TruLeaf Sustainable Agriculture Ltd. (TruLeaf), the indoor, multi-level farming company from Bible Hill, Nova Scotia, has closed an $8.5-million equity finance round. The funding will enable the company to continue its mission of becoming a global leader in vertical farming technology.
TruLeaf - an Innovacorp investment portfolio company! - develops sustainable farming systems that can be built anywhere that enable fresh, nutrient-dense, pesticide-free produce to be grown locally all year round.
Mike Durland, former CEO and Group Head of Scotiabank’s Global Banking and Markets division led this funding round along with a small group of strategic investors from Toronto. In addition, Mr. Durland and Neil Murdoch, former CEO of Connor, Clark & Lunn Capital Markets, will become members of TruLeaf’s board of directors.
“This new round of financing and the additions to our board will help us to expand the breadth of our product offerings and increase the number of markets that we serve,” said Gregg Curwin, president and CEO of TruLeaf. “Mike and Neil bring a high level of business acumen and strategic expertise that will help us scale our business.”
TruLeaf is positioned to meet the growing appetite for local food in Canada that has arisen in the last 10 years, by scaling its GoodLeaf Farms consumer brand. A 2013 BMO Food Survey found that Canadians buy locally grown vegetables above all other products. Ninety-seven per cent of those surveyed said they bought local because the food is fresh and tastes better.
TruLeaf is seeking to become a leader in sustainable agriculture through the use of vertical farming. Vertical farming combines proven hydroponic technology with advancements in LED lighting and environmental control to allow year-round propagation and production of plants indoors, inside stackable levels. Vertical farming is nearly 10 times more efficient than traditional agriculture and is more productive, takes up less land, and uses dramatically less water.
“There are a number of important macro forces which position TruLeaf for success in the coming years,” said Mr. Durland. “Food scarcity, water challenges, the increasing demand for pesticide-free foods, and the environmental impact of large scale farming, all mean that new ways of growing and distributing foods will be key for feeding the world. We want TruLeaf to be a company that achieves a triple-bottom line by creating sustainable – and ultimately carbon neutral – food production, delivering nutrient-rich plants to communities that may not otherwise have access to them, and achieving a strong return for investors and stakeholders. We want to grow the best products for consumers in Canada.”
A native Nova Scotian and Saint Mary’s University graduate, Mr. Durland recently retired from his executive post at Scotiabank to focus his efforts on fostering growth and investment in innovative companies across the country. Recently, he provided important funding for Saint Mary’s University’s Masters of Technology, Entrepreneurship & Innovation program, which supports an innovation competition held in Halifax each year. Mr. Durland’s interest and passion for TruLeaf was spawned out of his desire to invest in the local Nova Scotia economy.
“This is a complex business that requires a strong and experienced team,” said Jeff Watson, TruLeaf board chair and fellow Nova Scotian. “TruLeaf has developed innovations in technology that put it ahead of new entrants in the industry. With our knowledgeable management team and shareholder group, highly-skilled board of directors, and strong capital position, TruLeaf is now well-positioned to solve a massive global problem.”
About TruLeaf Sustainable Agriculture Ltd.
Founded in 2011 and located in Bible Hill, Nova Scotia, TruLeaf has developed an indoor farming system that grows fresh plants for food and medicines anywhere in the world, regardless of environment, 365 days a year. The system integrates growing technologies in a controlled environment to grow high quality, predictable yield, and clean plants with innovative and efficient technologies. www.truleaf.ca
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Account Manager, PUBLIC Inc.
Toronto, Ontario, and Bible Hill, Nova Scotia, December 8, 2016