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Meet The Founder: Square Mile Farms, Urban Farming Bringing Sustainable Spaces to Life

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Imagine urban communities that are able to watch and contribute to the growing of the fresh produce that appears on their plates every day. Then imagine the benefits such communities would have on our collective health – both physical and mental – and the environment. 

That’s how Square Mile Farms envisions the world – comprised of healthy, sustainable cities with vertical urban farming at their hearts, that nourish the people living within them, and the natural environment they rely on.

We sat down with one of three co-founders, Johnathan Ransom, to find out how the business first started, and why it will define the future of healthy spaces.

Why are you personally passionate about the company’s vision?

I’m a property professional by training, but I come from a family of farmers and much of my experience lies in the built environment. I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of growing fresh produce close to where we live and work. This concept has become increasingly viable, and today, we hardly have any excuse not to do it. 

Our food system is the single largest contributor to CO2 emissions, and has a devastating effect on natural habitats – and our demand for food is increasing dramatically. We need to find a solution to intensify food production without destroying our global natural environment. Bringing food production into the human environment will help reduce strain on natural ecosystems. Vertical, urban farming can play a huge part in this.

However, change must be consumer-led. Our choices drive the behaviours of big business. Growing fresh produce in front of the consumer helps to re-engage them with the food they eat, the impact it has on their health and its lasting impacts on the environment. 

How did the company first start?

We started in Patrick’s (one of my co-founders) back garden. We designed and built a ‘flat-pack-farm’, the components of which we had to carry through his house. We had to hack away at a few door frames to get the metal panels through, and then do the same to get it out again! But it worked fantastically well – I spent the first three months of the company’s life experimenting and growing all types of fresh produce using this prototype. 

In parallel, my other co-founder Doug, started a business called Yeeld. He built a vertical farm in a small industrial unit all on his own, where he was getting up at 4am every day to deliver local businesses with micro-greens.

These early days were well spent researching the market, gathering customer feedback and working on our green thumbs. It also helped develop a sense of purpose – the more we looked into the food system, and how responsible it is for health problems and environmental damage, the more we became absolutely committed to playing a part in changing it. 

What changes have you seen since the onset of the Covid-19 crisis and how have you tackled them?

Covid-19 has made employers think even more about how they create healthy, inviting and engaging placing to work. For companies that do rely on in-person, collaborative workplaces, there needs to be a reason for employees to be in the office, now more than ever. This trend toward workplace wellbeing was a priority for big employers operating knowledge-based businesses before Covid-19, but now it is top of the agenda. Our product is perfectly placed to benefit from this trend towards greener, healthier, more sustainable offices. 

What different products are clients able to choose from and what further products/developments do you have in the pipeline?

Clients can choose from a number of options, including free-standing, hydroponic towers to a wall of fresh, edible plants. We also offer workshops, seminars and other events that engage employees and help create an office farming community. 

What are some recent growth stats or accolades you can speak to?

Last year we were invited by British Land to build our first working farm on the roof of Microsoft’s UK HQ in Paddington Central. BL are a FTSE 100 business and one of the UK’s largest property owners, so being asked to take our services to their tenants was a big deal for us. That opened the door to our first engagement with Vodafone, and now with Visa. 

More recently we’ve started serious conversations with one of Europe’s largest investors and operators in private rented residential accommodation about bringing vertical farming to their residential campuses, starting in London, which is equally exciting. Being featured on the BBC in January, in an Inside Out London documentary title ‘Office Farming’ was also a huge achievement for us.

What will be the primary uses of proceeds from this round?

We’ve got an exciting pipeline of opportunities and we’re going to use the proceeds to deliver on this pipeline, carry out new hires, raise our profile and invest in areas of our technology that can further our USP. 

We’re excited to give our community the opportunity to benefit from our future success. We’ve found the crowdfunding exercise to be a great way of meeting people from all walks of life, some of whom have skills, experience and contacts that will help us take the next step. 

What is your favourite kind of plant to have in your home/workplace?

I installed a vertical, hydroponic system in my home when we set up the business. It looks really cool lit up against the wall. I grow lettuce, basil, kale and chard in it. It saves a trip to the grocery store and is much more rewarding than ornamental plants!

What’s one thing you love doing outside of work?

Lockdown has been a great opportunity to experiment with growing fresh produce in my garden. I found an old BBQ that’s made a great planter!

What’s one thing you’re currently learning?

Polishing up my Spanish! I was supposed to marry my Spanish fiancé this year but had to postpone the wedding due to Covid-19. I promised I’d do my speech in Spanish – I should be thankful that I have more time to practice.


To find out more about the investment opportunity, visit Square Mile Farms’ pitch.

Michaela Salomon

Michaela Salomon

Campaign Support Team

Source: https://www.seedrs.com/learn/blog/founder-stories/meet-the-founder-square-mile-farms-urban-farming-bringing-sustainable-spaces-to-life

Blockchain

Financial institutions can support COVID-19 crowdfunding campaigns

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The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic adversely affected the financial outlook for millions of people, and continues to cause significant fiscal distress to millions more, but such challenging times have also wrought a more resilient and resourceful financial system.

With the ingenuity of crowdfunding, considered to be one of the last decade’s greatest “success stories,” and such desperate times calling for bold new ways to finance a wide variety of COVID-19 relief efforts, we are now seeing an excellent opportunity for banks and other financial institutions to partner with crowdfunding platforms and campaigns, bolstering their efforts and impact.

COVID-19 crowdfunding: A world of possibilities to help others

Before considering how financial institutions can assist with crowdfunding campaigns, we must first look at the diverse array of impressive results from this financing option during the pandemic. As people choose between paying the rent or buying groceries, and countless other despairing circumstances, we must look to some of the more inventive ways businesses, entrepreneurs and people in general are using crowdfunding to provide the COVID-19 relief that cash-strapped consumers with maxed-out or poor credit do not have access to or the government has not provided.

Some great examples of COVID-19 crowdfunding at its best include the following:

The possibilities presented by crowdfunding in this age of the coronavirus are endless, and financial institutions can certainly lend their assistance. Here is how.

1. Acknowledge that crowdfunding is not a trend

Crowdfunding is a substantial and ever-so relevant means of financing all sorts of businesses, people and products. Denying its substantive contribution to the economy, especially in digital finance during this pandemic, is akin to wearing a monocle when you actually need glasses for both of your eyes. Do not be shortsighted on this. Crowdfunding is here to stay. In fact, countless crowdfunding businesses and platforms continue to make major moves within the markets globally. For example, Parpera from Australia, in coordination with the equity-crowdfunding platforms, hopes to rival the likes of GoFundMe, Kickstarter and Indiegogo.

2. Be willing to invest in crowdfunded campaigns

This might seem contrary to the original purpose of these campaigns, but the right amount of seed-cash infusions to campaigns that are aligned with your goals as a company is a win-win for both you and the entrepreneurs or causes, especially now in such desperate times of need.

3. Get involved in the community and its crowdfunding efforts

This means that small businesses and medium-sized businesses within your institution’s community could use your help. Consider investing in crowdfunding campaigns similar to the ones mentioned earlier. Better yet, bridge the gaps between financial institutions and crowdfunding platforms and campaigns so that smaller businesses get the opportunities they need to survive through these difficult times.

4. Enable sustainable development goals (SDG)

Last month, the United Nations Development Program released a report proclaiming that digital finance is now allowing people from all over the world to customize and personalize their money-management experiences such that their financial needs have the potential to be more readily and sufficiently met. Financial institutions willing to work as a partner with crowdfunding platforms and campaigns will further these goals and set society up for a more robust rebound from any possible detrimental effects of the COVID-19 recession.

5. Lend your regulatory expertise to this relatively new industry

Other countries are already beginning to figure out better ways to regulate the crowdfunding financing industry, such as the recent updates to the European Union’s handling of crowdfunding regulations, set to take effect this fall. Well-established financial institutions can lend their support in defining the policies and standard operating procedures for crowdfunding even during such a chaotic time as the COVID-19 pandemic. Doing so will ensure fair and equitable financing for all, at least, in theory.

While originally born out of either philanthropy or early-adopting innovation, depending on the situation, person or product, crowdfunding has become an increasingly reliable means of providing COVID-19 economic relief when other organizations, including the government and some banks, cannot provide sufficient assistance. Financial institutions must lend their vast expertise, knowledge and resources to these worthy causes; after all, we are all in this together.

Source: https://techcrunch.com/2020/10/23/financial-institutions-can-support-covid-19-crowdfunding-campaigns/

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Crowdfunding

Taking LSD Could Help Your Career

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You rely on Crowdability to bring you the best start-up deals. Now rely on us to bring you the most fascinating stories and trends from the world of technology. You won’t find this stuff in the mainstream press. Look for it every Friday morning.

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Source: http://www.crowdability.com/article/taking-lsd-could-help-your-career

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Earn $10,249 a Year in FREE “Crypto Income”

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Last December, I wrote to you about a new way to make money with cryptos.

It didn’t involve risking your money on high-risk crypto tokens. Instead, it was a way to earn safe, consistent income — for FREE — month after month.

In fact, as I’ll explain today, if you’d followed my advice, you could have earned as much as $10,249 over the past year.

But if you didn’t follow my advice, not to worry…

Because as I’m about to explain, you can still take advantage of this strategy today…

Let Me Introduce You to Sandy

Before I reveal this powerful income-generating strategy, let me introduce you to someone:

Her name is “Sandy” — or, as she’s more commonly known, Hurricane Sandy.

Sandy hit New York on October 29th, 2012. According to Business Insider, it was the “worst storm to hit the area since at least [the year] 1700.”

It dropped over 14 feet of water on lower Manhattan, and it left millions of residents without power, cell phone service, or the internet.

People had no way to get in touch with their loved ones, or to get access to emergency info.

But for residents of a tiny neighborhood in Brooklyn, it was quite a different story…

A Peer-to-Peer Network Saves the Day

When Sandy hit and the internet went down, a small group of technologists in an old industrial neighborhood called Red Hook sprang into action.

They set up a “peer-to-peer” network called a “local mesh network.” This enabled residents to connect to each other’s computers directly, so they could communicate.

Everyone else was trying to get online the traditional way: by connecting to a single server. But since that single server wasn’t working, they were out of luck.

Here’s an image that shows a traditional network versus a peer-to-peer network:

As you can see, there’s no “middleman” in the peer-to-peer network…

So there’s no single point of failure!

This Could be Huge

This type of peer-to-peer technology is a big deal…

The next time a natural disaster occurs — or God forbid, if there’s a terrorist strike — it could keep people online and connected.

This explains why Grandview Research estimates that, by 2025, such networks could turn into a market worth $11 billion.

It also explains why venture capitalists are pouring money into this sector. For example, Union Square Ventures recently invested $15 million into a peer-to-peer networking startup.

And as it turns out, you could profit from this deal, too.

Let me explain…

Introducing: Helium

Union Square Ventures is one of the most successful venture firms in the country.

It was an early investor in billion-dollar startups like Twitter and Tumblr.

And now it’s invested in a peer-to-peer networking startup called Helium.

Simply put, Helium has built a simple device that acts as a “hot spot.”

Once you put the device in your home, people in your neighborhood can use it to connect to each other instantly.

This device is a breakthrough. You see, when the Red Hook technologists set up their network during Hurricane Sandy, they encountered huge problems. For example:

  • They had to create their own custom software.
  • They were forced to rely on inefficient hardware and unsecure connections.
  • They had to pay huge electricity bills.

But Helium fixes all of these problems in one fell swoop. And now, during an emergency, a Helium network could mean the difference between life and death.

And that’s why Helium wants to incentivize you to set one up…

New Crypto: Helium Tokens

Simply put, if you set up a Helium network, you can earn real money.

Here’s how it works:

  • Helium has created a crypto-currency called Helium Tokens (HNT).
  • To earn these coins, you just need to set up and maintain a Helium network.
  • And because these coins are traded on various crypto exchanges, you can exchange them for real dollars.

Fred Wilson, a partner at Union Square Ventures, has earned roughly 8,266 Helium Tokens since he first set up his device a year ago.

Based on the current price for Helium Tokens, that works out to roughly $10,249 in extra income in the past year alone!

And now you have the chance to start earning income like that, too!

Cash-in on Cryptos Today

Keep in mind: to get started, you’ll need to pay a few hundred dollars for the Helium device.

But once you own the device, you essentially have a source of free income.

To learn more, visit Helium’s website here »

Happy investing!

Best Regards,
Wayne Mulligan
Wayne Mulligan
Founder
Crowdability.com

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Source: http://www.crowdability.com/article/earn-10249-a-year-in-free-crypto-income

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