M’sian smart farm growing & delivering organic vegetables

7 years. That’s how long the 5G BoomGrow-enabled farm has been around, but it hasn’t always been so effective. Founders Jay, Murali, and Shan initially explored different farming methods, from simple hydroponics to aquaponics.

“We grew our greens in tiny little boxes. We even tried growing them outdoors. Nothing worked, ”Jay recalled in an interview with Vulcan Post.

This trial and error lasted 5 years until the co-founders discovered vertical agriculture powered by AI. With this method, they realized that they could also grow their vegetables in a controlled indoor environment, which would make harmful chemicals like pesticides unnecessary.

Finally, they had found the method that allowed them to properly achieve their goals of producing clean and tasty green vegetables.

Use 95% less resources to achieve the same return

“Our systems detect the impact of various inputs such as light, water and pH on the quality and taste of our plants. We call it our herbal recipes, ”Shan said.

“We then rely on machine learning and data analysis to tailor each entry to the respective plant, producing tastier green vegetables. “

The team calls out their system equipped with Machine Farm technologies. It is used in all of BoomGrow’s reused shipping containers where crops are grown on modular plant racks.

The exterior of a container, overlooking the cityscape / Image credit: BoomGrow

According to the team, 5 crop stacks on a 360 square foot lot can produce a yield equivalent to the crops of a traditional 1 acre outdoor farm.

With this technology and efficient use of space, they can grow 20 varieties of leafy vegetables and herbs in a residential area of ​​Ampang.

At the same time, Jay said the Machine Farm uses 95% less land, water and fuel than traditional outdoor farms.

Their technology-driven approach to agriculture has taken BoomGrow through several stages, from the country’s first 5G showcase farm to the recipient of government grants from SME Corp, PlaTCOM Ventures and MDEC.

One of their proudest moments was getting validation from renowned chefs working in 5 star hotels, who placed an order for their vegetables and have been loyal supporters ever since.

Dedicated to own processes and products

Clearly there are already several players in the precision and vertical farming industry with more memberships, but few are as enthusiastic about clean products as BoomGrow.

Clean doesn’t just mean vegetables without pesticides; the value had to be reflected in the overall way their business was operating, the team decided.

Inside a container / Image Credit: BoomGrow

As a former national athlete, Murali wanted to start BoomGrow because he knew the difference good nutrition can make.

Meanwhile, Shan is an architect by training who developed an interest in sustainable design during his career. Fascinated by how modular structures have minimal impact on their environment, he wants to explore other avenues to integrate sustainability into everyday life.

He serves as BoomGrow’s Chief Innovation Officer, designing and bringing their factory systems to life. On the flip side, Jay was inspired to co-found BoomGrow after many years in sustainability consulting.

She told Vulcan Post: “During my career I have had experience as a consultant for various F&B farming and manufacturing companies. It allowed me to assess the data around certain practices, as well as the disconnect that people in those organizations had about sustainability. “

The team developed the current solution which is committed to implementing the 12th Sustainable Development Goal, Responsible Consumption and Production.

Packages of organic vegetables at competitive prices

With all the investment in the technology that makes their organic greens grow, it looks like a purchase from them should cost a bomb.

But because they are able to eliminate the need for vast land in remote areas and a long cold chain, they can offer their vegetables competitively.

BoomGrow sells 5-6 varieties of vegetables depending on the package you choose, with prices ranging from RM45 to RM65 per package. Free shipping is offered to those who subscribe to weekly or bi-monthly plans. Otherwise, deliveries to Klang Valley would cost RM10 for purchases above RM45, or RM15 for those below RM45.

Young greens growing on modular racks / Image credit: BoomGrow

Compared to another veg delivery service with a subscription model, Plant B, BoomGrow’s price tag is reasonable.

Factory B offers 6 types of vegetables in a box, and a 2 week subscription would be RM37 / week, while a 4 week subscription would be RM 34 / week. Delivery charges are flat from RM6 to RM8 depending on where you are in Klang Valley.

For BoomGrow and Plant B, individuals don’t choose exactly what goes in their box, but Plant B customers will be told what strain they can expect based on season and availability. The team can also be contacted for exclusions.

On the flip side, BoomGrow clearly lists each variety of vegetables in a package with the assigned weight, so you’ll know exactly what you’re getting. To add, Plant B does not claim that its products are organic.

Improve their B2C services during the pandemic

When the pandemic first hit in 2020, BoomGrow saw a sharp drop in overall sales as hotels and restaurants had to reduce their orders.

Conversely, their e-commerce orders then increased as more and more people subscribe to their vegetarian packages.

“The pandemic has underscored the urgency of building better food production, including fresh vegetables. Customers are increasingly aware that food choices influence both their health and that of the planet, ”the team concluded.

They were able to meet this demand thanks to the support of MaGIC, in particular within the framework of cohort 4 of the Global Accelerator Program.

As a result, their technology pipelines became more focused and they were able to expand their digital footprint, refine e-commerce offerings, and improve their automation. Now, BoomGrow is preparing to deploy its machine farms outside of Klang Valley to reach more customers.

There they will come face to face with more players in the veg delivery space, but maybe their technology and mission will set them apart in the long run and attract a segment of customers with whom their mission resonates. .

  • You can read more about BoomGrow here.
  • You can read more agritech content here.

Featured Image Credit: BoomGrow Founders

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