ASSOCIATION FOR VERTICAL FARMING (link to original article)
DATE: MARCH 9, 2019 BY:KYLE BALDOCK
Setting a higher standard in AgriTech Investment
Neon Bloom is a venture capital firm that focuses on acquiring innovative agriculture and ancillary technology products and services across the globe. With a suite of flagship investments in Holland and one in South Korea, Neon Bloom has made a strong start for a company that only began in January of this year. Of central importance to their investment strategy is a keen understanding of the holistic nature of the industry: they invest in complimentary companies in order to bring various parts of the value chain under a single umbrella. I interviewed Company Director Werner Huisman about this “Seed to Sale,” approach to investing. He told me:
“The big advantage is bringing knowledge together from many different parts of the world. Having the opportunity to bring so many talented individuals under one brand with the same mission and vision empowers each company within the portfolio.”
Read on to learn more about Neon Bloom’s mission to advance the industry for the betterment of mankind.
Getting to know: Neon Bloom
When did Neon Bloom start operating and why is it focused on AgriTech?
WH: Neon Bloom started the operation beginning this year. We are focused on the three pillars of water, power and food. We believe in “the zero hunger” mission and want to be a part of this mission. After learning about the importance of technology to improve sustainability and reduce the cost of goods we realised the importance of innovation to help with “The Zero Hunger” mission.
What technologies and trends are you most interested in for the coming decade?
WH: I believe in technologies based on natural and sustainable solutions. By the year 2050 the world population is expected to grow to 10 Billion people. This is over a 56% increase of food needed compared to 2010. It is going to take innovative technologies and a group effort to meet the demand. Looking at the solutions we bring in from Holland, they are all natural and sustainable.
Within HollandPlug we produce 100% organic substrates based on jute and PLA. This should replace the environmentally-unfriendly stonewool substrates.
Within Holland Pulse Light we are able to extend the expiration date for food by generating an enormous amount of energy through our pulse light technology- the pulse light flash has a power of 1850 Joule. With the electronic magnetic field and the enormous number of photons we are able to generate we are able to flash the food with the light and eliminate bacteria, fungi and viruses with all-natural products. Our machine utilises mainly UV-A which is able to rupture the cell membranes; whereas UV-C light impacts the DNA which changes the texture and taste of the food.
Within Holland2O we sell water machines which are able to produce HOCl water with a very low ppm value! (<30 ppm). This water has a redox value of around 1000 Orp(V) and an pH of 6.6 which is able to remain stable for a long period of time. With this water, we are able to kill all sorts of bacteria, fungi and viruses using only natural substances.
Where in the world are you seeing the most innovation in your three pillars of power, water and food?
WH: In principle, all around the world. In each part of the world there is a shortage of water; in each part of the world they grow fruit and vegetables and in each part of the world there are problems with fungi, viruses and bacteria. We believe that it will take a global effort to help meet the needs of the world over the next several decades.
Which volume are you in the market for- what is a normal project volume?
WH: Depends on which product you are talking about, but talking about % in the substrate market, we think we can take over 30% in 3 years’ time. We also believe our other technologies will have the capabilities to capture a significant amount of the market share. It is important to us that sustainable technologies lead the way in vertical farming.
What does Neon Bloom look for in potential acquisitions/investments?
WH: The requirements are in general as follows:
Product should have a relation to power, water or food;
The product should have a sustainable character;
It should have international potential;
The company must share our core values and vision
Does your company do VC or corporate finance? Debt or equity financing? Does Neon Bloom invest its own money?
WH: Neon Bloom is a VC with a focus on sustainable companies operating in power, water or the food industries. Our firm will provide debt or equity financing depending on our clients need. Yes, Neon Bloom invests its own money and is always searching for innovative companies to help us meet the “Zero Hunger” mission.
What advice would you give to AgTech companies that are looking to attract capital?
WH: You can attract capital from anywhere, so I would advise them to take a substantial amount of time defining their mission and vision statements. If your company’s core values and mission don’t align with an investment partner; then I would recommend finding a better fit. Secondly, see how their network and skill set can help grow your company’s footprint as well as impact in the world.
Why did Neon Bloom choose to become a member of the National Cannabis Industry Association?
WH: We decided to become a member of the National Cannabis Industry Association because of our first-hand experience of seeing the medical benefits the plant provides. This can help veterans dealing with PTSD or individuals with serious diseases. Cannabis is grown naturally and we believe it is a much better medicine than the drugs provided from pharmaceutical companies. It also has had a huge impact on slowing down the opioid crisis.
Why is there no visible investment in any cannabis related tech or producer?
WH: Our substrate technology can be utilised directly when growing cannabis along with our water. Both of these innovative technologies will allow for a product that is free of pesticides. It is the company’s goal to begin working with hemp producers this year. This will help provide food to the world as well as numerous other benefits to other industries.
Why did Neon Bloom join AVF?
WH: We don’t define success based on how much money a company is able to generate. Our firm determines success based on the impact and legacy we can leave on the world. It is crucial for humanity that we begin to implement many of the policies and beliefs of the AVF if we plan on having a sustainable future and to be able to meet the food demand for the ever-growing world population.
Want to find out more?
Visit Neon Bloom on the web: neonbloominc.com