Seven years after getting its start in a storage unit in Laramie, the company Bright Agrotech is merging with a San Francisco firm.
Bright’s founders developed a technology that allows people to grow food vertically, on indoor towers or exterior walls. Their hydroponic systems nourish plants using nutrient solutions instead of soil. They provide education and equipment to farmers around the world who are interested in this kind of production.
Plenty, the California company, is even newer than Bright, and the two firms have been connected – informally, at least - since the beginning. In 2015, former Bright Agrotech CEO Nate Storey started working part-time for Plenty, and he’s now their Chief Science Officer.
Bright co-founder and current CEO Chris Michael said the two start-ups have been using different strategies to achieve the same goal: making local food available everywhere, despite climate, season, and urban sprawl.
“We’re much more on the local farmer empowerment side, and Plenty was kind of on the field scale implementation of these vertical farms, but the more we progressed throughout our relationship, it made a lot of sense for us to tackle these big problems around giving people really good food together,” Michael said.
Michael said they are not releasing the dollar values of the deal, but Plenty’s investors will allow his company to expand its reach more quickly. Meanwhile, he said, Bright’s experience will help Plenty accomplish their goals. According to Michael, the operations in Laramie aren’t going anywhere.
“There’s a lot of advantages for them to continue to find the workforce that we have available here in Wyoming and put them to a really good use inside the company,” Michael said. “So I think everyone’s really excited about the prospects of staying in Laramie and also continuing to grow the team here.”
Michael says Bright Agrotech’s resources for small farmers will still be available, but with Plenty, they’re hoping to meet more of the demand for quality produce.