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I was fortunate enough to see this idea develop from the drawing board after teaching Alexander about hydroponics in my open source design class. Throughout my career I have been working on sustainable energy projects and social impact ventures, I believe that the vision of the Babylon team is not just realistic and attainable, but it is fundamentally necessary to create a sustainable and equitable food supply chain. It is incredible to witness the team passion and the progress they have made over the last two years is astonishing. I have worked with several start ups and have been a professor a professor for several years and I have never seen a team of students take on such an ambitious project - given its global application impact. This speaks to the passion and capability of Alexander and Graham that they have managed to develop this idea into a viable product. They have a very competent and passionate team that seems to work on this project 7 days a week - A recipe for success!
Alexander and his team have met with me on numerous occasions at the UVa iLab where I am a mentor. For background I am an entrepreneur, angel investor, and advisor to several startups as well as an adjunct at UVa's Graduate Business School Darden teaching an applied entrepreneurship course.
The iLab is packed w startup energy all summer then things quiet down and the most committed groups carry on. Babylon is one of those groups and they've turned an otherwise underused maker lab into a growing center with their equipment everywhere. It's fantastic to seem them grinding and learning as they revolutionize an established food growing method. Late at night and on weekends they are always one of the few groups grinding.
The team adapts to new info and changing circumstances. In one mtg I gave them feedback about their fundraising path that they probably didn't want to hear at that time, but the guys listened, adjusted & have since raised $.
Email me if you have additional questions.
I was introduced to Alexander and Graham when they were still students at UVA developing the concept for a food machine that would manufacture affordable produce to serve nutrition-deprived communities. In creating Babylon Microfarms, they have shown remarkable grit, energy, resilience and resourcefulness, while navigating the tradeoffs between profit and purpose. Meanwhile, they maintain an overarching social mission which makes me very proud. I have worked with a number of startups over the years and I am impressed that this young team has shown the uncharacteristic wisdom of knowing the importance of creating a well-rounded technical team with strong chemistry and a solid work ethic. And they are never too proud to ask for help, and have received it from their advisors and investors. They are truly an inspirational bunch of young entrepreneurs. I fully support their efforts and expect tremendous success!
The dedication and drive of these young gentlemen that will truly take Babylon Micro-Farms to the next stage. During their short time here at UVA's i.Lab, they've demonstrated commitment to building and improving their product, while simultaneously reinforcing themselves as permanent and competitive players in the Charlottesville start-up scene. They embody the very characteristics we seek in individuals: determination; resourcefulness; creative thinking; community spirit; peer-to-peer involvement. I am confident these skills will be an asset to Lighthouse Labs.