The Mill’s 2nd Annual INX pre-qualification pitch event was held on Wednesday, July 25, 2018. Of the 12 pitches that were presented at this event, 5 will be moving on to the INX Pitch event in Indianapolis, where the winning pitch will receive $100,000 in cash and services. We will be highlighting the 12 pitches at the pre-qualification in Bloomington in a series of blog posts. The following is a profile about Heliponix, one of the 5 going to Indy this fall.
While working on a project two years ago in the desert along the border to Juarez, Mexico, Scott Massey, Co-Founder and CEO of Heliponix, saw the state of food insecurity plaguing low-income families in the U.S. He then set out to create the GroPod™, an aeroponic appliance that could grow fresh, organic produce in the convenience of the customer’s home. Heliponix provides customers with the GroPod™, which can yield a full head of leafy green vegetables on a daily basis from their recurring subscription of seed pods.
“According to the United Nations, the human population will reach 9.8 Billion in 2050 (3 billion more people than are on the planet now). That means we need to increase global food outputs by 70% in the next thirty years. It will be impossible to meet this demand with current agricultural practices accounting for 50% of the land use and 80% of the freshwater consumption in the United States. The GroPod™ is a 500 times more efficient use of land measured in lbs/ft² and uses 95% less water than conventional soil farming. This will be an instrument of adaptation for farming 3.0.”
The vision of Heliponix is to ultimately end world hunger with hyperlocal farming appliances. They are initially focusing on foodies in the organic consumer market segment, but are hoping to expand beyond this market and into the homes and lives of people who could truly benefit from this technology. Heliponix has a GroPod™ in a middle school in New Albany, which incorporates indoor agriculture in the science curriculum for the students. The farms they have designed in Africa are now feeding many families through their partnership with the Mandela Washington Fellowship funded by the United States Department of State.
Massey’s vision for the GroPod™ is for it to become a standard appliance in the home of the future, just as a refrigerator is today. This will create a new precedent of food quality with higher nutritional content, better taste, and significantly lower risk of food safety concerns.
Heliponix is one of 5 pitches that is being sent to INX in Indianapolis. Here’s what Scott had to say about this opportunity:
“Pitching at INX is a unique opportunity to connect with local change makers as well as gain valuable feedback to constantly improve our mission to feed the world. Winning INX would accelerate the large scale production of GroPods, and our advanced machine learning software development to provide users with a personal farming appliance that learns from their feedback to give them a consistently improving food experience.”
For more information about Heliponix, visit their site here.