Start-up iFarm brings indoor farming to different corners of the world


About iFarm

  • Founders: Max Chizhov, Alex Lyskovsky and Konstantin Ulianov
  • Founded: 2017
  • Employees: 70
  • Amounts raised: –
  • Ultimate goal: to create technology to locally grow fresh fruit with the highest quality food.

It is estimated that in 2050 the Earth’s population will reach 9.9 billion. This means that traditional agriculture will be insufficient to feed everyone. The result is a call for transformation of the food industry. The founders of iFarm have developed a solution that enables urban agriculture in different parts of the world and brings fresh produce all year round. In this episode of Today’s Startup, Max Chizhov, one of the founders, talks about the evolution of the company.

Max Tchijov. Source: iFarm

What does iFarm do?

“iFarm is a new generation of farming technology because it offers our customers indoor farming. Indoor farming offers an upgrade from current technologies. It allows products to be grown in a totally enclosed environment with full control of data that is collected inside.

How it works?

“We have two main parts. The first is the material. It is a turnkey solution. This includes racks, LED lights, our system, an air conditioner, etc. It is all the hardware that is combined in a single installation. We want to connect all these devices together to organize all the processes, from sowing to harvesting.

Second, because all of us founders come from an IT background, we focus on software development. This is the main thing that helps our customers to control the technical and commercial data. The software allows the customer to aggregate all the data to provide insights and step-by-step methods on how to utilize their farm’s empty space for 100% productivity. Farmers have dashboards that can be controlled at the touch of a button. All information can be analyzed from mobile phone or desktop computer. They don’t need to hire an agronomist for that.

Fully Automated Salad Farm from iFarm

How did the idea come about?

“We had no previous experience or knowledge of how to grow plants, let alone how to be a farmer. But we are entrepreneurs. So we knew we would find the best people, the right employees, the right partners and the best technology for our goals.

We started the company because we wanted to create technology to grow fresh fruit locally. But we also wanted to produce high quality food. So we spent a year looking for the best solution for this. Then we decided that indoor farming was the right way to do it. It provides a controlled environment and allows growing greens all over the world.

Was it difficult to find funding?

“It wasn’t difficult. The first funding came from us, the founders. And the first external investment we had after six months. Indeed, all our investors have discovered us organically in the different places where we present our technology, such as conferences, our blog, websites or LinkedIn. So far, we’ve had many conversations with venture capitalists. And right now, we’re closing round eight this year.

What are you most proud of?

“Our main achievement that we are really happy with is our fully automated berry farm. There are only a few companies in the world that know how to grow berries indoors with fully automated technology. We are proud to be one of the companies capable of building such a farm.

iFarm’s fully automated berry farm. Source: iFarm

How do you see yourself in five years?

“We really want to grow quickly. Last year we built two farms in Europe, one in Germany and one in France. And right now we are focusing on the Middle East. Our clients have built farms in Saudi Arabia and Qatar. In the next five years, we also want to focus on Asia as a whole and we want to operate 1 million square meters of farms operated by our software.

What else awaits you in the future?

“Right now, we are using indoor farming technologies to grow green vegetables. But since the beginning of this year, we have been improving our technology to be fully automated. We also want to use the same technologies to solve different problems. For example, right now we use drones that fly around the farm and take pictures, which are then uploaded to our cloud. This allows quality control of disease and plant growth rate. In this way, the results are analyzed without special employees.


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