As one of the three winners of F&A Next, startup NeoFarms won an acceleration program at StartLife. NeoFarms developed a “greenhouse” home device. It is the first highly productive home appliance based on aeroponics; a technique used by NASA which doesn’t require water or soil. At the moment, NeoFarms is working on its first small series which will be released soon.

Dusty professors

In August Jan Krebs, Max Richter and Henrik Jobczyk, founders of NeoFarms came to Wageningen. They expected to meet some (dusty) professors from Wageningen and a routine program. But they were positively surprised to meet relevant investors, IP experts, highly skilled experts in their field and experienced business developers.

Investors and innovation experts

Jan Krebs: “Each person we met during the three-day acceleration program gave us different insights. Investors confirmed our thoughts about further splitting the total amount of money that has to be invested. This will lower the threshold and will make it easier to reach our test-phase. Moreover, they acknowledged our technical applications and recommended that we go-to-market as soon as possible.”

StartLife also connected NeoFarms to Martin Ruiter, expert on technology innovation at Qing. Max: “Martin had a brilliant ‘customer view’. He recommended we develop an all-inclusive service for our product with several modules that potential customers could choose from. Also, he gave us the advice to use a different name for the product itself; NeoFarms might sound a bit ‘spacy’ and obscure. Let’s see what we will come up with!”

Feedback from WUR

Off course, Jan, Max and Henrik did indeed meet some horticulture scientists of the university. But these were experts with some relevant and critical pieces of advice. Max: “Olaf van Kooten told us that the flavour of the vegetables that our product can grow will be better than by using hydroponics. By aeroponics the environmental circumstances, like the amount of water and light, can be imperfect on purpose. This will cause stress in the plants which may sound counter productive but actually improves the taste.”

A new network

Jan Krebs concludes: “Jan Meiling and Thomas van den Boezem from StartLife, accompanied us for three days. They provided relevant feedback on our business model, offered us useful tools and connected us with the right people. Overall it was a well-organized and tailor-made program. We are grateful for the support and we’ll keep connected in the future!”

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