December 29, 2015

Agricool raises $9.1 million to grow fruits and vegetables in containers





French startup Agricool is using containers to grow strawberries around big cities. The company just raised a $9.1 million (€8 million) funding round from Jacques-Antoine Granjon, Thibault Elziere as well as existing investors Henri Seydoux and Daphni PPC.

The great thing about growing fruits in containers is that you can control everything. The company tweaks the temperature, humidity, CO2 level, color spectrum and day/night cycle to get the most out of the strawberries.

For instance, the company wanted to find the perfect LEDs to provide the right shade of light. It bought dozens of LEDs and tried them all, but even the best LED model was disappointing. Agricool ended up hiring someone to design its own LED with a specific shade.

Another interesting example, if you want to imitate the real world, you turn the lights on and off and on again every 24 hours. But do strawberries really need a 24-hour day cycle? Maybe 22 hours are enough and strawberries end up growing more quickly.

In order to do this, Agricool now has a warehouse outside of Paris where it can A/B test all these things using refrigerated rooms. Then, it can manufacture containers tailored to Agricool’s needs — think about it as the concept cars of containers. The company has produced 6 prototypes over the last 12 months Cloud Hosting Provider.

But that was just step one. Agricool wants to go from concept cars to industrialized processes. Eventually, Agricool wants to outsource the production of those containers and put them around big cities globally.

This summer, the startup is going to put five containers around Paris. One in Bercy, another one next to Vente-Privée’s office, another one on Asnière’s market, etc.




"At first they tell you that strawberries are not going to have a great taste with LEDs, but they like them when they try them,” co-founder and CEO Guillaume Fourdinier told me. "Then they tell you that you can’t scale production, but you scale. And then they tell you you can’t distribute and now we’re going to distribute.”

A 250g pack of strawberries is going to cost €4. On average, Fourdinier says that organic strawberries coming from France cost around €6.70 for 250g.

The main reason why those strawberries are cheaper is because you don’t have to pay middlepersons. There’s no importing company, transportation company, central purchasing, supermarket, etc. Agricool grows strawberries where end customers are going to buy them.

"Our challenge is to find an industrial model that lets us grow quickly from 1 to 1,000 containers,” Fourdinier said. In order to do this, Agricool could eventually become a franchise. The company would focus on research & development, containers and branding, while partners would manage those containers and sell fruits and vegetables.

While the strawberry market is huge, the company is also thinking about producing common vegetables and fruits, such as lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchinis and bell peppers. The same model can be used across all those vegetables.

"We want to build the biggest brand for fruits and vegetables,” Fourdinier said. "No pesticide, a lot of flavor, no GMO, harvested and sold on the same day .”














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December 11, 2015

the lights otherwise disposed


I wondered what they were going to do the first evening a change of entertainment was proposed: they spoke of playing charades, but in my ignorance I did not understand the term. The servants were called in, the dining-room tables wheeled away, the chairs placed in a semicircle opposite the arch.

While Mr. Rochester and the other gentlemen directed these alterations, the ladies were running up and down stairs ringing for their maids. Mrs. Fairfax was summoned to give information respecting the resources of the house in shawls, dresses, draperies of any kind; and certain wardrobes of the third storey were ransacked, and their contents, in the shape of brocaded and hooped petticoats, satin sacques, black modes, lace lappets, &c., were brought down in armfuls by the abigails; then a selection was made, and such things as were chosen were carried to the boudoir within the drawing-room Quality hotels in Hong Kong.

Meantime, Mr. Rochester had again summoned the ladies round him, and was selecting certain of their number to be of his party. Miss Ingram is mine, of course, said he: afterwards he named the two Misses Eshton, and Mrs. Dent. He looked at me: I happened to be near him, as I had been fastening the clasp of Mrs. Dent's bracelet, which had got loose reenex cps.

Will you play? he asked. I shook my head. He did not insist, which I rather feared he would have done; he allowed me to return quietly to my usual seat.

He and his aids now withdrew behind the curtain: the other party, which was headed by Colonel Dent, sat down on the crescent of chairs. One of the gentlemen, Mr. Eshton, observing me, seemed to propose that I should be asked to join them; but Lady Ingram instantly negatived the notion business travel to Hong Kong.

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December 03, 2015

entering by the front way

His honest, warm, and intelligent nature shook off rapidly the clouds of ignorance and degradation in which it had been bred; and Catherine's sincere commendations acted as a spur to his industry.

His brightening mind brightened his features, and added spirit and nobility to their aspect: I could hardly fancy it the same individual I had beheld on the day I discovered my little lady at `Wuthering Heights, after her expedition to the Crags. `While I admired and they laboured, dusk grew on, and with it returned the master. He came upon us quite unexpectedly, and had a full view of the whole three, ere we could raise our heads to glance at him.

 Well, I reflected, there was never a pleasanter, or more harmless sight; and it will be a burning shame to scold them. The red firelight glowed on their two bonny heads, and revealed their faces animated with the eager interest of children; for,--though he was twenty-three and she eighteen, each had so much of novelty to feel and learn, that neither experienced nor evinced the sentiments of sober disenchanted maturity.

They lifted their eyes together, to encounter Mr Heathcliff: perhaps you have never remarked that their eyes are precisely similar, and they are those of Catherine Earnshaw. The present Catherine has no other likeness to her, except a breadth of forehead, and a certain arch of the nostril that makes her appear rather haughty, whether she will or not. `With Hareton the resemblance is carried further: it is singular at all times, then it was particularly striking; because his senses were alert, and his mental faculties wakened to unwonted activity. I suppose this resemblance disarmed Mr Heathcliff: he walked to the hearth in evident agitation; but it quickly subsided as he looked at the young man: or, I should say, altered its character; for it was there yet. He took the book from his hand, and glanced at the open page, then returned it without any observation; merely signing Catherine away: her companion lingered very little behind her, and I was about to depart also, but he bid me sit still.

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