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Back in May, startup incubator Let it Grow had an open innovation call for entrepreneurs and startups that operate in the (international) floricultural sector. On Monday the 24th of October, seven of them presented their ideas during the grand opening of the brand new growth lab located in Amsterdam. There the startups will work on developing new, innovative applications for flowers and plants to make the world a greener place.
According to Let it Grow founder Silke Tijkotte, the startup scene does not quite flourish in the horticultural sector. With the new platform, she wants to bring innovative and green ideas to the world of flowers and plants. 130 entrepreneurs responded to the open call, but only seven were selected by a jury to take part in the program.
Royal FloraHolland, a Dutch corporation of growers and the largest flower and plat marketplace in the world, initiated the program. Startups receive €10,000 seed funding and enter a five-month program that includes training, workshops and mentorship.
“Let is Grow is a platform that facilitates entrepreneurs, urban idealists, and artists in bringing their green innovations to life. We’re a catalyst for the urban green movement, exposing what’s possible and encouraging both city dwellers to take plants and flowers beyond their traditional definitions. We believe in the value of plants and flowers to ensure happier and healthier city living”.
As world market leader, the horticultural sector is a very important industry for The Netherlands, therefore focusing on the future is important. The flower and plant industry is shrinking, especially among young people. ‘The flower industry isn’t sexy anymore,’ says Lucas Vos, CEO of Royal FloraHolland. ‘Not only do people buy less flowers, the horticultural sector is ageing – not many young people want to pursue a career in the industry as a grower. It’s very important to innovate, and with Let it Grow new talent is given room to make this sector flourish again.’
It is clear that every startup in the program share the same ambitious goal: making your life and the world a greener, healthier place. Sprinklr, Gardian and ConnectedGarden work on solutions that make the maintenance of plants and flowers more easy and carefree. By combining hardware (such as sensors in the soil that give information about the plant’s condition) and apps, users are given information, tasks and guidelines how to properly take care of their plants and flowers. Solutions like this will surely stimulate consumers to buy more plants that makes their surrounding greener and healthier, but it’s a bit unfortunate that the individual approaches aren’t as diverse as you would hope.
The startup with the most impressive and innovative technology comes from We Umbrella. A team of young tech enthusiasts and designers is working on the Living Light, a lamp that harvests its energy from the plant living inside. This is achieved with so-called plant microbial energy, i.e. energy that is created solely by the bacteria that are active in the soil.
A full list of the startups in the Let it Grow program can be found here.
Featured image by Maarten Nauw