Plenty - Great Margins in Near Perfect Competition

Nov 26 2018

I have been following Plenty ever since their series C. They are a company using technology-controlled hydroponics to grow super-organic produce in vertical towers, inside. Super-organic is their term meaning they don’t use any pesticides, chemicals, and treat the plants so well. They are 530 times as efficient with square-footage as a typical farm. They are even able to control the exact flavor by adjusting various levels of different nutrients delivered to the plants.

What is interesting as they can achieve incredible margins with two customer bases: regular produce purchasers like grocery sotres, restaurants, etc and similar players but those that want the highest quality of foods. The latter, like high-end restauarnts, will pay a significantly higher price to get access to this significantly controlled and organic food.

The second is what I would call the standard type of customer in tech. There is a customer that is not currently getting what they want or paying way too much. And company X is quickly able to grab them because of the increase in quality, decrease in cost, or both.

What is more rare for tech companies to have customers that really do not care whom the product comes from. Not to say it never happens, but it is less common. In this case there are many customers willing to pay market price for organic produce or even regular produce. Plenty will happily snatch these customers up because they can produce produce for a much lower cost, making a healthy margin.

And what makes this even more perfect is the growing need for food. By the 2030’s we need 50% more food and farmland is shrinking. So these customers are growing, supply is shrinking, and Plenty is setup for a bright future. I truly admire their model.