Bowery Farming appoints former Google exec as CTO

By Mary Ellen Shoup

- Last updated on GMT

Photo Credit: Bowery Farming
Photo Credit: Bowery Farming

Related tags vertical farming Sustainability Leafy greens

New York City-based vertical farming company, Bowery Farming, has appointed former Google Internet of Things (IoT) VP and general manager, Injong Rhee, as its new chief technology officer (CTO) responsible for accelerating the integration of proprietary smart farming technology across the company's growing network of farms.

Rhee will report to Bowery Farming​ CEO and founder, Irving Fain, who established the company in 2015. 

“Injong is a tech powerhouse, with more than three decades of experience developing successful products at the intersection of software and hardware systems, which ties directly to the work we’re doing at Bowery with the BoweryOS,"​ said Fain.

“His technical expertise, leadership and deep passion for reinventing agriculture using technology will further accelerate our business growth and momentum as we continue to scale.”

Rhee, who previously served as Google’s vice president and general manager of IoT as well as CTO and head of engineering at Samsung Mobile, said it has been a lifelong goal to join a purpose-driven company and make a meaningful difference in people's live through the power of technology. 

“Agriculture sits at the crux of many of the world’s most pressing challenges, from climate change to food insecurity and population growth. Bowery is building a global business with world-class technology and human ingenuity at its core, revolutionizing how food is grown, in a more efficient, scalable and sustainable way,”​ said Rhee. 

Bowery Farming has been building an indoor farming system powered by its proprietary technology platform, BoweryOS, which integrates software, hardware, sensors, computer vision systems, machine learning models, and robotics to automate the entirety of its operations.

The company has also raised more than $172.5m in funding from institutional investors including Temasek and GV (formerly Google Ventures), General Catalyst, GGV Capital, First Round Capital, Henry Kravis, Jeff Wilke, and Dara Khosrowshahi, as well as food industry thought leaders in food, including Tom Colicchio, José Andres, and David Barber of Blue Hill.

Baltimore Grow Room
A growing room at Bowery Farm's Baltimore, Maryland, indoor vertical farming facility.

BoweryOS ensures that the company’s farms are more than 100 times more productive than a comparable square foot of traditional farmland, and that its crops grow more than two times faster than in the field while using a fraction of the water and land.  

According to Bowery Farm's, Rhee's appointment comes at a pivotal time in the company's growth. Last year, the company registered 600% sales growth in brick-and-mortar retailers and quadrupled its growth on e-commerce, including on Amazon. 

The company currently sells its products (leafy greens and herbs) to more than 700 grocery stores and is on track to expand to more than 1,000 in the coming months.

To meet skyrocketing demand, Bowery is building its largest and "most technologically-advanced farm yet"​ in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, which will expand its reach throughout the East Coast, said the company. 

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