TruLeaf, a Canadian controlled environment agriculture company, is launching a $1.37 million financing campaign on AgFunder, the investment platform connecting accredited investors with curated agriculture and agriculture technology (“agtech”) opportunities. TruLeaf is set to produce leafy greens year-round for the Canadian market, where 90 per cent of lettuce is imported.
Canada-based TruLeaf has spent five years developing an indoor growing system, the Smart Plant System, for leafy greens. The company’s system leverages vertical farming technology to create efficient, controlled indoor farms that can provide a predictable, year-round supply of fresh, high-nutrient plants to meet the needs of grocery retailers, functional food producers, pharma and health product manufacturers.
TruLeaf is in expansion mode and is building its second indoor farm in Canada (which will be one of the largest vertical farms in North America), and will sell its produce under the GoodLeaf brand, a fully-owned subsidiary it established to grow and market packaged produce in North America and beyond. The company is launching a fundraising campaign to speed up commercialization, hire additional personnel and continue to develop its IP and technology.
TruLeaf is tackling an acute problem in Canada, but it’s building a solution that is flexible, scalable and can be deployed in any region. In Canada, at present, nearly 90 per cent of lettuce comes from California. This reliance on such a concentrated region for crop production is a growing problem because of the increasing demand for greens and the reduction in arable land due to limited supplies of fresh water. Furthermore, because it takes an average of 8-10 days for fresh produce to travel from California to the East Coast of the United States and Canada, the product has a dramatically shorter shelf life, contributing to a shrink/waste rate of nearly 25 per cent for retailers.
TruLeaf is creating an entirely new local supply chain for leafy greens -- with other products to follow -- to augment and potentially supplant this crumbling supply chain. To that end, the company has been chipping away at the problem. Three years ago TruLeaf raised an initial $1 million in seed capital to build a research and development facility and entered into a partnership with a large Canadian supermarket. This was key for the company because TruLeaf learned how to apply vertical farming to the supply chain of a supermarket chain, and it helped the company to develop its plant production formulae and optimize the varieties it grows.
But it was a helpful collaboration for both parties as TruLeaf educated the supermarket on its technology and growing nutritious food. The co-founder and CEO, Gregg Curwin, is as passionate about his product as he is about his farm technology. “We are as much a nutrition company as a vertical farm company. First and foremost we want consumers to have an incredible culinary experience in taste, texture and color, but everything we do with variety optimization is to ensure maximum nutritional value.”
TruLeaf has a multi-year supply agreement in place for leafy greens with a major Canadian retail chain. GoodLeaf will be producing basil, arugula (rocket), kale, spinach and its own unique east coast salad mix. At the same time, the company will be pursuing R&D for products in the nutraceuticals and pharma markets.
“This is our first controlled environment agriculture opportunity,” said Michael Dean, co-founder and CEO of AgFunder. “TruLeaf is well-positioned both because of the market need in Canada for fresh, year-round produce and because the company has been working with one of Canada’s biggest retailers for the past three years to ensure the business works. They have the right team in place, a long term off-take and further opportunities ahead. We’re looking forward to helping with their raise.”
TruLeaf hosted an investor webinar on Thursday, September 17 for Accredited Investors interested in learning more about the opportunity. To watch the webinar recording, visit: http://agfunder.com/webinar/truleaf. To learn more about TruLeaf investment opportunity, visit: http://agfunder.com/listings/truleaf.
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TruLeaf is engaged in a Rule 506(c) offering, and securities are only available to verified Accredited Investors. This communication may include “forward looking information” and actual results may vary from estimates or expectations stated herein.
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For more information, contact:
Gregg M. Curwin
Co-founder & CEO
TruLeaf Sustainable Agriculture Ltd.
San Francisco, California, September 22, 2015