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    Scaling a small farm with embedded finance

    • person Ryan Lockwood
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    Scaling a small farm with embedded finance

    “Humans of Finance” is a series about how embedded finance helps people and businesses in the real world.

    Scaling a local microgreens business

    BCK Ranch is a small farm located outside of Houston, Texas.

    It’s owned and managed by a husband-and-wife team, Ryan and Taryn Lockwood. They sell microgreens and other hydroponically farmed produce to grocery stores and local restaurants.

    For the Lockwoods, clean eating is a way of life. During a recent pregnancy, Taryn developed a food allergy that prevents her from eating most industrially farmed produce. The couple started BCK Ranch as a way to help people like them get better veggies.

    After launching BCK Ranch in 2022, the Lockwoods realized they had an opportunity to bring their microgreens to a larger market.

    “After our son was born, I had allergies, skin rashes,” recalls Taryn. “It was keeping me up at night.”

    “We found out that hydroponic produce is a great option for people like me,” she continues. “Not to mention, it just tastes better.”

    After they launched BCK Ranch in 2022, business quickly started to pick up. The Lockwoods realized they had an opportunity to bring their microgreens to a larger market.

    Ryan Lockwood is the owner and CEO of BCK Ranch, which sells microgreens and other hydroponically farmed produce to grocery stores and local restaurants.

    Accessing the funds they need to grow

    To grow the business, the Lockwoods needed to increase production and make their produce available at more retail locations. 

    For that to happen, they needed working capital. But traditional lenders typically require new companies to have been in business for two years to qualify.

    “Access to financing was our biggest challenge,” says Ryan. “Most larger banks aren’t equipped to support small businesses.”

    Through Nav, the Lockwoods were able to access the funds they needed to grow.

    That’s where Nav comes in. They’re a platform dedicated to helping small businesses improve their financial health. More than 2.1 million small business owners have relied on Nav to track and improve their business credit and cash flow, as well as access their best financing options.

    Through Nav, the Lockwoods were able to access the funds they needed to grow.

    “The Nav Prime charge card* has been huge for financing our supplies,” says Ryan. “We don’t have to wait until a paper check arrives to order seeds or pay our vendors.”

    Powered by embedded finance

    The Nav Prime Card—the one the Lockwoods use to pay their vendors—is an example of embedded finance. 

    That’s where banks partner with tech companies to design financial products tailored to the needs of businesses like BCK Ranch.

    In this case, Thread Bank partners with Nav to offer a charge card (the Nav Prime Card) that expands access to business credit. Many traditional lenders can’t or won’t underwrite businesses like BCK Ranch—but Thread Bank and Nav have figured out a way to do it.

    Thanks to embedded finance, the Lockwoods' hydroponic produce began appearing in stores nationwide earlier this year.

    For the Lockwoods, it’s been a game changer. Thanks to Thread Bank and Nav, their hydroponic produce began appearing in stores nationwide earlier this year.

    “We’re no longer a local business,” says Ryan. “Now you can find us in Alaska, California, Arizona, Dallas, Missouri, Tennessee, and Pennsylvania.”

    Looking ahead, the Lockwoods plan to empower consumers to grow their own food by selling grow kits. Ultimately, they hope to develop a franchise model.

    *Nav Technologies, Inc. is a financial technology company and not a bank. Banking services provided by Thread Bank, and Blue Ridge Bank, N.A., Members FDIC. The Nav Prime Charge Card is issued by Thread Bank pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. and may be used everywhere Visa cards are accepted. 

    Through embedded finance, the Lockwoods were able to scale their small farm.