Mike Zelkind, Co-Founder, and CEO of 80 Acres Farms (est. 2015) and Board Member of Infinite Acres (est. 2019), a vertical farming leader providing customers with the freshest and most nutritious fruits and vegetables at affordable prices. Utilizing world-class technology and analytics, 80 Acres Farms offers customers pesticide-free food with a longer shelf-life and the highest food safety standards while using fewer natural resources to produce over 300x more food on less than 1% of the footprint.
80 Acres Farms, winner of Fast Company’s eighth “Most Innovative Company in North America,” a finalist for Red Herring’s Top 100 North America award, featured two years in a row on Forbes “Best Start-up List,” and awarded the eleventh spot on “FoodTech 500” list.
For over 25 years, Mike has been working with top-tier food companies such as General Mills, Del Monte, Bumble Bee, and ConAgra Foods and top-tier consultancies and start-ups AT Kearney and ICG Commerce, focusing on the food industry. Over the last 15 years, he has worked with Private Equity (such as Oaktree Capital and Bain Capital’s Sankaty) to drive over $2.5B of shareholder value.
Mike has played competitive chess since the age of 10, competing in several of the most prestigious International Chess Tournaments worldwide and achieving the title of Life Master at the age of 19. In 1996, after earning his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering with a minor in Computer Science and Mathematics, he ranked #1 in his Master’s in Business Administration class of a top 20 Executive MBA program. He earned the top Leadership Award: John Robson Scholar, selected for a very prestigious Community Leadership Program by the Wexner Foundation. He is fluent in Russian and conversational Spanish.