Disruptrs: Shawn Ng & Sha G P, the co-founders of Future Farms (also known as The Vegetable Co.)
About Future Farms
Future Farms is an indoor farming AgTech company developing farming technologies to grow food in optimal conditions by controlling the various parameters that affect plant growth.
What inspired them?
- Our initial inspiration behind the company stemmed from an observation on the global crop trends over the past decade. Crop yield and food production was volatile and inconsistent due to unpredictable climatic conditions such as droughts, floods and other natural disasters.
- We looked at this issue and decided to devise an alternative means of farming, one that allows us to grow food anywhere and everywhere. Using this flexibility as the core mandate to our solution, we leaned on Controlled-Environment Agriculture (Indoor Farming) as the appropriate technology to do so and had taken off since then.
What has the journey been like?
- The journey thus far has been challenging but rewarding. Building a company from scratch is never easy, especially one that focuses on the next generation of innovation. Much of what we do is undefined – there are not many resources or guidelines for us given the nascent stage of our industry.
- Nonetheless, with support from friends, families and the people we’ve met along the way, we’ve powered through the last couple years of hard research and business development and are now establishing ourselves within the marketplace.
Biggest achievement and what is one regret that you wish you had or had not done?
- We were recently awarded a “Food Systems Change Makers” Award in January 2022 by Thought For Food, an international organisation that focuses on the Sustainable Food Technology space. To be recognised for our efforts within the sustainable food space by the organisation was a big milestone for us given our global ambitions to feed the world.
- With regards to regrets, we would’ve liked to begin our journey earlier if possible. If the company was founded at least 1 full year before the pandemic we would have been able to address some of the food supply shortages that were causing people distress during the initial stages of the lockdown, especially here in Kuala Lumpur. Unfortunately, there was no one in the market that was able to fulfil that need at the time.
Where do you see yourself in the next 1 year?
- Within the next year, we’re looking at local saturation and gradual regional penetration into the ASEAN markets. We believe that there are lots of potential within key urban hubs in the region and are excited to begin exploring those soon.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
- In the grand scheme of things, Future Farms has a lofty goal of feeding the world using our technology and that’s what we’re aiming to achieve over the next couple of years. The idea is that by that point, consumers around the world would be engaging with Future Farms across the supply chain, whether by using our technology to grow food or eating our delicious and nutritious vegetables.
What keeps you going to keep running the business?
- A desire to succeed, more than anything else. We see a gap in the market at the moment, and it’s a widening gap given the increasing irregularity in food production. Looking at the challenge at hand, we believe we have an innovative solution to address this and are working towards making it a ubiquitous offering available to everyone.
What is one local startup you would like to work together with and why?
- Anyone within the AgriFood ecosystem would be interesting to explore but one obvious example would be Phuture Foods – which produces alternative proteins. Given that we’re both serving the same space but with different products, there should be ample synergies between us.
Who is one founder (local or international) that you look up to?
- Elon Musk remains one of the more interesting founders in recent years. From his time as one of the PayPal Mafia till his formation of Tesla, SpaceX and the likes, his understanding of the requirements of the future to survive as a species and his ability to turn vision into a business inspired our work along the way.
Why should investors invest in your start-up?
- First and foremost, we are a team of talented, driven and passionate individuals who came together for a common goal. The people working with us thus far have been spectacular and the work they delivered goes far beyond our expectations. Assembling the right people to bring us to the right environment remains high on our priority list.
- Diving deep into the tech itself, indoor farming technology has massive leapfrogging potential in revitalising agriculture. The industry itself is ripe for an Industry 4.0 disruption and the technological components within what we do will have a huge impact when it comes to catalysing and innovating on what farming will truly mean in the near future.