circle17 Alumni


About the team

We, farmNOW, believe in the right of all urbanites to grow food within 1 km from home sustainably to improve their health, the climate and quality of life in cities.

With (VF/Ag/IoT) Technology that maximises taste, the joy of sharing modern farm infrastructure and a reduction of space, effort and knowledge barriers we make farming as easy as eating.

Urbanites can rent plug & play, ready2grow space in our inner-urban Shared Grätzlfarms and in shared rooftop Microfarms (on residential buildings), or just subscribe to a share of the harvest.

Between these shared farms, we build a data driven hyper-local food production ecosystem that like an “AirBnB of vertical Farm space” delivers the world’s first Farming-as-A-Service Platform.


circle17’s Impacthon was a fantastic experience: starting with interesting challenges, to the highly diverse participants, the world class workshop moderations/meeting logistics to the mentors/coaches it was a revelation – and while really intensive we can recommend it to any person who’s thinking about starting a social impact venture.

This goes also for the structured, both effective and efficient coaching process between December and February, during which we could meet with leading subject matter experts – some of which in fact have become our Advisors!

While we lost 2 of 3 initial Team members given the challenging nature of starting up a highly ambitious social/ecological impact project, the network & resources provided by circle17 were extremely helpful in identifying and selecting team additions (we’ve grown to a team of 16 experts).

A highlight was the concluding Matchmaking day in March, that was organised to perfection by circle17. Kudo’s to the circle17 Team for attracting such a high quality of interested corporate participants. As a Team we had more then 10 meetings, half of which led based on concrete interest to (ongoing) follow-up conversations with key players in the real estate, retail, mobility and advertising markets.

Header: (c) via Unsplash

Pictures: (c) FarmNow

Specify the problem you are trying to solve: 

The Problem we’re tackling is a “3-headed snake” that bites in our and our planet’s wellbeing:

  • Globally 80% of food is consumed in cities, where however only 10% are produced. This imbalance contributes to 1/3 of GHG emissions while polluting cities, jamming streets to reduce quality of life for urbanites.
  • City residents of all ages, but in particular younger ones increasingly lose their connection to nature and their food, don’t know anymore where it comes from or how it’s produced. The predominant fast food culture in turn makes us overweight, obese and increasingly sick.
  • Covid has increased the fast growing number of people in cities who want to grow their own food close to where they live – but can’t, because of a lack of space, knowledge or resources. Cities don’t provide public accessible space and/or modern shared farming infrastructure.
Describe your proposed solution:

We’re all about democratizing the benefits of vertical farming by making its many benefits available for all urbanites. We employ aquaponic farms that connect a modern fish aquaculture in a loosely connected system with hydroponic plant growth in vertical layers.

In our modular, scalable Grätzlfarm up to 200 parallel users can grow their own food in what is a net zero, energy positive glasshouse. On a small scale (rooftop) Microfarms are designed for residential buildings to enable 8-16 residents growing hyperlocal fresh food without even leaving their house.

To make farming as easy as eating we offer plug & play vertical “lots” with various ready2grow modules to grow up to 120 different crops without upfront invest for expensive space and technical equipment.

A central booking platform allows users to personalize their experience by adding their personal profile, preferred crops, their grow history, or just to connect with other urban farmers.

The all-inclusive rent package provides 24/7 access to our farms, that are data driven, IoT/AI enhanced to ensure automated irrigation, lightening and climate control. Users enjoy flexible monthly billing for grow space, modules, technical infrastructure and their chosen services, without long term commitment.

Employing modern precision farming, IoT sensors, cameras and accentuators and the operating farm SW enable us to optimize individual plant growth. Full connectivity means that each plant space, each grow cycle improves the overall quality in what is learning farm-eco system.

Our Farming-as-a-Service supports urban farmers from seed 2 plate including

– an interactive “space2harvest” planning aid

– easy 5 click registration/booking on,

– full growth service whereby we do the job for users who just come to pick up the harvest

– Video (plant) grow tutorials that turn even beginners in no time into a proficient farmer

– On-Site coaching (at the Grätzlfarms only) from our trained staff and Chief Farm Guru.

– an innovative e-service bundle including (1) plant live video stream so users can check on their plants anytime from anywhere via smartphone, (2) grow lot individual Carbon/Water Footprint measurement and (3) biometric plant monitoring (i.e. ph/ec value, humidity, temperature, etc.)  

Each Grätzlfarm has also a Shop and a Bar so users and their guests can enjoy smoothies, bowls and salads with daily harvested ingredients. A weekend Farmers Market and a virtual marketplace lets users sell their surplus harvest or buy from other urban farmers.

At farmNOW community training/education/cooking events the urban farmer community can connect and make new, likeminded friends.

Team Members

Mag. Alexander Juranek, Founder & Product Owner

Alexander has worked successfully 10 years in senior Sales & Marketing roles at Coca-Cola across 25 countries, but also founded 6 start-ups. He’s been developing vertical farming concepts for 2,5 years amongst others TEENS4GREENS an innovative CEA & education platform designed for schools.

Dipl.-Ing. Susanne Formanek, Co-Founder

Susanne is also the Co-Founder/CEO of “Grünstattgrau” (our strategic partner) and a leading expert in green buildings and the implementation of nature-based solutions.

Yuliya Salanenka PHD, Co-Founder

Yuliya is farmNOW’s Chief Plant Officer. A top plant physiologist who has worked with leading scientific institutions like Cornell University, focussing on seeds, seed germination and optimal grow environments.

Mag.arch.Dr.techn. Daniel Podmirseg, Co-Founder

Daniel is farmNOW’s Chief Farm Designer is founder/owner of the “vertical farm institute” (our project partner), a leading vertical farm expert/R&D company. His farm design ensures that our farms will be energy positive and carbon neutral whilst delivering a captivating urban farming experience.

Dipl. Ing. Nicole Tuyen Nguyen, Co-Founder

Nicole is farmNOW’s Creative Director, and heads up the Business development in UK. She’ a successful architect, project manager and a leading butterfly breeder with rich experience in soil-based farming.

Roland Sier, BSc

Roland is farmNOW’s Head of Farm Operations who will be leading our Vienna Grätzlfarm. He’s a world class plant grower and plant nutrition specialist he has worked in farms from LA to Cyprus specialising in hydroponic farming.

Nermina Terzic

Nermina is farmNOW’S Chief Financial Officer and Head of Investors Relations. She’s a successful career diplomat and finance director, and is in charge of farmNOW’s finance, planning and investor relations.

Mohammed Haji, MSc

Mohammed has a Masters Degree in Natural Resources Management and Ecological Engineering and is farmNOW’s Head of Microfarm Operations, and focuses on the optimum temperature control management.

Lida Moldovan

Lida is farmNOW’s Head of Community & Social Media. She’s a top communication talent, focusing on unique, user centric storytelling that captures the hearts & minds of our urban farmer community.

Lukasz Gontarek

Lukasz is farmNOW’s Head of Business Development and will build our operations in Poland. He’s a serial Entrepreneur with a successful track record in developing SaaS-based IT-systems and a strategic Marketing wizard.

Mag. Daniela Hinteregger, Advisor

Daniela is farmNOW’s Advisor for Process Design & System Integration. She’s also a top communication/Social Media talent and supports our team in developing an efficient and effective organisation.

Mag. Patrick Würschl, Advisor

Patrick is farmNOW’s Sustainability Advisor. He supports our team with his entrepreneurial experience – that includes having co-founded an insect farm start-up, and capacity in sustainable business modelling.

Mag. Franziska Graf, Advisor

Franziska is farmNOW’s Advisor for User Community Engagement & Co-Creation. She’s Co-Founder of Circular Co-Creation and focuses on advising clients in circular economy implementation projects.

Mag. Christopher Hauff, Advisor

Christopher is farmNOW’s Advisor for Business Strategy & Communication. He’s a serial entrepreneur focussing on sustainability/the SDG’s and supports our team in optimizing internal/external communication.

Strategic Partners

  • Peter Neudecker, founder of “Andersfarm” & PROAquaponik is a leading aquaponic expert in Europe who has planned/built 50+ aquaponic farms.
  • Henry Gordon-Smith, founder of Agritecture the globally leading controlled-environment agriculture consultancy
  • Marco Tidona, founder of Aponix, a leading vendor of Lego-like hydroponic grow modules
  • Zero Waste Austria (
  • BothofUS, a tech-led impact consultancy (
  • Eaternity, leader in LCA data based ecologic footprint metrics (
  • Conda/Zero21” a leading crowd-investment platform in D/A/CH (