U.S.: Amazon veteran joins indoor farming startup

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U.S.: Amazon veteran joins indoor farming startup

A young U.S. agricultural startup, Bowery Farming, got a big boost last month when it poached Brian Donato, a veteran of Amazon's automation efforts, Bloomberg reports.

Donato will oversee Bowery's indoor farm in Kearny, New Jersey, where the company grows leafy greens.

During his seven years at Amazon, Donato managed Amazon fulfillment centers and most recently ran Amazon Home Services. Before that he directed operations for the Amazon Fresh and Pantry food delivery services. 

Bowery's heavily automated process reminds Donato of the fulfillment systems he implemented at Amazon, where he was part of the team that integrated robots into the human workforce, Bloomberg reports

Bowery's indoor farm is controlled by proprietary software called BoweryOS, which uses a web of cameras and sensors to automatically tinker with inputs.

Besides running the existing farm, Donato will reportedly help Bowery Farming set up automated facilities on the outskirts of cities. This summer, he’ll launch Bowery's second grow house which is close to the current operation in Kearny and 30 times the size of the original farm. 

So far, Bowery sells its own brand of kale, arugula, butter lettuce and herbs to Whole Foods and a few restaurants. The greens are only available in New York City.

Bowery has raised US$27.5 million since launching in 2017. Firms piling in include General Catalyst, First Round Capital and Alphabet's venture arm, GGV Capital.


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