{Fallbrook Press Release} Fallbrook Technologies Inc. Names Sharon O’Leary President and Chief Operating Officer

CEDAR PARK, TEXAS – January 18, 2017 – Fallbrook Technologies Inc. (Fallbrook) today announced that Chief of Staff and Secretary Sharon O’Leary has been appointed President and Chief Operating Officer, a newly created position within the Company. O'Leary brings nearly 30 years of strategic legal, operational and business development experience to Fallbrook through a number executive leadership roles. She will continue to report to William Klehm, chairman and CEO of Fallbrook.

 “Sharon is a seasoned and trusted leader with a track record of delivering results and profitable growth. She is uniquely qualified to drive strategic prioritization and accountability within Fallbrook, with a laser-focus on operational excellence,” said William Klehm, Fallbrook’s chairman and CEO. “I have tremendous confidence in

Sharon’s ability to align Fallbrook’s world-class innovation in NuVinci® continuously variable planetary (CVP) technology with industry-leading operational practices to spearhead and extend the next-generation of Fallbrook’s market leadership.”

Effective as of January 1, 2017, O’Leary assumed responsibility for all areas of Fallbrook’s business units, except Finance. In particular, she will be responsible for the alignment and prioritization of company initiatives and ensure operational excellence across the organization.

“Fallbrook’s strategy has never been more compelling, and we are rapidly increasing our collaboration efforts with our community of licensees to make more innovative products possible with NuVinci technology,” said O’Leary, president and chief operating officer. “I am incredibly energized to support Bill and help lead Fallbrook to its next phase of commercializing its technology and accelerating long-term strategic goals coupled with operational excellence.”

O’Leary joined Fallbrook in September 2010 as Chief Legal Officer and Secretary. In January 2016, O’Leary assumed the role of Chief of Staff. Prior to Fallbrook, O'Leary spent close to 15 years working in the telecommunications and cable industries. Since 2000, she has been working with start-up companies in a variety of industries. O’Leary started her career as a prosecutor for the New York State Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force.

Sharon holds a Bachelor’s Degree cum laude from Dominican College, and a J.D. cum laude from New York Law School.

About Fallbrook Technologies

Fallbrook Technologies is the inventor of the revolutionary NuVinci® continuously variable planetary (CVP) technology, which enables performance and efficiency improvements for any machine that uses geared transmission systems – from urban mobility vehicles to cars and trucks and from industrial equipment to marine applications. Fallbrook has a unique collective development model and community through which NuVinci technology licensees share enhancements, which adds to the value of the technology and accelerates product development. This approach enables forward-looking companies, who wish to create visionary new products with NuVinci technology, to move quickly from concept to market commercialization. Fallbrook is based in Cedar Park near Austin, Texas, USA and holds rights to over 800 patents and patent applications worldwide. For more information, visit www.falbrooktech.com.

By Trammie Anderson for Fallbrook Technologies

{Greentechmedia.com} LED Startup Soraa Debuts Its First Consumer Light

January 5, 2017: The company says it’s a healthier, smarter to light a home. About five years ago, startup Soraa emerged onto the scene with an invention from a Japanese LED expert and backing from some of Silicon Valley’s most well-known venture capital firms.

This week, after years of building up a business based on selling LED lights for commercial and industrial buildings, the company launched its very first foray into the consumer market at the CES technology expo in Las Vegas.

Soraa, which was co-founded by Nobel laureate Shuji Nakamura and funded by Khosla Ventures and NEA, calls the lighting product “helia.” It’s a light bulb and smart controller set that dynamically adjusts lighting to help households sleep better, achieve a more convenient lifestyle, and light a house more efficiently.

The light bulbs come in the form of a widely used down light (BR30) and can be screwed into standard sockets at a home or business. To make the lights smart, you need to buy one of the controllers, which pops into the center of one of the lights and contains sensors and a communication chip to enable the lights to connect information over the power line.

Each light will set you back $49.99, plus $29 for the controller, and will be on sale starting in the spring of 2017. The idea is to buy a set of lights, and you’ll just need one controller for the whole group.

So how exactly can lights be “healthier” and help you sleep better? Well, it has to do with blue light and human circadian rhythms. Morning natural light is filled with blue light, and humans are conditioned to wake up under such conditions. Conversely, as the sun sets, blue light disappears and we drift off to sleep.

If you’ve got blue-light-dominant lights on in your house at night, they could be interfering with your rest. Unfortunately, if you’re using LED lights, or have a lot of LED screens on, it’s quite possible you have a lot of blue light getting in the way.

Soraa’s bulbs use LED chips that can replace blue light with violet light, so they can produce a natural-looking light at night without messing with your sleep cycles. The bulbs are also tuned to dynamically change the light spectrum throughout the day to match the natural light as the sun rises and sets.

If this all sounds like the province of hippies, the company says it’s in the early stages of conducting a study with sleep expert and Stanford professor Jamie Zeitzer, the preliminary results of which seem to suggest that Soraa’s lighting interferes less with sleep than do blue-light dominated LEDs. Other companies have launched sleep-friendly LED lights, but many of these have a yellow tinge to them.

In addition to the health aspect, the company has other algorithms that can do things like learn a household's behavior and adjust the lights accordingly, or maintain the typical lighting schedule automatically when the household's residents go on vacation. An additional piece of hardware can connect the system to the internet and devices like Amazon's Alexa. These are a lot of things that smart lighting companies tout, like Philips and its Hue brand.

But the blue-light control is mostly what makes the helia lights unique. The feat is based on Soraa’s original invention, created by Nakamura, which uses the semiconductor gallium nitride for the substrate part of the LED. LEDs commonly place gallium nitride on top of a sapphire or silicon carbide substrate, but Soraa lays gallium nitride on top of gallium nitride.

The result is a more uniform light. Nakamura was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics for knowing such things (specifically for inventing the blue LED). (If you get a chance, read about Nakamura’s back story, lawsuit against his Japanese employer, and move to America, it’s quite fascinating.)

Soraa’s Senior Principal Scientist, Aurelien David, said that the blue-light control, and inducement of healthy sleep, was one of the big reasons why Soraa wanted to make a light for consumers. “It’s an obvious application,” explained David during an interview at CES on the 34th floor of The Venetian.

It’s also because the market opportunity for consumer lights is so large, and because there aren't a lot of good options for smart lighting out there today, explained Soraa execs Todd Antes and Phil Kearney. However, Antes also acknowledged that the consumer market can sometimes be a tough nut to crack.

The company is also planning to expand its business by launching light fixtures for its commercial customers. So clearly Soraa is looking to grow its revenue and expand beyond its current size.

It’s not clear exactly how big or successful the company has been so far, but Antes said that the company already ships more than 1 million commercial lamps per year, and within a year or two could be generating more than $100 million in annual revenue. Soraa has just under 200 employees, and is in the process of building a new factory in Syracuse, New York to add production capacity beyond that of its current factory in Fremont, California.

A funding filing from 2011 shows that Soraa raised at least $88 million, but it’s unclear if the firm has raised more since then -- though it seems likely given the company's expansion plans. If not, Soraa will likely have to invest in the New York factory in the future.

The early days of the business looked like it was something of a long slog. The company’s current CEO Jeff Parker joined the company about two and a half years ago.

It is undeniably hard to build an independent LED manufacturing company. Switch was another promising LED tech startup that ended up not working out.

We’ll see if Soraa can convince consumers to invest in its healthier, smarter home lighting tech. If all goes well, the company could offer lower-cost options and more basic bulbs like the A19 down the road.

By Katie Fahrenbacher for Greentechmedia.com

{Geeky Gadgets} SORAA Helia Smart Bulbs Use Your Electric Cabling To Create A Network

12:21 pm January 4, 2017: Soraa has won a CES 2017 Innovation award for its new consumer Helia smart bulb after primarily providing industrial solutions for corporate clients. The new consumer smart bulb is capable of creating its own network to other smart bulbs by using your homes internal wiring and HomePlug Green Phy technology.

The Soraa Helia smart bulb also comes with a companion application that supports both iOS and android devices and will automatically adjust the type of colour they admit depending on the time of day. In a similar way to how the Apple Night Shift feature works on the latest iPhones.

Watch the video below to learn more about the new consumer smart bulb created by Soraa who explained a little more about its inspiration, features and design.

“Say hello to Helia the healthy light environment from Soraa. It combines healthy and beautiful full spectrum LED lighting with a secure, expandable network of smart home sensors. The result is an intuitive, energy-efficient lighting system that brings the benefits of natural sunlight indoors.

Helia Dynamic White bulbs replicate the cycle of natural sunlight to improve circadian health and sleep. They automatically adjust color temperature and spectral content throughout day and night to provide the most natural, healthy, indoor light possible.

When the quality of light is beautiful, it affects us in a positive way. You not only see it, but you feel it. Helia bulbs leverage Soraa’s exceptional GaN on GaN violet LEDs which uniquely produce beautiful, full spectrum white light. This is light as it should be.”

For more information on the new Soraa Helia smart bulb jump over to the official website for details by following the link below.

By Julian Horsey for Geeky Gadgets

{DIRTT Press Release} DIRTT to present at 2017 Needham Growth Conference

CALGARY - January 4, 2017 - Leading technology driven manufacturer DIRTT Environmental Solutions (TSX:DRT) announced today that President Scott Jenkins and CFO Derek Payne will present at the 19th Annual Needham Growth Conference in New York City next week.

The three-day conference runs Tuesday-Thursday, January 10-12 at the Lotte New York Palace Hotel. DIRTT's presentation will be held on Thursday, January 12 at 10 a.m. EST (8 a.m. MST). A copy of the DIRTT presentation will be posted to the Investor Relations section of DIRTT's website at https://www.dirtt.net/company/investor/financial.

 About DIRTT

DIRTT Environmental Solutions (Doing it Right This Time) uses its proprietary 3D software to design, manufacture and install fully customized prefabricated interiors. The Company's customers in the corporate, government, education and healthcare sectors benefit from DIRTT's precise design and costing; rapid lead times with the highest levels of customization and flexibility; and faster, cleaner construction.

DIRTT's manufacturing facilities are in Phoenix, Savannah, Kelowna and Calgary. DIRTT's team supports nearly 100 sales distribution partners throughout North America, the Middle East and Asia. DIRTT trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol "DRT." For more information visit www.dirtt.net.

By Scott Jenkins for DIRTT

 

 

{Encycle Corp. Press Release} ENCYCLE CORP. ANNOUNCES $11.5 MILLION FUNDING ROUND AS ITS SWARM LOGIC ENERGY SOLUTION ATTRACTS MAJOR CLIENTS

Prelude Ventures and NGEN Partners Lead Funding Round to Accelerate Adoption of Transformational Swarm Energy Service

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

San Marcos, CA (December 13, 2016) Encycle Corp. announced today that it has closed on the initial tranche of an $11.5 million investment led by Prelude Ventures of San Francisco and NGEN Partners of New York City. Major investors from previous financings, including BDC, Duke Ventures, EDC (Export Development Canada), and EnerTech Capital, all participated.

Encycle’s patented Swarm Logic™, is a highly cost effective and simple to deploy service, which synchronizes the operation of a cluster of roof top air conditioning units to create energy savings averaging 20-25%. Encycle has emerged as a major energy service provider assisting its clients to succeed in their sustainability program initiatives. The hundreds of facilities served by

Encycle range from a 7500 square foot retail store to a 1.9 million square foot distribution center, with a number of shopping malls and movie theaters in between.

Tim Woodward, Managing Director at Prelude Ventures, stated: “Encycle has a deep bench of referenceable clients validating the energy savings and economic benefits from demand management. This capital will fund the commercial launch of Encycle’s SaaS offering that will significantly ease the installation logistics and costs, and expand channel relationship opportunities. Just as virtually all commercial facilities have already adopted LED lighting programs to meet sustainability objectives, RTUs are the next major load to be optimized.”

Robert Chiste, Encycle’s President and CEO, stated: “We are very pleased that Prelude Ventures has joined NGEN Partners and the other existing Encycle investors. We are growing our client base with the recognition that our Swarm solution is an extremely effective ‘set and forget’ service. The funding will accelerate our existing SwarmController program as well as the introduction of our offering with smart thermostat and BMS (Building Management System) channel partners launching in early 2017”. Chiste continued, “As we deliver the Swarm

Technology through direct sales and various channel partners, our EASE™ (Energy as a Service by Encycle) program will provide an excellent opportunity to reduce energy costs and carbon emissions more simply and cost effectively than other sustainability initiatives including LEDs, rooftop solar and battery storage.”

About Encycle

Encycle provides unique benefits to a number of Fortune 500 companies. The Energy as a

Service by Encycle (“EASE”) solution maximizes the performance of RTUs to save commercial and industrial companies money while reducing their carbon footprint. Based on patented

Swarm Logic technology, Encycle's platform uses biomimicry techniques to reduce HVAC energy costs, participate in Demand Response programs and gain valuable insight into RTU performance. EASE is simple and easy to install, optionally integrates with leading IoT solutions, and delivers ROIs that far exceed most solar, storage and lighting initiatives. 

Encycle's offices are located in Toronto (Canada), San Marcos (California), and Taunton (UK). Encycle, Energy as a Service by Encycle, Swarm Logic, Swarm Energy Management, SwarmStat, OpenStat, Swarm Open, and Swarm Logic Open are registered or pending trademarks of Encycle Corporation.

By Ginger Juhl and Greg Johnson for Encycle Corporation

{Sports.Yahoo.com} Nlyte Hosts Leadership Technology Panel at Gartner Data Center Conference

SAN MATEO, CA--(Marketwired - Dec 1, 2016) - Nlyte Software, today announced Nlyte's CMO, Mark Gaydos, will be hosting an informative panel with top industry leaders at the Gartner Data Center, Infrastructure & Operations Management Conference. Nlyte customers are some of the most innovative companies in the industry. Nlyte, a leader in the October 2016 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) Tools for 3 consecutive years, will showcase its DCIM and DCSM solutions offering in Booth #216.

Held from December 5 - 8, in Las Vegas, NV, the Gartner Data Center, Infrastructure & Operations Management Conference is the premier destination for industry leaders who are influencers and transformers laying the foundation for a new digital ecosystem and virtualized data centers. Nlyte has over a decade of experience helping data center facility and IT personnel to reduce the costs of delivering on their SLAs to both internal and external customers -- which we believe makes its customer representatives the ideal participants for the Gartner's panel discussion titled, Leading Companies Share Their Data Center Strategies.

Held on Tuesday, December 6, 11:15am - 12:00pm, the panel discussion will bring together Dell's Manager of Global Data Center Services, Bill Juszkiewicz; NASA JPL's Data Center Manager, Jim Chu; Social Security Administration's Director of National Support Center and Data Center Optimization Initiative (DCOI) Program Manager, Steve Nauman; USAA's IT Operations, Data Center Services, LaShonta Goins and VMware's DCIM Solutions Architect, Phil Pennington to share successful strategies and highlight changes for adapting data centers in the new cloud-based era.

"Nlyte has a long history of use by some of the world's leading data center organizations," Gaydos said. "We look forward to sharing the insights and experiences these leading professionals have to offer to conference attendees."

Nlyte 8 has become part of successful data center strategies that bridge the operational gap between IT and facility needs with such offerings as:

·         Software Defined Data Centers (SDDC) features.

·         Virtual Power Distribution Units (V-PDU), offering 90% cost savings compared to traditional PDUs.

·         The first DCIM DCOI module for U.S. government IT and data center facility managers to adhere to the recent Data Center Optimization Initiative (DCOI) mandate.

·         Colocation Edition for improving profitability for both colo providers and their customers.

Gartner Disclaimer

Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner's research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

About Nlyte Software

Nlyte is the leading software company that automates the management of services provided by the data center (DCSM). Many of the world's largest and most sophisticated data centers use Nlyte to become more agile, reduce costs and operate more efficiently. Founded in 2004, Nlyte provides a comprehensive and proven DCSM solution with a modern, web-services architecture. With Nlyte, customers can easily manage all their existing data center processes, resources, policies, assets and interrelationships. For more information, visit www.nlyte.com or follow @nlyte on Twitter.

All trademarks or registered trademarks are the property of their respective owners and are used for identification purposes only.

By Marketwired

{Executivebiz.com} State Dept Chooses Nlyte Platform to Manage Data Center Infrastructure

The State Department has selected Nlyte Software to provide an enterprise-gradetechnology platform to help DOS manage data center operations and comply with the government’s Data Center Optimization Initiative.

Nlyte said Thursday it will deploy the Data Center Infrastructure Management platform, BMC Remedy Change Management and BMC Atrium CMDB connectors across multiple server racks for the department.

“Many federal data center facilities lack the technology needed to give administrators full visibility into all operations,” said Nlyte Software CEO Mark Gaydos.

“Nlyte’s DCIM solution helps solve this issue with sophisticated and automated monitoring systems that bring all siloed data onto a single pane-of-glass for more informed decision making.”

The company said 23 civilian, defense and intelligence agencies currently use its DCIM platform.

By: Scott Nicholas for Executivebiz.com

{Encycle Press Release} Honeywell partners with Encycle, HECO Reaps the Benefits

Honeywell and Encycle Development teams collaborate to prepare for OpenADR 2.0b rollouts

San Marcos, CA, November 7, 2016 – Encycle (www.encycle.com) and Honeywell Smart Energy joined forces to ensure that the details of OpenADR 2.0b implementations are production ready for their collective utility and C&I customers.

Yvette Maskrey, District Manager of Honeywell’s Smart Energy business said, “The Honeywell and Encycle development teams worked collaboratively through the details to seamlessly integrate our OpenADR 2.0b systems. This will ensure ease of participation for Hawaiian Electric’s customers in demand response programs, and allows other Honeywell utility clients using this standard the flexibility to connect to additional distributed energy resources.”

The key new feature of the OpenADR 2.0b standard is the ability for facilities to provide live telemetry data to utilities. This helps utilities better manage their demand response activities, requesting the minimal load shed from customers, thereby avoiding demand response fatigue.

Barry Haaser, Managing Director of the OpenADR Alliance stated, “Collaboration between key technology providers such as Honeywell and Encycle helps utilities and consumers adopt the 2.0b standard, knowing that the systems have been tested thoroughly. This will benefit not only Hawaiian Electric, but ultimately, utilities and consumers across the globe.”

“The OpenADR 2.0b collaboration between our development teams represents a major milestone for Encycle, where we worked closely with Honeywell’s Smart Energy group to benefit the industry at large. This enhances our relationship with Honeywell as we team up on other efforts, including integration with their Total Connect Comfort Ecosystem for our upcoming SwarmStat platform,” said Mark Kerbel, Encycle’s CTO and co-founder.

 About Encycle

 Encycle provides unique benefits to a number of Fortune 500 companies. The Energy as a Service by Encycle (“EASE”) solution maximizes the performance of HVAC systems to save commercial and industrial companies money while reducing their carbon footprint. Based on patented Swarm Logic technology, Encycle's platform uses biomimicry techniques to reduce HVAC energy costs, participate in Demand Response programs and gain valuable insight into HVAC performance. EASE is simple and easy to install, optionally integrates with leading IoT solutions, and delivers ROIs that far exceed most solar, storage and lighting initiatives.

 Encycle’s offices are located in Toronto (Canada), San Marcos (California), and Taunton (UK). Encycle, Energy as a Service by Encycle, Swarm Logic, Swarm Energy Management, SwarmStat, OpenStat, Swarm Open, and Swarm Logic Open are registered or pending trademarks of Encycle Corporation.

Press Release from Encycle Technologies, Inc.

{NuVinci Cycling} NuVinci® Cycling Introduces New and Improved Harmony™ Automatic-Shifting Product

Much awaited new version of the product features robust hardware components and is now available to dealers and OEs

 ZWOLLE, NETHERLANDS / CEDAR PARK, TEXAS – October 18, 2016 – The upgraded

Harmony automatic-shifting product is a result of more than four years’ worth of usage data, reflected from field experience and analyses, combined with internal validation data. It includes new sensors which improve Harmony’s accuracy and reliability as well as the longevity of the entire system. While the product performance in general has been exceptional, the improvement of these components will make Harmony even more stable.

In the process of designing the new version of Harmony, NuVinci Cycling, a division of Fallbrook Technologies Inc., set an aggressive goal of zero failures for the new key components. As a result, the life expectancy of the new sensors, compared to the old ones, increased by an order of magnitude. “We completed all pre-launch product reliability testing with no failures, and were not able to induce any failures in the new sensors in any of our tests,” says Brian Sweet, Manager of Engineering Design at Fallbrook.

Harmony will again deliver on NuVinci Cycling’s mission “to move people better.” Benefits include continuous stepless and automatic shifting, effortless shifting even under load, greater gear ratio range than many conventional shifting systems as well as comfortable pedaling at your desired cadence.

The new version supersedes the existing version of Harmony and is identified by the serial number being located on the bottom of the unit instead of on the back. The overall branding and naming towards the end-user will stay the same.

A video with instructions on how to install the new Harmony interface is available by visiting: www.nuvincicycling.com/en/video-gallery/installation-of-harmony-hubinterface.html. In case more support is needed, the technical service team can be contacted on +31 38 7200711.

With the new and upgraded Harmony, NuVinci Cycling is looking forward to once again enable the unique NuVinci Optimized™ riding experience that riders have come to love.

MEDIA RELEASE

 About NuVinci® Cycling

NuVinci Cycling, a division of Fallbrook Technologies Inc., moves people better through its product portfolio of smooth, stepless, automatic and integrated shifting products for bicycles and eBikes. The NuVinci technology incorporated in continuously variable transmissions (CVT) for bicycles has been providing the best rider experiences since 2006. NuVinci Optimized cycling products include the Nfinity and Harmony group sets, utilizing the latest versions of the transmissions and controllers. Products from NuVinci Cycling, the leader in CVTs for bikes and eBIkes, are available globally in over 100 bicycle brands. For more information, visit www.nuvincicycling.com.

 About Fallbrook Technologies

Fallbrook Technologies is the inventor of the revolutionary NuVinci continuously variable planetary (CVP) technology, which enables performance and efficiency improvements for any machine that uses geared transmission systems – from urban mobility vehicles to cars and trucks and from industrial equipment to marine applications. Fallbrook has a unique collective development model and community through which NuVinci technology licensees share enhancements, which adds to the value of the technology and accelerates product development. This approach enables forward-looking companies, who wish to create visionary new products with NuVinci technology, to move quickly from concept to market commercialization. Fallbrook is based in Cedar Park near Austin, Texas, USA and holds rights to over 800 patents and patent applications worldwide. For more information, visit www.fallbrooktech.com.

By Anne Guethoff for NuVinci Cycling and Trammie Anderson for Fallbrook Technologies, Inc.

(Techcrunch.com} BrightFarms raises $30.1 million to set up futuristic greenhouses across the U.S.

Agriculture tech startup BrightFarms has raised $30.1 million in Series C funding to bring its high-tech greenhouses, and fresh produce, across the U.S.

The company is on a mission to make all fresh fruit and vegetables locally, rather than require them to be hauled from long distances or imported from overseas before they are sold at groceries.

Taking a page from the playbook of solar power providers in the U.S., BrightFarms offers customers a long-term, fixed rate on the salad greens and tomatoes it grows in its greenhouses to grocers.

The startup’s CEO Paul Lightfoot explained that after BrightFarms locks in a “produce purchasing agreement,” it raises funds from various sources including economic development programs and different banks or equity firms to build a new greenhouse.

In effect, a big chunk of the company’s cost of goods is already committed revenue before they open up a greenhouse’s doors and start growing.

The new round of funding was led by Catalyst Investors, and joined by BrightFarms earlier backers WP Global Partners and NGEN.

Catalyst’s Tyler Newton said his firm backed BrightFarms largely due to its business model innovation and ability to “out-execute” other food producers in the U.S.

Consumers definitely want to buy groceries made by local businesses, and to help support jobs that pay a local living wage in their own back yard. According to research by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, local food sales totaled $12 billion in 2014 and are expected to grow to $20 billion by 2019.

“Where the seasons don’t cooperate, we just didn’t have the option to buy local before. So that feels good. But when you taste a tomato or some arugula from BrightFarms, and compare it to something that’s been shipped from out West, there is an obvious taste advantage, too. That’s what grocers want,” Newton said.

BrightFarms is going after a huge market that doesn’t have a lot of competition outside of the states of California and Arizona, today.

America’s farms contribute $177.2 billion, or about 1 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product each year according to the most recent available calculations also from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

 

And 90% of the salad greens consumed in the U.S. are produced in California and Arizona, then shipped across the country or exported out of it.

Other agriculture tech startups like AeroFarms or FreightFarms are building out indoor and container-based farms, in urban areas to meet rising consumer demands for locally-produced, and delicious fresh foods.

But Lightfoot believes that his company’s greenhouses – which take advantage of natural sunlight, obviously—can prove more environmentally sustainable and cost-efficient than indoor farms, and produce more supply than container-based and rooftop farms.

He says that’s because BrightFarms controlled environment greenhouses don’t need to use as much electricity for grow lights and temperature controls than indoor farms. Both are significantly more water efficient than traditional farms, even those using precise irrigation systems.

So far, BrightFarms operates three greenhouses, each employing 25 full-time workers, in the greater Philadelphia, Washington D.C. and Chicago metro areas.

If drought conditions continue, Lightfood said, the company could someday move into the “salad bowl” state of California, or other agricultural hubs, displacing traditional, and often water-intensive, farms.

But for now it will focus on metro areas where demand for fresh produce is high but there isn’t a lot of arable land or weather to support traditional farms.

BrightFarms’ customers and partners have so far included grocers like Kroger, Ahold USA, Wegmans and ShopRite.

Besides using the new Series C capital to build out additional greenhouses, Lightfoot says the company will explore new crops and is likely to start growing peppers and strawberries in the near future.

By Lora Kolodny for Techcrunch.com

{NEXTracker.com} NEXTracker Delivers India’s Largest Solar Tracker Plant for Adani

FREMONT, CA, USA & AHMEDABAD, INDIA, SEPTEMBER 1, 2016 — NEXTracker™, a Flex company, announced today it has delivered its award-winning PV technology to India’s largest solar tracker power plant, in collaboration with its customer, Adani Power Ltd. Located in the State of Punjab, the project is 105 MW and is already 50% installed and commissioned. This is the first phase of a strategic agreement between Adani and NEXTracker to supply tracker technology, design consultation, installation and commissioning support to Adani’s PV power plant deployments in India and around the world.

“We are playing an active role in supporting India’s National Action Plan for Climate Change to help our country reach 100 GW by 2022 by deploying 10 GW of solar in that time,” said Jayant Parimal, CEO of Adani Green Energy. “We’re very pleased to be incorporating NEXTracker’s advanced solar tracking system into our utility-scale PV projects; their high quality components and solid financial backing by Flex are important aspects of our solar strategy. After evaluating NEXTracker’s technology, we found the system’s balanced design and robust wind capability are ideal for our environmental and soil conditions, and will help maximize energy yield and cost savings.”

“Adani is a visionary energy and infrastructure firm that’s focused on ensuring that development – especially in emerging economies – is sustainable; their leadership has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to deploying clean technologies to meet the world’s growing energy needs,” noted NEXTracker CEO Dan Shugar. “We’re honored to be partnering with Adani to design and deploy high-performance utility-scale solar power projects.

India is poised for intensive ground mount solar deployment over the next decade according to a recent report by Deutche Bank Market Research, with 100-fold solar industry growth over the last five years. As a more modest figure, Greentech Media estimates that ground mount solar installations with solar trackers will reach 3GW by 2020, or 25%[1] of total installed ground mount installations (estimated at 11.7GW).  Regardless, demand for solar is increasing at an aggressive pace and the prospects for wider PV adoption in India are promising thanks to favorable government policies and the region’s high irradiance.

NEXTracker’s balanced design, advanced wind capabilities, and rapid stowing features are ideal for this region known for its high winds and desert soil conditions. NEXTracker also has fewer foundations and assembly points, helping mitigate geotechnical risk and accelerate project construction schedules. With over 4 GW of tracker systems delivered to date, NEXTracker’s PV system technology, coupled with Adani’s extensive experience in energy infrastructure projects, aims to serve as a model for deployment of solar in India.

About NEXTracker

NEXTracker, a Flex company, advances the power plant of the future with advanced PV system innovations that empower solar power plants of all sizes to increase performance and reduce costs. With over 4GW of PV tracker delivered, NEXTracker is globally recognized for delivering the most advanced solar solutions for hundreds of projects across five continents. Headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area, NEXTracker has offices in India, China, Chile, Brazil, and Australia. Power on with us at nextracker.com and follow us on Twitter @NEXTracker. 

About Adani Group

The Adani Group is one of India’s leading companies with revenue of over $10 billion. Founded in 1988, Adani has grown to become a global integrated infrastructure player with businesses in key industry verticals – resources, logistics, energy and agriculture. The Group’s integrated model is well adapted to the infrastructure challenges of operating in emerging economies.

In renewable energy sector, Adani has close to 800 MW renewable energy projects in operation. Solar capacity includes a 648 MW solar power project at Ramanathapuram district in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, which is currently world’s largest single location solar power plant. The company has a pipeline of 1.2GW Solar PV and 300 MW Wind Power Projects in India and is set to become the largest renewable power generation company in India.

By Kristan Kirsh for NEXTracker

{Prweb.com} HYLA Wins 2nd Compass Intelligence Award for Recycling/Reclamation Innovation & Support Vendor

HYLA Mobile has announced it has been awarded the Compass Intelligence award for the second time for top company in Recycling/Reclamation Innovation & Support.

DALLAS, TX (PRWEB) SEPTEMBER 13, 2016

HYLA Mobile has announced it has been awarded the Compass Intelligence award for the second time for top company in Recycling/Reclamation Innovation & Support, which is part of the Bamboo Mobile awards honoring the top vendors and companies in recycling, green technology, building sustainable technology, and improving the environment. HYLA also won this top honor for the 2015 year. The Compass Intelligence awards are selected and voted on by industry-leading press, editors, and analysts who cover the mobile and wireless market.

HYLA Mobile is a global leader in collecting and re-distributing used mobile devices on behalf of operators, retailers, OEMs and insurance companies around the world. From an environmental and sustainability perspective, the growth in the used device market can only be great news. HYLA Mobile is the world’s largest developer of technology and services that enable sustainable reuse of mobile devices and generate new revenue streams for the entire mobile ecosystem. It has collected more than 39 million devices since its inception seven years ago.

“HYLA Mobile’s breadth of carrier and electronics retailer customers showcase its dominance in this market,” said Stephanie Atkinson, CEO of Compass Intelligence. “Their commitment to ongoing improvements and the focus on sustainability in the device reclamation ecosystem further illustrates their exceptional best-in-class services.”

“We are honored to be among the great innovators to win the Compass Intelligence award,” said HYLA Mobile President & CEO Biju Nair. “This confirms our dedication to improving the mobile technology industry while it is going through a very important transformation and adopting new business models. Our solutions help pave the way for large new revenue streams for our customers and much improved customer experience along with reduced churn.”

HYLA Mobile is also currently managing the device recycling and trade-in program for Facebook: https://smartphonerecycling.hylamobile.com. The key driver for Facebook is to create sustainability awareness, reduce electronic waste, and provide emerging markets with an affordable alternatives to new smartphones. Facebook is keen to connect the unconnected and to ensure that those subscribers who connect for the first time receive the best possible experience.

About HYLA Mobile
HYLA Mobile is one of the world's leading providers of products and services that capture, extend and optimize the life and value of used mobile devices. Backed by Venture Capital firms Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers, Silver Lake, OpenAir Equity Partners, RRE Ventures and others, HYLA is transforming the wireless ecosystem by helping consumers realize and immediately take advantage of the residual value of their used electronic devices, and is providing carriers, OEMs, retailers, insurers and online brands with a reliable and responsible way of collecting, processing and distributing these devices. HYLA Mobile's approach delivers economic, environmental and social benefits to the partners, consumers, and communities it serves. Since its founding in 2009, HYLA Mobile has completed more than 39 million mobile device trade-in transactions. To learn more about how HYLA Mobile is changing the way people think about used mobile devices, visit http://www.HYLAMobile.com.

By Sandia Bratt for Hyla Mobile

{Encycle Press Release} Encycle’s EASE™ reduces stress and utility costs for Harkins Theaters

Encycle optimizes HVAC energy savings for facility managers, and provides valuable insights to service technicians

San Marcos, CA, September 1, 2016 – Harkins Theaters is a family owned and operated business, based in Arizona since 1933. With thirty locations in five states, Harkins Theaters is one of the largest family-owned theater chains in North America. Harkins Theaters’ Director of Facilities, Fred DiNapoli, who oversees all their locations, is faced with managing these facilities by himself. Thus, Fred has little time to optimize HVAC performance. Using EASE™ (Energy-as-a-Service by Encycle), he was able to substantially reduce Harkins’ utility costs with virtually no impact on his work load.

Mr. DiNapoli explains, “With Encycle’s controllers installed, my HVAC units are working smarter than ever, reducing our peak demand and consumption without the need for me to monitor or adjust settings. EASE frees up my time to concentrate on other facets of operations. Encycle also provides my service technicians with valuable real-time insight into HVAC performance. It just works!”

Encycle initially installed Swarm Logic™ controllers in Harkins’ theater complexes in Moreno Valley and Chino Hills (California). Through the use of various load management strategies, Encycle’s system smooths out daytime demand, lowering monthly peaks. Its sub-metering and scheduling capabilities are used to identify and implement consumption reduction strategies.

Encycle’s CEO, Bob Chiste, stated: “Using these strategies, Encycle provided Harkins Theaters with solid savings of over $25,000 per year at two locations, and we are now in discussions with Harkins about utilizing our EASE model across their entire chain. We provide our EASE service at several hundred facilities, including theaters, retail and mall operations, and distribution centers.”

About Encycle

Encycle (www.encycle.com) provides unique benefits to a number of Fortune 500 companies. The Energy as a Service by Encycle (“EASE”) solution maximizes the performance of HVAC systems to save commercial and industrial companies money while reducing their carbon footprint. Based on patented Swarm Logic technology, Encycle's platform uses biomimicry techniques to reduce HVAC energy costs, participate in Demand Response programs, and gain valuable insight into HVAC performance. EASE is simple and easy to install, optionally integrates with leading IoT solutions, and delivers ROIs that far exceed most solar, storage and lighting initiatives.

Encycle’s offices are located in Toronto (Canada), San Marcos (California), and Taunton (UK). Encycle, Swarm Logic, Swarm Energy Management, SwarmStat, OpenStat, and Swarm Logic Open are registered or pending trademarks of Encycle Corporation.

Encycle Press Release

{Fallbrook Technologies Press Release} NuVinci® Cycling Launches Web Platform To Enhance Support For Business Partners

Specific areas provide tailored support materials for OEMs, dealers, service partners, and media.

ZWOLLE, NL / CEDAR PARK, TX – August 31, 2016 – NuVinci® Cycling, a division of Fallbrook Technologies Inc. (Fallbrook), announced today the launch of a new web platform to expand support for business partners.

“The continued enhancement of our support organization and capabilities, both online and offline, has been a key part of our plan for NuVinci Cycling. We strive to be both a support and sales leader in the cycling industry,” said David Hancock, Fallbrook’s executive vice president for NuVinci Cycling. “Today’s announcements add to an already significant base and there is more to come.”

The NuVinci Cycling website now includes a login area with four different access levels, each with tailored content to meet the specific needs of the following groups: OEMS, dealers, service partners and media. To obtain access, register at www.nuvincicycling.com/en/registration.html.

The free registration provides exclusive information for each user group such as service documentation, warranty information, product manuals, price lists, marketing materials and media releases. In addition, new videos with up-to-date assembly and maintenance instructions are now available in English with Chinese, Dutch, English, French or German subtitles.

 About NuVinci® Cycling

NuVinci Cycling, a division of Fallbrook Technologies Inc., moves people better through its product portfolio of smooth, stepless, automatic and integrated shifting products for bicycles and eBikes. The NuVinci technology incorporated in continuously variable transmission (CVT) for bicycles have been providing the best rider experiences since 2006. NuVinci Optimized cycling products include the Nfinity and Harmony group sets, utilizing the latest versions of the transmissions and controllers. Products from NuVinci Cycling, the leader in CVT’s for bikes and ebikes, are available globally in over 100 bicycle brands. For more information, visit www.nuvincicycling.com.

 About Fallbrook Technologies

Fallbrook Technologies is the inventor of the revolutionary NuVinci continuously variable planetary (CVP) technology, which enables performance and efficiency improvements for any machine that uses geared transmission systems – from cars and trucks to industrial equipment to marine applications. Fallbrook, with its unique collective development model and community, enables forward-looking companies to quickly move from concept to market commercialization. NuVinci Cycling, a division of Fallbrook, has supplied products to the bicycle industry for over a decade. Fallbrook is based in Cedar Park near Austin, Texas, USA and holds rights to over 800 patents and patent applications worldwide. For more information, visit www.fallbrooktech.com.

Fallbrook Technologies, Inc. Press Release

{Fallbrook Technologies Press Release} NuVinci Cycling Introduces N380se Transmission and Nfinity One-Turn Controller

 

- Products launched at Eurobike 2016 showcase extension of product relevance to more suportive and non-eBike models - 

ZWOLLE, NETHERLANDS / CEDAR PARK, TEXAS – August 30, 2016 – NuVinci Cycling, a division of Fallbrook Technologies Inc., announced today two new products, the N380SE transmission and the Nfinity one-turn controller, to be launched at EUROBIKE 2016 (31 August - 4 September) in Friedrichschafen, Germany.

NuVinci Cycling, known for creating an enhanced and unique rider experience through its NuVinci Optimized™ cycling products, is now expanding on its segment-leading product lines. These products include stepless manual or automatic transmissions and controllers for bikes and eBikes.

 N380SE

The new N380SE transmission features an upgraded finish and is a “Special Edition” version of the very successful N380. The N380 was launched in 2015 and is included in the Nfinity™ and Harmony™ group sets.

The upgraded finish on the N380SE replaces decals with pad printing and utilizes a minimalist black paint combination of matte and glossy. With its modern design aesthetic, the product will be attractive for use on a wide range of eBikes and bicycles, especially for models designed with a younger and more sportive market in mind. The N380SE matches the technical specifications of the N380. It offers a comfortable 380% ratio range and can shift under loads of up to 80Nm continuous torque, 200kg vehicle weight. It can be used with standard and 350W speed pedelecs. The N380SE transmission is available in disc or rim brake configurations.

 Nfinity One-Turn Controller

The new Nfinity one-turn controller offers a quick response to a small shifting movement. For the rider, this means shifting through the whole ratio range becomes possible with “one turn,” without having to take one’s hand off the handlebar. This is particularly important in sportive environments and delivers on NuVinci Cycling’s mission “to move people better.” The Nfinity one-turn controller is compatible with all three currently offered controllers: C3™, C8™ and C8s™. The grip turn ratio is reduced by 60% in comparison to the standard Nfinity shifter and a snap retainer is included as a security feature.

“Our products are very established in the higher-end eBike market: our technology can already be found in over 100 bicycle brands,” says Richard Hilgart, product manager at NuVinci Cycling. “Our new product launches at EUROBIKE 2016, and others planned in our medium-term roadmap, are expanding our relevance to non-eBike models, as well as to the more sportive and volume-oriented market segments.” NuVinci Cycling invites retailers, OEMs and end-users to see and demo its new products at EUROBIKE 2016 at booth number A2-314.

 About NuVinci® Cycling

NuVinci Cycling, a division of Fallbrook Technologies Inc., moves people better through its product portfolio of smooth, stepless, automatic and integrated shifting products for bicycles and eBikes. The NuVinci technology incorporated in continuously variable transmission (CVT) for bicycles have been providing the best rider experiences since 2006. NuVinci Optimized cycling products include the Nfinity and Harmony group sets, utilizing the latest versions of the transmissions and controllers. Products from NuVinci Cycling, the leader in CVT’s for bikes and ebikes, are available globally in over 100 bicycle brands. For more information, visit www.nuvincicycling.com.

 About Fallbrook Technologies

Fallbrook Technologies is the inventor of the revolutionary NuVinci continuously variable planetary (CVP) technology, which enables performance and efficiency improvements for any machine that uses geared transmission systems – from cars and trucks to industrial equipment to marine applications. Fallbrook, with its unique collective development model and community enables forward looking companies to quickly move from concept to market commercialization. NuVinci Cycling, a division of Fallbrook, has supplied products to the bicycle industry for over a decade. Fallbrook is based in Cedar Park near Austin, Texas, USA and holds rights to over 800 patents and patent applications worldwide. For more information, visit www.fallbrooktech.com.

Press Release by Fallbrook Technologies, Inc.

{Encycle Press Release} Allen Theatres uses EASE as its cross-portfolio HVAC Management System

Encycle Corp. simplifies HVAC operations, saving valuable time while reducing utility bills

San Marcos, CA, Aug 30, 2016 -- Allen Theatres, established in 1912, owns cinemas across New Mexico and Colorado. They were seeking simple solutions to reduce their utility costs and the time required to manage their buildings.

Before Encycle™, Allen Theatres’ IT Department Manager Charles Green drove out to each of the 3 locations near their head office when updating HVAC schedules for special events. Each site used a different HVAC control system, none of which provided remote web access. At some sites, he even had to set thermostats individually.

 In 2010, Allen Theatres installed Encycle at three locations in Las Cruces, NM. Encycle’s EASE (Energy-as-a-Service by Encycle™) provided Mr. Green with more visibility into his HVAC performance than ever before. He now enjoys using EASE’s portal to remotely manage his sites, regardless of variations in HVAC control systems at each site.

 “EASE makes HVAC operation quick and painless while adding thousands of dollars to our bottom line. Encycle’s easy-to-use portal allows me to focus my time on core theatre operations,” said Charles. This past summer, New Mexico experienced over 25 days of +100°F weather. EASE continued to maintain comfort while achieving substantial savings.

 “Theaters continue to be an excellent vertical for EASE, where we consistently demonstrate exceptional IRRs for our customers,” said Bob Chiste, Encycle’s CEO. Due to the success of the initial installations, Allen Theatres rolled out Encycle at eight additional locations. With the most recent full-year savings nearing $50,000, Allen Theaters projects at least a quarter of a million dollars in savings over the next five years.

 About Encycle

 Encycle (www.encycle.com) provides unique benefits to a number of Fortune 500 companies. The Energy-as-a-Service by Encycle (“EASE”) solution maximizes the performance of HVAC systems to save commercial and industrial companies money while reducing their carbon footprint. Based on patented Swarm Logic™ technology, Encycle uses biomimicry techniques to reduce HVAC energy costs, participate in Demand Response programs and gain valuable insight into HVAC performance. EASE is simple and easy to install, optionally integrates with leading IoT solutions, and delivers ROIs that exceed most solar, storage and lighting initiatives.

Encycle's offices are located in Toronto (Canada), San Marcos (California), and Taunton (UK). Encycle, Energy-as-a-Service by Encycle, Swarm Logic, Swarm Energy Management, SwarmStat, and Swarm Logic Open are registered or pending trademarks of Encycle Corporation.

Press Release by Encycle Corporation

{Sustainable Food News} Organic, raw snacks maker launches new brand

Two Moms in the Raw, Inc. has launched a new brand of certified-organic snacks made with raw ingredients called Soul Sprout.

Based in Longmont, Colo., the company's snacks, including organic granola bars, nut bars, almond butter truffles, grain-free cereal and almond crackers, are made with organic, sprouted nuts, seeds and grains that have been soaked in water to activate nutrition-boosting enzymes and make them easier to absorb in the bloodstream.

The snacks also contain organic blueberries, cranberries, golden berries and goji berries, as well as herbs and spices.

The company said sprouted foods are "considered to be gentler on the digestive tract, making them a potentially better option for people who are managing certain health conditions through nutrition." The snacks do not contain gluten, wheat, soy, dairy and sugar.

The variety of products, sold at natural grocers nationwide, Amazon.com and the company's website, include:

  • Sprouted Granola Bars ($5.99 per box of six): Bring on the Blueberry, Cacao Nib Crunch, Cranberry Chia Crunch, Gojiberry Triple Yum-Yum, Sweet-N-Tart Goldenberry
  • Sprouted Nut Bars ($2.39 - $2.69 per bar): Charming Cherry Chocolate, Cranberry Crush, Gotta Getta Gojiberry, Go For Goldenberry, Blueberry Burst, Wow Cacao Nib
  • Sprouted Almond Butter Truffles ($3.39 – $3.69 per unit): Cacao Almond, Cayenne Cacao, Cinnamon-ilicious, Green Tea Vanilla
  • Sprouted Almond Crackers ($6.99 per box): Jive’N Chive & Onion, Sweet on You Graham, Spicy Chipotle Pepper, Zesty Italian Herb
  • Sprouted Grain Free Cereal ($9.99 per box): Original

By Sustainable Food News

{datacenternews.asia} Data center management via single pane-of-glass

Nlyte Software’s new offering provides a single pane-of-glass view across all data center operations including ITSM processes and data center asset management.

The company says Nlyte 8 aims to further bridge the operation gap between IT and facility needs, by providing both organisations a single portal view to share information.

In doing so, Nlyte Software says it optimizes the physical infrastructure and lays the foundation for software defined data centers.

Nlyte 8 enables users to seamlessly move between ITSM solutions, asset lifecycle management details and facilities resources, while viewing historical or live information for current or predictive planning needs.

Other new functionality includes broader and deeper integration with ITSM systems, expanded location metadata, improved data center audit compliance capabilities and improved multi-tenancy.

Nlyte says that software defined data centers create highly virtualized IT environments that depend on the underlying data center infrastructure to be consistent and highly available.

The company adds that without accurate visibility of the assets within the data center, the resources those assets consume, and the changes being made to the overall environment, outages can occur which can negatively affect software defined data center.

Robert Neave, co-founder and CTO of Nlyte Software, says mission-critical facility operators are seeking fully automated software defined data centers, but find it difficult to achieve.

“Nlyte 8 addresses this issue by providing access to all data sources, historically or in real time, that relate to data center operations,” he explains.

“By doing so, Nlyte 8 increases organizations’ operational agility, while meeting the criteria for software defined data centers.”

By Sam Worthington for datacenternews.asia

{Fortune.com} 7 World-Changing Companies to Watch

Startups and small businesses with great problem-solving ideas.

A company doesn’t have to be especially big to have a big impact on the planet. Our On the Cusp list honors smaller companies, creative subsidiaries of bigger ones, and newer ­initiatives—spotting some worthy corporate efforts that may someday change the way you do business. See the companies that did make our Change the World list here.

 West Elm (U.S.)

The Brooklyn-based home-decor company, a unit of Williams-­Sonoma, has made “impact sourcing” its mantra. That means ensuring a living wage—plus a premium for each item they produce—to its global network of artisans and factory workers. West Elm has pledged to make 40% of its product assortment Fair Trade Certified by 2019.

CJ Group (South Korea)

In 2013 the conglomerate gambled that Korean ideals of empowering communities economically would go over well overseas. It focused on Vietnam’s Ninh Thuan village, where CJ taught farmers to grow Korean red chili and refurbished the irrigation system. The result: a great crop and a nearly fivefold increase in farmers’ income.

Revolution Foods (U.S.)

It’s a culinary miracle: Revolution Foods makes school lunches that are junk-free, freshly prepared, and locally made, while staying within public school ­districts’ ultra-tight budgets. The Oakland-based company is now a $125 million business operating in 1,600 schools, and its packaged meals sell in grocery stores in 44 states and via Amazon.

H&M (Sweden)

Earlier this year the retailer and fast-fashion pioneer articulated a startling vision: “100% circularity,” doing business exclusively with renewable energy and materials. Skeptics laughed, but H&M, which has already reduced its environmental footprint, has the size, scale, and cachet to change the clothing industry’s planet-punishing style.

Bit Source (U.S.)

Coal mining and coding have a lot in common, says Bit Source cofounder Charles “Rusty” Justice: “You can’t have bad habits or take shortcuts.” The Pikeville, Ky., company has trained 10 jobless mining veterans in website design and management. It recently landed its first Fortune 500 client—a hopeful sign in hard-pressed Appalachia.

TerraCycle (U.S.)

This Trenton company runs recycling programs for major corporations, turning seemingly unrecyclable goods—Brita filters, cigarette butts, Sharpie pens—into finished products or salable plastics. The $18.8 million business operates in 20 countries and boasts clients like L’Oréal, Procter & Gamble, and Colgate.

Coyote Logistics (U.S.)

It’s the Uber of logistics: The Chicago company’s software connects shippers with a network of 40,000 truckers across North America. The result is more efficient use of vehicles and lower carbon emissions. Now that Coyote has been acquired by UPS, of which it’s now a subsidiary, its impact is likely to be supersized. 

By Matthew Heimer, Erika Fry and Jonathan Chew for Fortune.com

{Project Nosh} Two Moms Gives Birth to Soul Sprout

As competition ratchets up for many of the niche brands founded in the early wave of natural products, the choice today is either innovate or become irrelevant. Such is the case with snack brand Two Moms in the Raw, which after 10 years is relaunching as Soul Sprout.

It’s not just a new name, however: the brand also has new leadership team, new formulation and new goal of appealing to a more mainstream consumer.

Matt Fuller, the former president of Bare Snacks, is now running the company as CEO. Fuller joined as an advisor in Spring 2015 at the behest of then-minority investor NGEN and the leadership team (which has since mostly departed). In the fourth quarter, NGEN also increased its investment in the company, becoming the majority shareholder.

The former husband and wife team that started the brand, Shari and Greg Leidich, are no longer involved in day-to-day operations but remain as minority shareholders. Shari Leidich departed the brand early this year before Expo West.

“I was very excited to remain part of the company, but the company was just going in a different direction and vision,” Leidich said. “It was time for me to step down and start a new venture.”

The recent changes started roughly two years ago, when the company decided to cut product sizes in order to drop the unit price. The resulting stocking issues (due to new UPC codes) and loss of sales were a struggle for the brand to overcome.

The decision was made to grow sales by changing the company direction. Now the brand is ready to make its new debut — no longer as a gluten-free specialty brand, but a brand for all health conscious consumers.

“My intention was really to fill in a niche and it just happened that this niche crossed over into conventional and a mainstream palate. But it was always a niche,” said Leidich. “This team wants to make it much more mainstream and accessible…which is very exciting.”

The new name, said Fuller, conveys the sprouted benefits and should appeal to a broader range of consumers. Unlike its previous moniker which was found to be confusing and alienated some male consumers.

“What we really wanted to focus on was what was really impactful,” said Fuller. “The fact that we are plant-powered, organic, great tasting snacks that are sprouted, that’s the real powerful message.”

Choosing to focus on sprouted and plant-based was a strategic choice. “There are a lot of health benefits that get bandied about in the natural world,” Rosemary Ripley, Managing Director at NGEN said, “We wanted to make sure, as we invested more into their new brand, that there were real, not just perceived, health benefits in sprouted.”

With a new focus, the product is also shifting where it’s merchandised. Several retailers, including Whole Foods, have done away with their raw sets and Soul Sprout will now be on shelf in traditional sets. There will be more competition for the brand, but also more exposure.

Although there have been formulation and processing changes to improve taste and texture, the brand is staying true to using “low and slow” heat to remove moisture but keep nutritional benefits.

Soul Sprout is launching with all of the same product skus that were under the Two Moms brand. Because pack size and products aren’t changing, the brand was also able to keep the same retailers and UPC codes to avoid more stocking issues.

The shift, said Fuller, has been met with a positive response, and that it has landed retailers that wouldn’t have stocked the older brand. If ”One of the new retailers is Barnes and Noble College bookstores, where Fuller says the brand will be able to get in front of millennial consumers.

For its loyal fans though, Fuller says not to worry, it’s just the next evolution of their beloved brand. 

“We’re continuing on the mission that was started 10 years ago,” Fuller said. “That nutritional component, we’re not going away from that. That legacy doesn’t go away just because the business is evolving. We’re true to that.”

By Carol Ortenberg for Project Nosh