Lab alum PureSpinach is making good on its promise of bringing top-quality pesticide-free, local, and sustainable leafy greens to the $8 billion leafy greens market. The company, which completed the eLab program in 2017, has just launched its equity crowdfunding campaign on fundraising platform WeFunder. Funds raised in this round will be used to scale up production in the company’s current greenhouse, hire additional team members, and reach more retailers and consumers in the tri-state area. The first $100K raised will receive a discounted valuation cap.
Serdar Mizrakci, ’17, and Danny Jancezko, ’17, founded the company in 2017 as students in the Cornell University student accelerator, eLab. While conducting focus groups in the eLab program, they confirmed their suspicions: there was a dearth of pesticide-free, local, and year-round leafy greens in the market even though there was a hungry customer base ready to dig in. They seized on the opportunity to figure out how to produce high quality hydroponic spinach year-round.
To execute their vision, the pair completed independent studies at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell, collaborated with Johnson MBA students, and relied on their own experiences as entrepreneurs and engineers. PureSpinach—now more widely known as Element Farms— uses age-old farming wisdom, cutting-edge proprietary technology, and sustainable energy sources to produce baby spinach at a higher yield and lower cost than competitors. The company’s product line is growing too: Element Farms also offers in-demand greens like baby kale, mustard greens, radish greens, basil, and more.
Mizrakci and Jancezko automated much of the seeding, growing, and harvesting processes in their Florence, NJ, greenhouse. They use a proprietary growing system and nutrient mix for optimal greens health and employ high-capacity intelligent lighting and supplemental carbon dioxide to speed growth. Their greens grow so quickly–from seed to store in just 16 days–that there’s no need for pesticides; pests do not have time to integrate into the plant canopy.
Though Element Farms is just three years out from its first spinach harvest in Ithaca, it has earned an enthusiastic following. The company has increased revenue fifteen-fold in the past year and currently stocks the shelves of 12 high-end grocers in New York City and Philadelphia. Early supporter FoodKick routinely sells out of Element Farms products on its online grocery platform.
Once the company reaches full capacity at its current facility, Element Farms plans to build a multi-acre state-of-the-art greenhouse in the tri-state area and produce upwards of a million pounds of their leafy greens annually.
More information on the Element Farms equity crowdfunding campaign can be found at www.WeFunder.com/ElementFarms. The company’s site is www.Element-Farms.com.