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50 Best Companies to Watch 2019

Vertical Living Wall will bring back greenery to the urban jungle: Vertical Field

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Greenery is an integral part of our biosphere that supports the sustenance of life. However, urbanization and overpopulation have completely depleted greenery, turning our cities into the concrete wilderness. There is an immediate need to conserve the already existing greenery as well as promote the growth of new plants for the betterment of the planet. The greenery creates a positive impact on people, and it absorbs polluted air spreads purity. Planting more greenery will promote relaxation and act as a stress reliever. Catastrophic global warming effects can be reversed with the help of greenery and is essential for preserving the planet.

The majority of the greenery was lost due to fast-paced urbanization, but the newer constructions can be used in balancing and maintaining greenery. An Israel based company called Vertical field has come up with a solution to promote urban greenery and create a sustainable ecosystem. The company is focused on creating a vertical living wall by using cutting edge technology.

In conversation with Guy Elitzur, CEO of Vertical field

Q. Why was the company set up? And how did you expand your company and its offerings over the years?

The company was established by Guy Bar-ness in 2006, based on his personal passion and ambition to restore the role of nature in the urban lifestyle. Over time, he developed a unique proprietary Active Living Walls (ALW) solution, which uses technology to interact with both the indoor and outdoor environments in order to improve human health and environmental conditions in city settings. Gradually over the years, the ALW shifted from being just a beautiful landscape feature to an effective tool in the improvement of conditions to support human health (i.e., air purification) and environmental aspects (i.e., lowering building temperatures, UV blocking, practical solutions for Sick Building Syndrome and more).

Q. How successful was your first project roll on? Share the experience.

Our first big project was the installation of a huge ALW (almost a square acre!) on top of the building of one of the leading corporate enterprises in the country. The project came with its own challenges, due to the complexity of the project, its size, the integration of other technologies (such as recycling of gray water), safety regulations, city landscaping laws and more. After a few months of planning and installation, the project was recognized as one of the most beautiful buildings in the country.

Q. Any company, big or small, must have a sense of authenticity and originality to succeed, is your company a ‘leader’ or a ‘follower.

We consider our company to be a leader. We develop our products in a way that brings innovation to places where it is sorely needed, and our solutions differ from all our competitors in terms of added value and cost. We achieve this by truly understanding our customers’ needs, and their customers’ needs, with an emphasis on creativity and high service orientation. Keeping an open and direct line of communication with our customers at all stages helps to ensure continued satisfaction and market leadership.

Q. How do you maintain the wall consistently?

When working with plants and nature, it is vital that they are maintained with their integrity protected at all times. The client wants to see a living wall that is always beautiful, and for that, the plants must remain healthy and vigorous throughout the growing cycle. This was the main trigger that led us to develop our unique software system that reduces the need for ongoing maintenance and creates timely advance alerts. In this way, we apply a preventive solution that ensures high performance of the plants the entire time.

Q. Fostering a culture of feedback is crucial to the success of every organization. How is this true with your company?

That is definitely true. When you see your customers as long-term partners, you will naturally value their feedback, and everything becomes an opportunity for improvement. Often, it is customer feedback and even complaints that drive the evolution of new ideas and innovations. Our culture of openness has led to the development of new features of our technology, which would not otherwise have matured if not for our customers’ feedback.

Q. How do you keep your company up and running? What are the factors that help your company to compete on a global platform?

We genuinely have a team of people who know what they do out of a personal passion and agenda to help the environment and make our planet a better place to live. Whether it is the food we consume, the air we breathe or our environmental footprint, for us it is not just a livelihood - it is a way of living.

Q. Do you have any new products ready to be launched?

Yes, soon, we are launching our VboX®. It is a portable farm built in a recycled shipping container. It can be located anywhere and is capable of growing and distributing more than 200 different crops. We place the VboX® near a supermarket store, in the parking lot of a restaurant, or on top of a hotel’s roof, with our technology the customers can easily grow hundreds of different crops that can be harvested and served on the same day. The produce is fresh, healthy, with zero pesticides and super tasty. Vbox® uses 90% less water than conventional agricultural methods and consumes less electricity than any other vertical farming solution.

Guy Elitzur, CEO of Vertical Field

Guy joined Vertical Field as Chief Executive Officer, bringing in his vast experience in executive management and strategic roles. Before joining Vertical Field, Guy acted as the CEO of STK Bio-ag Technologies (STK) and a member of the company’s board of directors. During his tenure, Guy led STK’s fundraising process, which culminated in raising $90 million in return for a majority stake. As part of his role, Guy oversaw the corporate direction and strategy of STK, focusing on delivering innovative biological products to the global sustainable agriculture and aquaculture markets. He led significant growth in sales while entering new markets and developing new growth engines for STK in the global agriculture space. Before joining STK, Guy held senior executive positions in private and public companies.

Guy is a CPA with a Master of Laws degree from Bar-llan University.

“Vertical Field aims to lead the transformation of the urban ecosystem by integrating the values of nature with human life. We develop and market proprietary natural-based solutions that improve environmental and health conditions for city residents and provide solutions for urban agricultural needs.”