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Leading Ag Tech Startup Iron Ox Brings on First Vice President of People

Leading Ag Tech Startup Iron Ox Brings on First Vice President of People image

  • Claudia Fulga joins as Vice President of People (previously at Five Stars)
  • Iron Ox is expanding its intellectual property portfolio in robotics, plant science and artificial intelligence to scale up production and make the global agriculture sector carbon negative
  • After closing a $53M funding round, the startup is accelerating its efforts to hire plant scientists, engineers, greenhouse operators, and roboticists to join dynamic teams in California and Texas.

SAN CARLOS, Calif., October 5, 2021 — Iron Ox, a farming innovation company with deep expertise in plant science, robotics and artificial intelligence, announced today that it has hired Claudia Fulga as its first Vice President of People. 

Reporting directly to the Iron Ox CEO and serving as a member of the company’s senior executive team, Fulga will oversee recruitment, retention, employee engagement, compensation and HR operations. Iron Ox will be making more senior executive hires in the upcoming months as the company scales up operations.

Iron Ox, which launched autonomous farming in 2018, grows produce in proprietary greenhouses designed from the ground up to mitigate the environmental impacts of agriculture — a data-driven approach backed by plant science, robotics and artificial intelligence. 

The closed-loop system optimizes plant yield, expands growth cycles and maximizes crop quality. The result is delicious, nutritious, locally sourced fruits and vegetables with substantially lower environmental impacts. 

Iron Ox operates farms in Northern California and earlier this year broke ground on a 535,000-square-foot indoor farm in Lockhart, Texas. Its produce can be found throughout California at Whole Foods and at San Francisco Bay Area markets such as Bianchini’s and Mollie Stone’s. Sales outside of California are expected to begin by the holidays with the first harvest from the new Texas facility.

Mentor, founder, leader for Silicon Valley startups 

Fulga has a decade of experience as a startup mentor, founder, senior executive and teacher across many verticals, from academia to e-commerce. She’s had a longstanding commitment to internal culture and diversity, which will help set up Iron Ox for success as it enters a hyper growth phase of hiring and production.

“To get us out of this late-stage climate crisis, we need to make the agriculture sector carbon negative — and for Iron Ox to achieve its long-term mission, we need to set a new benchmark for employee hiring, retention, motivation and satisfaction,” Iron Ox CEO and Founder Brandon Alexander said. “Culture is the number one critical aspect as we grow the company and Claudia’s proven cutting-edge experience will guarantee that.”

Fulga was most recently a tech industry startup adviser for San Francisco-based consulting firm PeopleTech Partners. Before that, she co-founded HR 2.0, a coaching networking group of nearly 1,000 HR professionals. She also spent more than a decade as an adjunct professor and program adviser at San Francisco State University. She has a bachelor’s degree from University of Michigan, and additional degrees and certifications from Golden Gate University and Cornell University.

“My plan is to create a memorable, high-impact recruiting and hiring program while simultaneously helping Iron Ox retain its unique startup culture and close-knit camaraderie,” Fulga said. “Brandon and his founding team built an unusually strong foundation, and now we need to scale up our culture for hypergrowth phase.”

Iron Ox announced last week a $53 million “Series C” funding round led by new investor Breakthrough Energy Ventures, an investment group backed by many of the world’s top business leaders and dedicated to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. 

Since its founding in 2015, Iron Ox has raised $98 million in venture funding. Existing investors include Crosslink Capital, R7 Partners, Pathbreaker Ventures, ENIAC Ventures, Amplify Partners, At One Ventures and Y Combinator.

Iron Ox will use its latest funding round to expand its intellectual property portfolio in robotics and artificial intelligence. The company is accelerating its efforts to hire plant scientists, engineers, greenhouse operators and roboticists to join a dynamic team that includes finance veteran Tom Constantino, who recently became Iron Ox’s first Chief Financial Officer in June. To learn more about job openings, please click here.

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Iron Ox

We believe the best food is grown locally and recently. Our growing facilities use advanced robotics to cultivate perfect, nutritious produce by giving each plant the specific attention it needs, and then getting it on a store shelf nearby within about a day of harvest.