AURI Connects: Fields of Innovation Innovator Profiles is a Q&A series with Minnesota entrepreneurs who have partnered with AURI to build capacity and successfully commercialize new crop and livestock opportunities, including new traits for existing crops.
Q&A with Clayton Mooney, Co-Founder/CEO at Clayton Farms
AURI: For those who may not be familiar, what should people know about your business/product?
CM: At Clayton Farms (formerly Nebullam) we build direct-to-consumer indoor farms. We’re a Y Combinator-backed company, and we own the supply chain; from seeding through delivery to someone’s doorstep.
AURI: How did you start your business?
CM: We originally started in 2017 with a focus on designing and building indoor farming equipment and the software needed to operate that equipment. We were focused on equipping new and expanding indoor farms with our technology. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, we pivoted to becoming the farm ourselves, which forced us to build our own fulfillment stack. Today, we own the supply chain and have the means to launch hundreds of our farms to serve consumers with healthy, local food delivered year-round to their doorsteps.
AURI: What is your production/creative process like?
CM: Every team member, no matter if they’re engineering, production or subscriber success, learns additional day-to-day processes from their teammates. This experience allows us to have respect for each other’s positions and responsibilities. Everyone on our team has also completed door stickers and deliveries.
AURI: What does success look like for you?
CM: Growing what people want. If we continue to listen to and make note of what our subscribers want, we have the opportunity to become America’s largest farm, distributed.
AURI: Was there ever a time when you wanted to quit? If so, how did you overcome?
CM: Start-ups are not for everyone and there is no room for perfectionism. We’ve survived literal floods and fires, thousands of investors pointing out why this won’t work and even the loss of team members. If the mission and vision are large enough, you keep going—hopefully with both grit and gratitude along the way.
AURI: How do you see your business growing?
CM: By being vertically integrated and having built technology that scales, we’re able to cookie cutter what we have in both Iowa and Minnesota, and replicate it in hundreds of other locations. By the end of 2023, we’ll have expanded into several other states.
AURI: How can AURI’s readers and supporters purchase your products, connect with your business online and/or help your business thrive?