 200 speakers.
  • We’ll be talking about the transformation of the retail industry, shifts in consumer behavior and innovations that are helping retailers keep up with fast-changing consumer expectations.
  • On September 15, Coresight Research CEO and Founder Deborah Weinswig will emcee the Emerging Technology Spotlight session in which 20 innovative, early-stage technology companies (pre-Series A) will present solutions that solve major retail problems. The companies include: Adrich, Datasembly, ShopperMotion, Simporter, Oriient, Pick ‘n’ Watch, SuperUp, Tastry, Tiliter Technology, BrandChat, CoupDog, RetailAware, Shopperations, AGTools, Babylon, Gather AI, Leaf Logistics, Macondo Ventures, MeisterDish and Simplista.

In this report we profile Babylon Micro-Farms, which offers an indoor hydroponic growing technology for grocery stores and restaurants.

This report is part of our 2019 Countdown to Groceryshop: Innovator Profiles series. To view the other reports in this series, click here.

Groceryshop 2019

The Coresight Research team will be attending and participating in the Groceryshop 2019 conference, which runs September 15-18 in Las Vegas.

The conference is expected to bring together over 3,000 attendees and more than 200 speakers. Discussion topics will include the transformation of the retail industry, including convenience stores, supermarkets and e-commerce, and changes in the production and distribution of CPGs across multiple retail verticals.

The event also covers the rapid shifts in how consumers discover, shop and buy — from the use of new technologies and business models to the latest shopper trends.

 

Emerging Technology Spotlight Session

This is the second year the Coresight Research team will support Groceryshop’s early-stage technology startup event: On September 15, Coresight Research CEO and Founder Deborah Weinswig will emcee the Emerging Technology Spotlight, which features 20 innovative technology companies presenting their solutions to solve major retail problems.

Groceryshop selected the participating startups based on their solutions, looking for companies that solve some of the most pressing challenges in grocery, e-commerce, food and CPG. All participating startups offer business-to-business (B2B) solutions. Over 130 companies applied to present at the event: From that group, we selected the 20 using a rigorous vetting process.

These are some of the selection criteria:

  • Early-stage, defined as pre-series A funding.
  • Relevant to the grocery and/or CPG industries.
  • B2B solutions (not consumer-facing).
  • Scalable (good growth prospects).
  • Highly innovative (deep differentiation).
  • Important (solving a major industry problem).

The companies span several countries, although most are based in the US:

  • US: 14
  • Canada: 2
  • Israel: 2
  • Australia: 1
  • Spain: 1

We categorized the 20 companies into four buckets of retail disruption:

Data and Insights: Digital technology is creating new metrics and capabilities to glean insights and understand the best way to meet and exceed customer expectations.

Improved Shopping Experiences: Shoppers demand intuitive and more seamless grocery experiences, both online and in-store. Grocery retailers face challenges in keeping their assortment up to date and in sync with fast-changing consumer demand.

Next-Generation Marketing: With so many different touchpoints and channels to reach consumers, engagement has become more complex than ever. And, there are rapid shifts in how consumers discover, shop and buy. New marketing technologies help grocery retailers and CPG’s engage and acquire customers.

Operations and Supply Chain: Over the next few years, new omnichannel grocery offerings will likely go mainstream, giving consumers new experiences as well as more convenient delivery and pickup options. Simultaneously, technologies such as robotics, AI and IoT are changing how grocery items move from producer to store to consumer.

Babylon Micro-Farms at a Glance

Founded in 2017, Babylon Micro-Farms developed an indoor agriculture technology for grocery stores and restaurants. The company’s on-demand farming service supports a distributed network of micro-farms that allow businesses to vertically integrate their supply chains and grow fresh produce onsite. Babylon Micro-Farms leverages a patented IoT platform to remotely manage indoor farms: Its hydroponic system can grow a variety of leafy greens, herbs, flowers and fruits more quickly than traditional planting methods and using 90% less water.

Source: Babylon Micro-Farms

 

What Problem Does Babylon Micro-Farms Solve?

Food retailers and restaurant owners would love to be able to offer locally grown fresh produce – growing on site would be a particular selling point for consumers looking for a true farm-to-table experience. However, the infrastructure is complex and adding that to the already daunting task of running a grocery store or restaurant would be impractical. Babylon Micro-Farms offers modules with fixed dimensions; food retailers and restaurant owners can choose the number of modules based on the size of their operations and the produce variety they want. The Babylon app provides live data and harvest scheduling on the farm; farm owners can also re-order the growing supplies from the app.

Headquarters

Charlottesville, Virginia.

Funding Stage

Seed.

Management Team

Founder Alexander Olesen graduated with a degree in foreign affairs and social entrepreneurship prior to founding Babylon Micro-Farms.

Market Potential

According to Organic Produce Network and Nielsen,  sales of organic fresh produce increased 8.6% to $5.6 billion in 2018 in the US.

Company Outlook

In August 2019, Babylon Micro-Farms received an undisclosed amount in seed funding from CIT GAP Funds.

 

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