A year in the life of Unfold: Celebrating our first anniversary
It’s hard to believe a full year has passed since we launched Unfold Bio; what an exciting, demanding and rewarding year it was! I’m so proud of the amazing people who helped create this new company and are dedicated to its growth as well as our mission to enable farm operators and retailers to deliver on the immense promise of vertical farming.
I never expected to build a company under such extraordinary world circumstances, but throughout the last year, we remained resolute and focused. We hired a team via video calls, successfully engaged customers virtually and found a site for R&D during the shutdown. Like much of the food and agriculture sectors we serve, we overcame unanticipated challenges, became more agile and found resilience we didn’t know we had.
Nine talented individuals joined Unfold — a team of passionate professionals who share a burning desire to positively impact food production systems globally. They are a diverse group of curious, thoughtful and collaborative people. And, even though we’ve only been together a short time, they’ve built strong bonds and bring tremendous energy to everything they do at Unfold.
We also welcomed our first two external advisors who bring a valuable breadth of experience and industry expertise to guide us as we evolve as an organization. Beyond their financial investments into our mission, I am also extremely thankful for the support we have received from Temasek and Bayer over this past year; we couldn’t have asked for better partners in making our vision a reality.
On the operational side, we secured our site lease and are deep into planning the construction of a state-of-the-art, ~12,000-square-foot R&D center in Davis, CA that will be operational early in 2022.
The response from our community
Overall, Unfold made significant strides toward becoming a customer-oriented seed and digital solutions provider for vertical farms. The positive response from this community has been one of one of the most satisfying developments thus far.
In conversations with over two dozen vertical farm operators, we gained insights into their greatest challenges and where we can provide solutions that allow them to operate their farms more effectively to grow their businesses. We initiated customer-based seed variety trialing and even captured our first revenue.
We are now trialing and conducting plant analysis work at a nearby Bayer Crop Science R&D facility and have expanded our partnership with Bayer by forming a joint team focused on commercialization of products in the vertical farming sector. This discovery will allow us to assess the performance of varieties while also experimenting with novel methods and equipment. So far, we’ve identified several new promising varieties that have great potential for vertical farm environments.
The next year will surely bring its own share of challenges, but I’m confident in our team, partners, and advisors. Together, we’ll continue building on the inspiring momentum generated throughout this first year.
We look forward to the opening of our R&D facility, growing our team with more amazing talent, developing new customer relationships, and delivering valuable solutions and products to the vertical farming sector, the produce industry, and consumers globally.
If you’d like to be part of the Unfold journey and join our talented team, feel free to reach out to me to start a conversation or visit our website at https://unfold.ag.