SKY’S THE LIMIT: Renzo Rosso likes it green.
Through his family investment company Red Circle Investments, the entrepreneur has acquired a stake in Planet Farms, an Italian company focused on vertical farming, an innovative system that enables the cultivation of food crops by planting in vertically stacked layers in order to save space and use minimal energy and water for irrigation.
Founded by business partners Luca Travaglini and Daniele Benatoff, Planet Farms operates Europe’s largest vertical farm, which is located in Cavenago, in the outskirts of Milan. The farm is also the old continent’s most advanced in terms of technology and automation, being able to produce salads and aromatic herbs by using 95 and 90 percent less water and soil, respectively, compared to traditional farming. In addition, Planet Farms — which was awarded by Confagricoltura, one of Italy’s most important farming associations, with the national prize for innovative farming — doesn’t employ any chemicals, including pesticides and herbicides.
“I personally find the world of farming very fascinating,” Rosso said. “If farming was previously considered something very traditional, today it is deeply linked to the world of technology and innovation.”
This is not Red Circle Investments’ first venture in the field. From 2015 to 2020, the company controlled a 26 percent stake in organic grocery store chain NaturaSì. Currently, Red Circle Investments owns a stake in food-tech company Cortilia, as well in high-end wine company Masi Agricoltura.
“We are exploring other opportunities in this world, since I’m very into everything organic, sustainable and high quality,” Rosso said.
Red Circle Investments is active in a range of other sectors, including eyewear with stakes in Retrosuperfuture and Marcolin, and hospitality, where it controls the Miami Beach hotel The Pelican and Cortina’s historic Ancora hotel. Red Circle Investments also has a stake in London’s Chiltern Firehouse Hotel and has recently opened a lodge at the Diesel Farm in the Veneto region. Other investments include reselling app Depop, Med-tech companies TechWald and Colmmune, as well as WOW Technology, a firm that developed an innovative water purification system.