SARANAC LAKE — Point Positive Inc., the investing and mentoring group of business leaders in the Greater Adirondacks, has made an early stage investment in Confluent Energies Inc.
The controlled-environment agriculture operation seeks to establish its first greenhouse facility in St. Lawrence County to build economic opportunity and stimulate job growth.
CEI is proposing use of the farming technique to grow year-round, fresh produce that would be delivered within 24 hours of harvest from greenhouses that will cover 40 acres in Massena.
Point Positive member investors have expertise, networks and capital to support promising Greater Adirondack businesses from startup through growth, according to a news release from the organization.
Members participate in investments at their own discretion, and the time commitment is tailored to their preference — members can lead, mentor, advise or just monitor, and invest on an individual basis in fully vetted, promising ventures across multiple industry sectors.
Emerging entrepreneurs receive hands-on monitoring, business workshops, pre-pitch coaching and access to investors with global reach, influence and networks to continue to push their business forward and bring emerging concepts to fruition.
“Point Positive member investors care deeply about the Adirondacks, and through shared due diligence and smart investing in companies like CEI, we are fostering an entrepreneurial ecosystem pointing the regional economy in a positive direction,” Lee Keet, Point Positive founding member and Confluent Energies lead said in a news release.
In July 2017, Confluent Energies made its formal pitch to the Point Positive members, resulting in the process moving to the due-diligence phase.
Subsequent meetings between Point Positive and the company resulted in the early-stage investment by members to help further CEI’s business plans in northern New York.
While they have looked at other locations for the controlled-environment agriculture operation, CEI’s three founders, Robert MacArthur, Dennis Bunnell and Andrew Rice, have ties to the region and are familiar with the attributes that support business growth: affordable electricity, clean water, skilled workforce, a location within a day’s drive of over 100 million consumers and a supportive business environment.
“We accomplish our mission through mentoring, education and investment,” stated Melinda Little, Point Positive coordinator.
“Given the size and complexity of the project, CEI felt that getting local early-stage investment for the project would be key to making a case for other financing.
"We helped them accomplish that with a promising impact to come.”
Partnerships with regional colleges and universities such as Clarkson, North Country Community College, Paul Smith’s and SUNY Plattsburgh, as well as economic development organizations, other angel investment groups and venture capital funds, further Point Positive's effort through networking, relationships and a collaborative approach to create jobs and build sustainable businesses to retain graduates and future generations in the Adirondacks.