Challenge: Develop technology to support indoor horticulture success at home Solution: Create an app for plant lovers to monitor light, soil moisture, humidity, temperature for a variety of plants Impact: New technology supports plant health, sustainability—and the growth of new markets for greenhouse technologies
How many of you reading this right now have bought a plant for your house, with the best intentions, and a few days or weeks later, it looks like it is heading for plant heaven…?
Probably most of us.
While many people love plants and spend good money on them, we may not all be plant experts. You might find yourself asking yourself, when did I water that plant last? Does it need more light? Should I add more soil?
That’s why Sidhanth (Sid) Pereira, Founder & Head of Product at EarthOne, knew the market needed a product like this.
The idea began as a final-year engineering project, started by a friend named Pareek, from McMaster University, to bring the Internet of Things capability out to the business-to-business space.
Once Sid and Pareek decided to turn this idea into a company, they’ve brought the Canadian product to market in less than three years. Not only can it monitor your house plants, but it has capabilities to monitor produce and cannabis (where legal Sid added) as well.
“We spent a lot of our capital and resources focusing on the product because we found there wasn’t a lot of reliable technology in this space,” Sid said.
The EarthOne product monitors light, soil moisture, humidity, temperature, and can help plant lovers optimize foliage, yield, and flowers.
Sid added that they are working on some cool stuff where the app will be able to diagnose plant issues, as well as integrate active harvest date forecasting. This means, based on the ambient settings and micro-environment, the app will be able to provide a harvest aid on produce.
While Sid was confident in his product, but knew, to be successful, they were going to need someone to help them with marketing.
“We didn’t have the in-house marketing capability, so this is where we had to reach out and say ‘Hey, we need some help’ – can we get somebody to fill that marketing gap for us?”, Sid said.
That’s where the Business & Commercialization Innovation Centre (BCIC) came in to help to give them the direction they needed.
Not only did they provide EarthOne with a marketing strategy, but they also completed an environmental analysis, a strategy on how to hit stores, social media content, and more.
“I also have to say, that not only was Paula great, but Helen Duffy and Mackenzie Haines were so awesome as well. Hey, I’ll talk about Niagara College all day long, I’ll recommend BCIC’s services to anyone.”– Sidhanth Pereira, Founder & Head of Product, EarthOne
“Niagara College did what I think I would do in a year in about two and a half months, and we were extremely pleased with the quality,” said Sid.
Currently, Sid is the only full-time permanent staff member, but looking to the future, he has high hopes to hit a few milestones, the first being getting a few more staff members on board.
“Right now, my primary goal is to go get us some money, whether it’s raising it, selling more products, or getting EarthOne into stores,” he said. As he sells more product, he will be able to hire some full- or part-time staff.
Being an entrepreneur wasn’t always what Sid thought he was going to do. “I went to McMaster University for automotive engineering, so the career path was to end up working at a large auto company, like Ford or Chrysler,” said Sid.
However, having a passion for engineering and being a problem solver, his mind would take on ideas and challenges, like how to keep plants alive longer, and try to come up with a solution for an everyday issue.
“I think connecting different capabilities and skills was sort of always my calling,” he added.
In a few years, success looks simple for Sid. “I want to be in a lot of independent mom-and-pop shops; I want to be in a few medium-sized garden centres; and one big box store,” he stated.
He feels, that with the strong and practical marketing plans that BCIC has provided EarthOne, this shouldn’t be a hard goal to achieve, and he’s aiming to get it done.
“I also have to say, that not only was Paula great, but Helen Duffy and Mackenzie Haines were so awesome as well,” he said with a smile.
Sid shared that Mackenzie and Helen really went above and beyond on so many pieces of the presentation and it felt like they were truly invested in our product. One example of this is that he heard Mackenzie visited stores to talk about the EarthOne project – just one way that BCIC takes their work to the next level.
“I felt very taken care of by Mackenzie, Helen and the entire BCIC team,” said Sid.
Sid was so impressed that he shared the presentation with colleagues at a local incubator and they were blown away and have since reached out to Paula and the team for a potential project.
“Hey, I’ll talk about Niagara College all day long; I’ll recommend BCIC’s services to anyone,” he stressed.
When it comes down to it, the partnership between EarthOne and BCIC sort of seems like a match made in heaven. BCIC filled the marketing gap for Sid in a timely and professional manner and now he has the tools to take EarthOne to the next level. And we can’t wait to see where it goes.
If you want to show your plants some love, you can visit the EarthOne website to purchase the product, or you can connect with Sid to learn more about their product or share your feedback directly via email at [email protected].
For any small- or medium-sized businesses interested in working with BCIC, start the conversation today. Together, we will determine how best to meet your needs, whether we perform a quick turnaround service, or a full innovation project.
For more information, contact David DiPietro, Manager, Business Development, at [email protected].
This project is funded by the Government of Canada through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario.