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GrowSquares

Personalized gardens through data science and microbiology

USA, New York
Market: Farming, Mobile applications
Stage of the project: Operating business

Date of last change: 01/09/2020
Min investment
$  100.000
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Total required
$ 2.000.000
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Idea

An outdoor garden that's fun, productive and easy to use. The system leverages an app that captures remote microclimate data to help sel ect the best herbs, fruits, and vegetables for our users environment along with the exact mix of nutrients, minerals, and bacteria missing fr om their soil. We then aggregate and package all this material (seeds included) into modular square-foot blocks, wrap them in a biodegradable casing and deliver them directly to our users. Once our gardens are up and running the app is able to make tailored watering, harvesting and troubleshooting recommendations.

Current Status

Our primary physical product has been fully developed. We're currently struggling to produce it at scale and get it into the hands of consumers however as it stands, it can be used immediately. As far as our app and back-end, our MVP is able to identify thirty two discrete features of a users micro-environment, recommend the optimal mix of plants for their particular space and make tailored watering recommendations contingent on their environments evolving weather and plants stage of growth. Our largest investor is Ikea Ventures and expect to deploy in-store by Q4 '20

Market

More than $4.5B is spent annually on domestic food gardening by ~9 million urban gardeners. Of these, we're initially targeting millennials and affluent families in America's 100 largest cities. These are the two fastest-growing sub-segments of the food gardening market. Among affluent families, participation has grown ~87% over a five-year period, with millennials having increased their spend on food gardening by 89% over the same interval. Despite this tremendous growth, significant latent demand remains. More than two-thirds of urbanites with adequate space express “significant interest” in cultivating a vegetable garden yet few currently do. Most claim the largest obstacle preventing them from starting one is the perceived complexity or time constraints. We’re designing our early platform for these exact consumers, millennials and young families comfortable with using an app-based dashboard and willing to pay a premium for increases in efficiency and simplicity.

Problem or Opportunity

Urban gardening's a pain. City dwellers have small plots, little time and oftenfeel the hassle of acquiring the right tools and techniques isn’t worth the meager yields their patio, roof deck, etc. will produce. Besides space constraints, urban gardeners often deal w/ toxic or nutrient-poor soil, varied microenvironments and a lack of natural pollinators.

Solution (product or service)

Our system marries the 31 parameters of remote microclimate and weather data we pull from external APIs w/ the on-site environmental assessment our app performs to create a profile of each user's space. Those factors help identify the best plants for any particular environment. We then package the seeds of the identified plants inside a nutrient dense medium comprised of the components deficient in that areas soil in order to improve growth. The system then follows each plants development and localized weather to provide tailored advice on water application rates and planting advice.

Competitors

A few companies currently develop products for the market including Edyn, Parrot, Koubachi & Oso. By and large they produce poorly calibrated hardware probes designed to continually monitor their users' space via an integrated digital hygrometer and/or a pH sensor. There also exists a handful of firms that rely on alternate methodology including SeedSheets which makes prefabricated gardening 'sheets' that contain pre-impregnated seeds and HelloGrow which has developed a 'smart' planter box.

Advantages or differentiators

The majority of our competitors have congregated their solutions around a poorly calibrated hardware probe intended to continually monitor the hydration of ones ground or pH level. Instead, we've developed a synthetic sensor shown to be much more accurate than our competitors and infinitely more scalable/adaptive. Additionally, our plant growth monitor is able immediately benchmark not only where a plant falls is in it's life-cycle but allows insight into it's performance.

Finance

I'd be happy to walk you through the model however as it stands we plan on breaking even by Q3 '21 which coincides with the launch of our B2B product

Business model

Our revenue model is simple, we sell our blocks for $20 each (independent of the plant contained) direct-to-consumer through our app and website. While we anticipate significant ancillary monetization opportunities in product maintenance - through the sale of tailored remediates, nutrients for later-stage application, etc. - all financial forecasts and assumptions are limited to the sale of our primary product.

Money will be spent on

40% on inventory
30% team
20% marketing
10% general operating expenses

Offer for investor

We're raising $2M at a $8M pre-money valuation using convertible notes and a 3% yield

Team or Management

Risks

While we have a large portfolio of pending patents, there's always a chance a few of them will be rejected by the office when official review begins in 5 years.

Incubation/Acceleration programs accomplishment

We're currently a participant in WeWorkLabs food incubator and have previously been a part of the Futureworks and StartUpBoost programs in NY and Grid110 in Los Angeles.

Won the competition and other awards

- 1st place winner of USPAACC “What’s Your Pitch: Innovations Meet the Market" | https://uspaacc.com/news/2019/ingersoll-rand-presents-20k-cash-manufacturer-award-at-uspaaccs-innovation-pitching-competition

- LAUNCH Scale Startup Competition Audience Award Winner | https://www.seedinvest.com/blog/seedinvest/jason-calacanis-2019-launch-scale-startup-competition

Invention/Patent

We have a patent portfolio that includes five different filings covering multiple aspects of our system. Partnered with our patent attorney's (Orrick), we structured each of their application to be as broad as possible - while simultaneously being defensible - and believe they'll help to protect the core of our tech moving forward. That said, there remain aspects of our system that can't be patented (our machine learning techniques, etc.) however we imagine the significant amount of time spent developing them will greatly dissuade outside parties from emulating them.

Photos

Photo 1 - GrowSquares

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Idea
Current Status
Market
Problem or Opportunity
Solution (product or service)
Competitors
Advantages or differentiators
Finance
Invested in previous rounds, $
Business model
Money will be spent on
Offer for investor
Team or Management
Mentors & Advisors
Lead investor
Risks
Incubation/Acceleration programs accomplishment
Won the competition and other awards
Invention/Patent
Photos
Product Video
Website address