MAYAGÜEZ, Puerto Rico, April 16, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- It's an intelligent impact investment opportunity with a socially conscious and serious punch, and it's opened its arms to investors who want to own a piece of a hurricane-protected, aquaponics vertical farm.
For the past year, husband-and-wife business partners Kendell Lang and Lisa Jander have worked tirelessly through government bureaucracy, the language barrier and the tendency for things to grind along at "island time" in Puerto Rico to get their startup to germinate and put down roots. Now, with milestone after milestone under their belts, Kendell and Lisa are presenting investors with a unique opportunity to contribute positively to the environment and help Puerto Rico rebuild itself after the devastating landfall of Hurricane Maria in September 2017, all the while benefiting from fund capital gains reduction and deferrals.
It's called Fusion Farms, a hurricane-protected, indoor, controlled environment aquaponics farm model that leverages the natural relationship between fish and vegetation to grow a quality, fresh and reliable source of non-GMO, pesticide-free, all-natural proteins and greens. This is particularly needed in Puerto Rico because it is estimated that the island imports upwards of 95 percent of its fresh produce, which, after weeks of travel, is not so fresh and not very nutritious when it arrives.
Learn more about Controlled Environment Aquaponics.
The model can be applied anywhere, but Fusion Farms' "secret sauce" is its location inside one of the many unused Puerto Rico Industrial Development Company (PRIDCO) buildings that pepper the island. The Pilot Project is in the Mayagüez district of Western Puerto Rico. These steel-reinforced concrete structures have withstood the ravages of hurricane season in the Caribbean, making them the perfect facility to house an indoor farming operation. And with farming encouraged in Puerto Rico – farming that is sheltered from even the most wrathful of storms – Fusion Farms aims to establish the island's food sovereignty, vastly reduce its reliance on imports, encourage local commerce and agriculture, and restore fresh, healthy, locally grown produce to grocery store shelves.
"Importing is expensive and the final product lacks the labeled nutrient value," says Lisa Jander. "All those food miles also contribute immensely to the condition of the produce when it arrives. There are thousands of farmers and ancillary service providers that have taken a hit or even lost their jobs due to hurricane damage. Fusion Farms is here to contribute to Puerto Rico's food sovereignty, to give the people back their jobs and to encourage prosperity on the island."
This is an impact investment with a socially conscious, renewable energy, sustainable agriculture focus and a heart.
A unique investment opportunity
And now: the brains. The startup is offering investors a smart investment opportunity with a bevy of attractive benefits, many of which stem from the startup being in a Qualified Opportunity Zone and a Qualified Small Business Stock.
"We are a Qualified Opportunity Zone investment, as well as a Qualified Small Business Stock, both of which have tremendous capital gains tax benefits for investors," says Kendell Lang. "Additionally, investors can work directly with us without having to deal with a third-party administrator, which gives them the benefit of the capital gains reduction and deferrals without the overhead/management fees that fund managers charge.
"In other words, investor dollars go further with us than with non-self qualified investments."
Another attractive aspect of Fusion Farms' equity investment opportunity is that it is being presented through an Online Public Offering. This eliminates the middleman and the pressures and costs associated with having an investment banker or broker sell and manage the opportunity for investors. Everything potential investors need to see is presented on Fusion Farms' Campaign Page and if they like it, they can go right ahead and invest. But this also means that investors have to take action so they don't miss out when the offering closes.
The demand for what Fusion Farms is setting out to do is enormous and has been confirmed by several local food distributors and hospitality businesses. Lisa Jander provides an example of just one agricultural product that's in demand.
"We have upscale hotels, bars and restaurants on the island begging for fresh mint because Puerto Rico's iconic drink is the mojito; you cannot make a mojito without mint," says Lisa. "What's currently available is expensive or wild-grown, limited in supply and isn't great quality, yet these establishments don't have much of a choice. If we can supply a dependable, fresh, local source of mint, we could support a large part of the tourism market."
Fusion Farms' outlook on fresh produce
Fusion Farms' choice of agricultural products reflects the need for crops that are in high local demand, grow easily and prolifically, and are considered valuable, such as basil, butter lettuce, microgreens, cilantro, mint and whole Tilapia fish. Year two would provide the opportunity for Fusion Farms to reconfirm market demand for its existing agricultural products while exploring the feasibility of expanding this portfolio. This could happen initially with the planting of fruit trees. Year three could see the introduction of strawberries, green beans, Swiss chard, peppers and tomatoes.
"Our diversification is attractive to investors who might otherwise worry about their investment if anything were to go wrong with, for example, the lettuce crop," explains Kendell Lang. "Our plan offers diversity, stability and market flexibility."
A specific strategy and interesting twist to Fusion Farms' ultimate business plan is Kendell and Lisa's intention to apply for a Value Added Producer Grant for the purchase of equipment to extract essential oils from herbs, such as basil and mint, as an additional revenue stream. These oils are not only considered a highly valuable commodity but, more important to investors, they also qualify Fusion Farms as an Act 20 company under the Export Services Act.
Act 20 provides tax incentives for companies that establish and expand their export services businesses in Puerto Rico. Under Act 20, income from eligible services rendered for the benefit of non-resident individuals or foreign entities (Export Services Income, or EIS) is taxed at a reduced tax rate of four percent. Moreover, dividends or benefits distributed out of EIS are 100 percent exempt from Puerto Rico taxation.
This means that all of Fusion Farms' revenues derived from export sales would be tax-free.
"If there's uncertainty or price fluctuation in the local markets for basil or mint, we have a multi-tiered alternate plan model," says Kendell. "We can sell fresh farm-to-table leafy green vegetables, turn excess basil into pesto, excess mint into mint jelly and both into essential oils."
The whole package
With its keen environmental awareness, warm social conscience, sharp and comprehensive business plan and numerous investment benefits, it's clear that Fusion Farms presents the investment community with an opportunity with brains and heart, while Kendell and Lisa's fierce determination and ambition prove they have guts.
About Fusion Farms
Fusion Farms PR is CEA farming, which allows crops to grow faster all year round in a hurricane-protected, climate-controlled indoor facility, using less water and minimal labor, while eliminating crop failures. Fusion Farms, in the beautiful Mayagüez district of Western Puerto Rico, is the ideal location to use an existing PRIDCO facility to grow mint, basil, cilantro, heirloom tomatoes and leafy green vegetables, which are in high local and organic demand.
Kendell Lang, CEO
Fusion Farms - First Hurricane-Protected Vertical Farm In Puerto Rico
Front door to the First Hurricane-Protected Vertical Farm In Puerto Rico
Fusion Farms - Qualified Opportunity Zone Investment
Fusion Farms is both a Qualified Opportunity Zone Investment and a Qualified Small Business Stock.
SOURCE Fusion Farms