The makers of a indoor ‘smart garden’ have smashed through their Kickstarter campaign goal, suggesting there’s a growing appetite for locally made indoor gardening products in Australia.
The UrbiPod Smart Garden is a self-sufficient gardening pod designed to grow herbs, flowers and vegetables on the kitchen counter, with the digital lighting and watering system collecting data and keeps the plants alive.
The pods were created by Western Australian startup Urbotanica, which in the midst of a crowdfunding campaign to fund the second iteration of the product.
Urbotanica co-founder Neale Anderson tells SmartCompany the Kickstarter campaign reached its goal of $25,000 within its first week, and has so far racked up over $65,000 with three weeks to go.
Anderson says the startup was expecting to reach its target because this second iteration of the UrbiPod was designed using feedback from existing customers, who were keen to have more information about the plants the pod grows for them.
The campaign has attracted some international attention, says Anderson, which was a surprise, but he credits the Aussie homebase of customers for the huge demand for the pod.
To be successful in a crowdfunding campaign, Anderson says, “you’ve got to really do the hard work”.
“Get the customers. Get them to be your advocates and promoters,” he adds.
The first iteration of the UrbiPod product was launched two years ago. The feedback and popularity revealed that although consumers wanted to have a self-maintaining gardening ecosystem, they also wanted to monitor growth and have selective control over the process.
“We looked into customer control,” Anderson says.
“Customers were asking us about how to know when there’s too much water, ‘why isn’t my basil growing’ and ‘why is there so much’ and that kind of thing,” he adds.
Existing customers also told the team they were interested in future products, Anderson says, which spurred the decision to choose Kickstarter as the funding route.
He was also keen to make use of the advantages of crowdfunding such as empowering backers, which aligns with the desire for more control from UrbiPod customers.
“It crystallises in people’s minds what they’re going to get,” Anderson says.
“And you can get the time-frame” from the campaign page, he adds.
“People are pledging from all over the world with no previous relationship.”