Since 2011, Lorenz Wyss has been overseeing the Bell Food Group as Chief Executive Officer, leading an international food company with more than 12,000 employees. Initially known for producing meat, the company now offers a wide range of convenience products and plant-based meat alternatives. The Eisberg food company, part of the Bell Food Group, already serves as YASAI’s nationwide distribution partner.
The Bell Food Group has now invested an undisclosed amount in YASAI’s convertible loan round via Eisberg to fuel the startup’s scaling phase and strengthen its position in the vertical farming market. Wyss will also join Yasai’s board of directors, bringing his industry expertise.
Additionally, the startup welcomed Theo Stolze from the Stolze Group to its board to benefit from his extensive knowledge of novel farming technologies. The group specialises in tailored, technical solutions for greenhouse systems and has been in business for more than 50 years. As export director of the Stolze Group for over 30 years, he led the Dutch company to international success. Stolze has also invested in the startup.
High ambitions and growing demand
The two industry veterans and the capital increase aligns with Yasai’s growth ambitions. Established three years ago, the Zurich-based startup has become Switzerland’s leading vertical farming player. Having constructed two additional industrial farms, the company plans to set up another farm integrated into a residential area in the coming years to scale up production. Aiming to make Zurich a flagship location for integrated Vertical farming in 2016, the startup is transforming the residential quarter ‘Lymhof’ in Schlieren into a vertical farm hotspot, providing residents with hyper-locally grown herbs and leafy greens. Inhabitants will be able to order their customised produce via an app. The new business model is an alternative sales channel to traditional ones. “We will explore more on the new sales channel through this project”, says Mark Essam Zahran, co-founder and CEO of Yasai.
With the announced developments, the startup anticipates reaching a tenfold increase in its production capacity to meet constantly growing demand and expand its product portfolio with its trade partners.