Tech Start-Ups Tap into the Plant Parent Boom
Since the pandemic rendered us homebound, living spaces have bloomed into indoor gardens and allotments have seen interest surge. A host of new tech start-ups are helping green-thumbed consumers fulfil their plant care goals – including AI-led app Greg and AllotMe, billed as the ‘Airbnb of allotments’.
- The Plant Parent Opportunity: The houseplant industry continues to flourish. According to analysis by the UK homes and interiors brand Sass & Belle, searches for the term “house plants” on Google has increased by 114% since May this time last year (Stylist, 2021).
- Launched in October 2020, US app Greg uses machine learning to perfect plant care and watering routines. Greg’s algorithm takes into account location, sun exposure, and the plant’s species, then notifies the user exactly how much water to give each plant, and when. Signalling keen market interest, the start-up achieved $5.4m in seed funding in May.
- See Product Design’s Visual Round-Up: Pots & Plant Care for more houseplant industry projections.
- Answer the Allotment Moment: With a lack of outdoor space becoming a major pain-point for urban consumers during lockdowns, applications for council-run allotments in the UK saw a “significant uplift” last year, according to The National Allotment Society – despite 18-month long waiting lists (Guardian, 2020).
- Offering an alternative to this backlog, May-launched digital platform AllotMe connects garden owners directly with would-be vegetable growers. Its aim is to make leasing out garden space as easy as Airbnb has made renting a spare room. Based in London, homeowners on the app set a fee of at least £5 ($7) a month in order to let out an allotment area within their garden.
- Growing Together: Showing further potential for urban micro-gardening, UK design agency PriestmanGoode’s concept TURF envisages an app and biodegradable starter kit app for growing, sharing and selling edible plants. The proposal – which combined personalised planting tips alongside community message boards – was created for London Design Biennale 2021.