- Founders: Anja Varničić, Aleksandar Varničić, Predrag Gajić, Milan Trajković
- Founded in: 2018
- Employees: 6
- Money raised: -
- Ultimate goal: To balance technology and nature and boost urban greenery
Living in the city also has its downsides. You often crave real nature. And that’s not always readily at hand in urban sprawl. You can now do something about that with UrbiGo’s indoor garden. A smart garden that you can manage with an app and which you learn all sorts of things about gardening from. Anja Varničić is one of the founders of UrbiGo. She is an environmental scientist who has business experience. In this instalment of the start-up of the day series, she tells us more about UrbiGo.
What is UrbiGo exactly?
“It is a fully automated smart home device for indoor gardening, equipped with sensors that monitor different plants’ needs. There are special integrated eco-efficient lights that replace the sun and adjust to a specific plant’s needs and growth stage. So, this means that you can enjoy strawberries or dwarf cherry tomatoes in the midst of winter or grow Bonsai plants even in the darkest corner of your home or office.
Through a mobile app, UrbiGo gives your plants a voice, as it were, so that you know exactly how and when to nurture, replant, or use them. By making use of AI algorithms and gamification, users can build up their own “green cred” through the app and discover the world and benefits of their favorite plants in a fun way.”
How does your product work?
“UrbiGo works like any other smart home device – all you need to do to connect it is to plug it in, connect it with your phone and wait for your plants to ask you for more water through the app. Every plant has its own algorithm that gives users specific tips, and tricks on how to nurture them in every growth stage. UrbiGo replaces traditional soil with special plant capsules that provide plants with everything they need. Users order their favorite plant capsules from our site, place them in an Urbi and replace them approximately every three months, and order new plant capsules over time.”
How did you come up with the idea to create UrbiGo?
“We started by looking at the problem of the urban, modern generation that doesn’t have time, botanical skills, or space to grow their favorite plants. Millennials spend over 90 percent of their time indoors, trying to find ways to bring Nature inside, and improve their health and wellbeing. But current solutions on the market are just nicely designed pots with lights, which leave them still in the dark on how to look after their plants and what they should do next with them.
That’s when we realized that we can use modern, everyday technology to help millions of millennials grow and create more nature in their lives. We didn’t have to invent the wheel – let’s just make our smartphones a tool to grow more plants and to reconnect with nature, even in heavily urbanized city centers.”
Did you experience any problems with developing your product?
“I think that you can only learn through making mistakes and testing the prototypes with real users. In the beginning, finding the ideal hardware components that solve users’ difficult problems and combining them with what plants need was challenging. In the end, we were making tech that helps grow living entities. Production and manufacturing took us more time than expected, but in the end, we made it.”
How hard was it to get your company funded?
“It’s all about finding the right investors. And we’re happy to have found the right ones from the outset.”
What is your ultimate goal?
“To boost urban greenery starting in every urban home and help make growing plants a fun and long-term hobby for 1.6 billion urban millennials. With UrbiGo App, we are able to balance technology with nature and empower tech-savvy generations to make a greener future starting in their own homes.”