There’s fun(ding) money growing in the indoor garden.
Grove Labs Inc., a Boston-based startup focused on an indoor home-gardening system, closed a $2 million seed round on Friday. Upfront Ventures led the round, with Felicis Ventures, Vayner/RSE, Galvanize Ventures, and Tim Ferriss joining the round.
“We had a decision to make – do we make standard greenhouse practices a few percentage points more efficient, or do we change the culture behind how people think and care about their food?” CEO and co-founder Gabe Blanchet told AgFunder. “We’ve decided to empower consumers instead of optimize back-end business processes. We can make a greater impact this way.”
That impact will come one kitchen at a time, where Grove Labs aims to soon install home-appliances complete with LED lights and a dirtless growing system to grow herbs and veggies. The appliance is designed to look anything but dirty, and uses what Blanchet calls an “ecoponic” system. Similar to a hydroponic system, the grower uses no dirt, but simply water and nutrients to grow the plants. But while most hydroponic systems are not organic, an ecoponic system seeks to be just that.
“We’re different than hydroponics,” Blanchet said. “We accelerate plant growth but instead of doing the sterile non-organic techniques, we’re leaning toward recreating ecosystems.” (You can see how co-founder Jamie Byron compares hydroponics to “ecoponics” here.) Not only are they looking to be more organic, but also they’re looking to be high-tech. The website flaunts pretty pics of iPhones that will give growers tips and allow them to order any nutrients, seeds or anything else they might need for their growing system.
Despite the buzz around the recent funding, Blanchet won’t quite say when we can hope to have our own indoor Grove grower. “We’re excited to be much more public later this year, or early next year,” he said. And while keeping quiet about their milestones, Grove Labs did make their first spending after the funding public. “The first thing we bought?” they said in a May 29th Facebook post, “A $270 Juicer for office wheatgrass shots.”
FEATURED PHOTO: Grove Labs