Campus company: FarmVent

Wageningen start-up. Designs vending machines dispensing fresh herbs for restaurants and supermarkets.

Last November, Resource published a story about FarmVent, the Wageningen start-up that designs indoor vending machines dispensing fresh herbs for use in restaurants and supermarkets. At that point, MSc student Nikolaos Alfieris’s company was competing in the 4TU Impact Challenge.

 ‘The idea originated during my Bachelor’s degree in Robotics in Greece. After that, I did a pitch at Orange Grove, the business incubator at the Dutch Embassy. They put me in touch with StartHub Wageningen. Now I am doing a Master’s in Biosystems Engineering at Wageningen and also working on the business plan for FarmVent.’

Alfieris’s idea is to offer supermarkets and restaurants vending machines with mini indoor herb gardens, in which basil, oregano and thyme grow under LED lights. Consumers can buy a tray of fresh herbs from this vending machine. Alfieris already has a showcase full of basil plants in the FarmVent office in Plus Ultra II. He wants to have a prototype ready by the end of this year. He intends to rent the indoor herb vending machines to his customers. ‘That way, we will be responsible for the entire growing process.’ FarmVent consists of four people.

In the fully automated herb machine grow fresh basil, oregano and thyme in water

Alfieris met the co-founder Orfeas Voutsinos at Orange Grove; he is doing a PhD in Plant Sciences at the agricultural university in Athens. The other two members are MSc students in Utrecht and Wageningen. Alfieris is still looking for new team members, especially people who can work on business development and the technological aspects of vertical and indoor farming.

There are about 100 companies on the campus. We introduce them to you in Resource. This time: FarmVent in Plus Ultra II.

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