Grocery Industry Icons & Innovators
Founder & CEO
Irving Fain leads Bowery Farming, the largest vertical farming company in the United States. He founded the company in 2015 with a mission to reimagine farming from the ground up. Under his leadership, the team built the BoweryOS—its proprietary operating system which integrates software, hardware, AI and robotics to orchestrate and automate the entirety of operations—which enables its farms to grow traceable produce at 100 times the rate of traditional agriculture with far less water, land and waste, and no pesticides. The BoweryOS collects billions of data points that would take traditional farmers hundreds of years to collect, ensuring each harvest is better than the one before.
Irving founded Bowery as a way to solve hard problems for the common good. Some of the world’s most pressing issues, including climate change, food waste, nutrition, food safety, and food access, are at the core of Bowery’s business, and by scaling Bowery’s successful economic model, Irving is also able to incite real change in communities and for the planet. For example, Irving has improved people’s access to fresh food by making Bowery’s produce available across the economic spectrum, at a range of retailers and through community-oriented nonprofits.
Business leaders across industries have taken notice of what he is building. Irving has raised $472 million to date from institutional and venture capital investors and leaders from both culinary and agricultural fields. The consulting firm EY named Irving its 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year in New York. Goldman Sachs has picked him for its Builders & Innovators Award three years in a row. Media outlets like The Wall Street Journal and Business Insider repeatedly place Irving and Bowery on lists of top innovative startups and climate-tech industry leaders. His passion for reinventing agriculture and our fresh food supply chain through technology has attracted top talent in engineering, plant science, sales, marketing, supply chain, technology, AI and more to the company.
Irving is a founding member of the Controlled Environmental Agriculture (CEA) Food Safety Coalition, which is developing a food safety standard for indoor farms. He also sits on the Leadership Council of Tech:NYC, where he helps connect tech and civic communities throughout New York City. He has forged long-term partnerships between Bowery and a half dozen nonprofits that work towards food justice and to help make sure that all Americans can access nourishing food.
Before founding Bowery, Irving was the co-founder and CEO of CrowdTwist, a venture-backed loyalty marketing SaaS business which worked with brands like PepsiCo, L’Oreal, Nestle, and Tom’s Shoes amongst many others. CrowdTwist was acquired by Oracle for over $100 million. Prior to CrowdTwist, Irving ran a division within Clear Channel Online focused on moving the largest radio group in the world into the digital age. While there, Irving built, launched, and ran iHeartRadio with a small team; today iHeartRadio has more than 120 million monthly users. Irving began his career helping early-stage companies raise capital as an investment banker at Citigroup. He graduated from Brown University with a B.A. in English.