Cowen and AppHarvest are Supporting Small Businesses with Big Ideas
AppHarvest Brings AgTech Jobs and Training to Appalachia
BY JEFFREY M. SOLOMON CHAIR AND CEO, COWEN INC.
Just a few years ago, AppHarvest had a vision of how to transform farming and agriculture in the United States. After receiving early-stage venture funding and refining its business model, this cutting-edge AgTech company recently attracted nearly $500 million in financing to build high-tech controlled environment agriculture facilities in Appalachia. Earlier this year, AppHarvest, based in Morehead, Kentucky, became a publicly traded AgTech company on the Nasdaq. It shipped its first harvest of sustainably grown beefsteak tomatoes to grocery stores in mid-January. By 2025, AppHarvest plans to have 12 sites growing vine crops such as tomatoes, cucumbers, and berries, as well as leafy greens. Its ambition is nothing less than solving a broken food system in the U.S. with fresh options for what is on our plates—and how it gets there. Replacing the roughly 50% of fruits and vegetables imported into the U.S. with domestically grown crops will reduce the environmental impact from transportation, while improving the diets of 9 out of 10 Americans who have insufficient access to fresh fruits and vegetables.
AppHarvest promotes non-GMO, chemical pesticide-free, sustainable agriculture and water conservation, with the aim of also creating thousands of jobs in an economically challenged region. Its vision is completely aligned with what we believe at Cowen: that the way to move American innovation forward is by getting capital that resides on the East and West Coasts to invest in new technologies and economic development in America’s Heartland. COWEN PARTNERSHIP WITH APPHARVEST
At Cowen, we began as a financial advisor to AppHarvest. Very quickly we learned what a special company this was—with a vision of bringing advanced AgTech to Eastern Kentucky and the Appalachia region. In addition to creating much-needed jobs, AppHarvest is generating new skill sets and a brighter economic future for the region.
With sustainability as one of our core values at Cowen, we are proud to partner with AppHarvest to fund cutting-edge agricultural practices in the classrooms of high schools in Eastern Kentucky. The AppHarvest AgTech curriculum, developed by leaders in the field, ranges from plant physiology to taking product to market. Having grown up in the shadow of old, rusted-out steel mills in Pittsburgh in the late 1970s and early 1980s, I know first-hand how access to education and training is crucial for commercial and social development in a region. I saw it work in my home community, and I know it can work in Appalachia, as well. At Cowen, we’re proud to contribute to this effort by providing capital to support training and education resources so students can gain a foothold into one of the fast-growing business segments in the U.S. and worldwide.
 Cowen Inc. and Mr. Solomon have financial interests in AppHarvest Inc. Cowen and Company, LLC served as sole financial advisor to AppHarvest Inc. on its merger with Novus Capital Corporation effective on February 2, 2021.