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Boston startup Indigo Ag growing down south

Indigo Ag chief executive David Perry, shown in a company greenhouse in Cambridge, is among Indigo executives who will be based in Memphis.
Indigo Ag chief executive David Perry, shown in a company greenhouse in Cambridge, is among Indigo executives who will be based in Memphis.Lane Turner/Globe Staff/File 2016

Seeded by a powerful local venture capital firm, one of the Boston area’s hottest startups is ready to lay down deeper roots — in Tennessee.

Indigo Ag Inc., which produces seed treatments to improve crop production, is building a headquarters for its commercial operations in Memphis. The company plans to expand key operational departments now housed in Charlestown, such as finance and human resources, in the new location.

The company’s senior executives, including chief executive David Perry, will split their time between Boston and Memphis. Indigo hopes to eventually employ more than 700 people there after spending $6.6 million on the new offices in the city’s Toyota Center building.


“We are committed to Memphis, a hub for North American agriculture, and we are excited to continue to grow in such an innovative and forward-focused city,” Perry said in a statement.

A company spokesperson said Indigo does not plan to cut any jobs in Boston and instead hopes to add to its head count by expanding departments such as research and development as well as data science, the spokesperson said.

Founded by the Cambridge VC shop Flagship Pioneering, Indigo uses naturally occurring microbes such as bacteria and fungi to develop stronger strains of crop seeds that can withstand stressful conditions. Indigo sells coated seeds for a wide range of crops including wheat, cotton, and corn to farmers. Different treatments can protect the seeds against disease and help them survive low-water conditions.

The company has raised $650 million in just four years, and is among the handful of Boston-area startups to achieve “unicorn” status, an industry term to describe startups worth more than $1 billion.

The company has said it had $67 million in annual bookings in 2017, and Perry predicted the company would hit a half-billion this year.

Indigo already has offices elsewhere in the United States and overseas, and will expand its Memphis operations to be closer to its base of agricultural customers, as well as its network of growers who work with Indigo to conduct research, the spokesperson said.


Indigo established operations in Memphis in 2016, and the company’s presence in the state has increased from 60 to 175 employees since August, according to the office of Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam.

This story was updated to correct information on where the company’s senior executives and other employees will be located.

Allison Hagan can be reached at allison.hagan@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @allisonhxgan.