Back in 2014—when Guy Blanchard first entered the CFO office at AeroFarms—the indoor vertical farming company had roughly 20 employees and a commercial farm prototype under construction.
Seven years and four rounds of private funding later, AeroFarms has recently broken ground on its third commercial farm in Danville, Virginia, and a research farm in Abu Dhabi.
Meanwhile, this past March, Aerofarms demonstrated that its appetite for innovation extends beyond farming techniques when it announced a merger with Spring Valley Acquisition Corp., a SPAC that the company now expects to use as a vehicle to go public.Read More
“Spring Valley prefers growth-stage companies that don’t have any technology risk and can just focus on the execution part of the equation,” says Blanchard, when asked how the talks with Spring Valley had first gained traction.
“They were a great match for us, and this allowed us to narrow the timeline and announce the merger in an accelerated way,” explains Blanchard, who notes that the merger, once closed, will provide $357 million in gross proceeds and empower AeroFarms to execute a business plan that involves the opening of vertical farms across the country. –Jack Sweeney
CFOTL: Tell us about AeroFarms … how are your expansion plans unfolding?
Blanchard: We’re breaking ground for a new commercial farm in Danville, Virginia, right now, so my focus is on making sure that this is going to have a smooth execution on time and on budget. We’re also breaking ground this quarter for our R&D facility in Abu Dhabi in the UAE, so this is a time of considerable change for us as we continue to watch the metrics of the current operations that we’re growing. We’re appropriately staffing, of course, and putting in the processes, controls, and systems to track the financial and operational health of these facilities.Read More
We’re building farms that are going to grow leafy greens, and we’re going to sell them to customers who love our product. These are the leafy greens that you buy in clamshells at a store, and they are the most amazing leafy greens that are available. They’re clean, pesticide-free, and herbicide-free, with taste and texture that have never been seen before. Customers love our product and buy a lot of it. This is an enormous market that right now that is dominated by field farming, and the inefficiencies in field farming are ripe for change. Our product is sold at the same price point as a organic field farm product in the stores, but it offers a greater customer value.
This is just an amazing moment for our company, as we’re transforming from being a earlier-stage growth company to building a lot of farms. We’re moving from being a well-managed private company to being a well-managed public company. We’re doing everything that this entails in terms of needing to bolster skillsets around SEC reporting and around activities that as a finance organization, an administrative organization, we haven’t had to do before—and all of this while keeping AeroFarms a great place to work and growing a great, profitable company.
AeroFarms | www.AeroFarms.com | Newark, New Jersey