Home-grown approach is key to success for Urbotanica™

Perth Angel investor, Ray Hart, with other investors, is putting his money where his mouth is, quite literally, by backing Urbotanica’s innovative approach to providing the freshest possible herbs for consumers – giving them the technology to grow them right in their own home through the UrbiPodTM indoor garden system.  The UrbipodTM system is a unique, self watering, auto lighting and energy efficient plant growing system designed for the modern kitchen, office, home, apartment… wherever you choose.

Mr Hart identified a need for this latest advance in indoor growing as the result of a confluence of trends – healthy eating, social wellness, environmental and social responsibility.

“Without doubt, people are taking a far more active interest in, and have a preference for, sourcing honest good produce and developing healthy eating habits at home. The plethora of cooking shows, books and magazines has made for an educated market and, the truth is, people are increasingly opting to eat and entertain at home,” he said.

The UrbiPodTM growing system comprises 4 pods in which a variety of seeds are planted and nourished through a unique irrigation system using capillary action to move water and nutrients from the reservoirs to the plant roots, eliminating the need for complex pumps and valves.

The large pod size has been horticulturally designed to support healthy root development and sustainable plant production, and the growing medium is coir, a 100% natural by-product of coconuts.

The pods are unique from other products, being detachable from the main ‘mothership’ unit. Easy to access, they can be moved around the home, from the kitchen to the dining table or outdoors. They can also be easily rotated with additional pods ensuring access to harvest-ready herbs and salads all year round.

According to Mr Hart, protecting the innovative aspects of the UrbiPodTM from the outset, by way of an intellectual property (IP) strategy, was paramount to ensuring its success in the market.

“We believe that IP protection is fundamental – whether you codify or not, it is essential and especially attractive for investors who place a lot of value on having your IP in order.”

“Our product is second to none so, when it came to registering the design and protecting our innovation, we worked with Mark Pullen of Watermark who is very well known and respected. And, he’s been a big supporter of the Perth Angels over the years,” he said.

The UrbiPodTM growing system uses the latest energy efficient LED growing lights which produce the right mix of wavelengths for plant health and are designed to automatically switch on and off – 16 hours on and 8 hours off.

“Plants, like people, need to sleep in the dark to be at their best. You can set the timer to coincide with your own lifestyle. We set ours as a night light for our children so they know when its time to sleep and wake-up. I know of customers who use the UrbiPodTM growing system to light their living area at night for security when they are away,” said Mr Hart.

The UrbiPodTM growing system starter kit comprises 5 packs of seed sticks including cress, rocket, basil and oregano and, while more seed varieties will be available soon, Mr Hart encourages people to make the UrbiPodTM growing system their own by experimenting with what they want to grow.

Designed and produced in Australia, the UrbiPodTM growing system carries the internationally respected ‘Brand Australia’ quality assurance about which Mr Hart is clearly passionate, saying, “we need to start making products again in Australia and the consumer has a big part to play in ensuring this happens. UrbotanicaTM solutions are all about creating jobs – it’s an integral part of our corporate philosophy and our urban responsibility”.

With production of the UrbiPodTM growing system in full swing, Ray Hart says he’s already received requests for larger units including restaurant wall versions and mini greenhouses. It would seem the sky’s the limit for this WA-born start-up.

Contact Mark Pullen m.pullen@watermark.com.au

Go to www.urbotanica.com

Urbotanica and Urbipod are trade marks of GYO Solutions Pty Ltd