Urban Valley Farms provides high quality organic food solutions that are nutrient dense, economical, and sustainable, consequently limiting humanity’s footprint.
Name: Urban Valley Farms LLC
Location: Knoxville, Tennessee
Product / Service Offering: Insect Protein/Processing
This article is part of our Business Startup Spotlight series featuring entrepreneurs and their companies. We hope that these founders’ interviews will inspire and motivate you as you undertake your own entrepreneurial journey.
Tell us a little about yourself with a focus on what motivates you.
Carson and I have worked together for 5 years in the renewable sector. We have gained a wealth of knowledge, and we understand the challenges we are facing as a society. As many people are aware, the earth’s population continues to grow. The available farmland is limited. Therefore, we believe it is imperative to develop alternative protein solutions that are healthy and economical. Also, we believe that a company’s success is not based solely on its fiscal performance, but its social impact as well.
When did you establish your company and where did the idea originate?
The idea originated from many discussions about the issues with unsustainable farming practices and the ever growing demand for beef, chicken, pork, and fish. In the next 30 years, the world’s population will grow to over 9 billion. Eventually, the desire for protein will outpace the supply. These key problems led us to establish Urban Valley Farm in January 2017.
What need or needs does your company seek to fill for its customers?
Urban Valley Farm provides high quality organic food solutions that are nutrient dense, economical, and sustainable, consequently limiting humanity’s footprint.
What is the one thing that sets your company apart from its competitors?
Urban Valley Farms has a few defining factors. Our most prominent factor is our tireless desire to provide the highest grade product on the market. By acquiring USDA Organic and Naturally Grown certification, we are establishing one of the highest quality transparent processes within the United States.
What was the biggest challenge you faced while getting your company up and running, and how did you overcome it?
Balancing the day to day operations of a startup, while also working a full-time job, can seem overwhelming at times. The way to combat this is to set short and long term goals and then hold each other accountable in reaching those goals.
What resources have you utilized that other founders might find compelling or useful?
We have mentors who continue to guide us through the startup process. The Knoxville Entrepreneur Center (KEC) has been a priceless resource for us.
What steps have you taken to secure funding for your company and what, if anything, would you do differently if you had to start over?
The great thing about our startup is that it required very little capital. Initially, we raised $50,000 for our pilot scale plant. In the next 6-12 months, we will be planning an additional raise in the range of $500,000-750,000. With this raise we will be able to scale up operations to a 10,000 square feet space.
What challenges, if any, are you grappling with?
Like most startups, it is all about time management. If we could somehow develop a way to make the day longer, that would be a tremendous help.
What is the most helpful tip or “hack” you’ve ever learned, stumbled across, or been given?
Focus on what you can control and deflect the naysayers.
Are you familiar with other startups you believe should be spotlighted? If so, we would like to hear from you. Tell us about them in the comments below!