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CONSUMER PRODUCTS & SERVICES | Household / Tools, Lawn & Garden

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Seed | Alive

Total Raised


Last Raised

$120K | 3 mos ago

About Gardenio

Gardenio empowers anyone to grow their own food by providing the information, resources, and community to grow a successful garden.

Gardenio Headquarter Location

Austin, Texas,

United States

Latest Gardenio News

Austin-based Gardenio Caters to Millennials Looking to Grow Their Own Food

Sep 18, 2019

Austin-based Gardenio Caters to Millennials Looking to Grow Their Own Food September 18, 2019 by lalorek Roman Gonzalez, founder of Gardenio, courtesy photo At Brown University, Roman Gonzalez studied philosophy to understand big things like love and purpose. He wanted to distillthese difficult concepts and relate them in a way to make people’s livesbetter. At the same time, hewas working to reshape his relationship with food, and he learned that to makea good salsa, it was all about the ingredients. And there were all thesedifferent varieties of tomatoes. He became fascinated with the variety andbreadth of nature and food. “It made me reallycurious,” Gonzalez said. He also startedcreating craft cocktails with different herbs, spices and barks. “I would run around myneighborhood and I started smelling the jasmine. I noticed an organic tree. Theworld started looking different,” Gonzalez said. “All of sudden the worldbecame very bountiful. When you talk to people who have been growing food for awhile, they talk about the same thing.” That planted the seeds for what would eventually grow into his startup Austin-based Gardenio , which is an online marketplace for gardeners aimed at Millennials and a “mission-driven company striving for a healthier, more sustainable world where anyone has access to the resources they need to grow their own food.” Gonzalez, who has abackground as a user experience designer, thought plants and gardening supplieswere primarily being marketed to retired folks with straw hats and floweredshirts. With Gardenio, he wanted to create a better experience aimed at Millennialslike himself. “By connecting peopleto nature and to each other, I can have a really big impact in the world,”Gonzalez said. Officially founded in 2017, Gardenio joined the DivInc Accelerator program , which focuses on helping founders from diverse backgrounds and women. It has established a young, creative, inclusive brand that celebrates diversity and cultural impact, he said. Gardenio launched its firstproducts in March of 2018. Gonzalez said he learned a lot from his earlycustomers. He made improvements based on their feedback. Gardenio also has morethan 30 people who work with the company as pro-bono consultants, who are 80percent people of color and women and members of the LGBT community. In April, Gardenio graduatedfrom the Tarmac Accelerator and on August 16th, the company launchedits mobile app. Historically Gardeniohas brought on new customers and built its community by throwing fundraisingevents, Gonzalez said. Long term the company plans to generate a lot of contentand create videos and paid social ads. This year, Gardenioalso raised a pre-seed round of funding from  Austin angel investors Michael Barnes, CEO ofTeacher Talent and Blanca Lesmes, CEO of BBImaging. “I’ve known Roman foryears and I’ve watched him methodically and obsessively build Gardenio from theground up,” Barnes said. “When you see a strong tech professional becomeobsessed with a vision of the future that ties into an existential urge— toreconnect to the roots of our system of food— you know it’s got the rightnutrients to grow into a huge business.” Overall, the lawn andgarden market is worth $49.9 billion with an annualized growth rate of 3.6percent over the last five years, according to research firm IBISWorld. Increasingly,Millennials are becoming an important part of that market as they embrace hobbieslike gardening, according to JenniferMapes-Christ, manager of the consumer and commercial products team at TheFreedonia Group. About 20 percent of consumers, ages 18 to 34, report gardeningis one of their hobbies. “With the rise of community gardens and community-supported agriculture, this group is interested in specialty gardening with heirloom seeds and gardening as a craft using specialty tools and taking care to create something unique,” Mapes-Christ said in a news statement. Historically Gardenio’s business model workedby customers going to the website and ordering a grow box, a live organicplant, and the company sends them soil that is matched to the plant they aregrowing and a care guide that goes with that. Now, Gardenio is shiftingto a membership model and through the fall, it is taking pre-orders to launch. “We will send youplant food in the amount you need it. Most people don’t know you have to feedyour plants let alone knowing when to feed it,” Gonzalez said. Gardenio is alsolaunching Infinite lives so if a paying Gardenio member has a plant die for anyreason – Gardenio will send a replacement plant. “Gardeners grow,”Gonzalez said. “You don’t just do it once.” Gardenio’s next bigmilestone is to have over 250 pre-order memberships and 5,000 people on itswaitlist, Gonzalez said. Gardenio was also afinalist in the startup category for a Mosaic Award, which celebrates diversityand inclusion in Austin’s startup community. The company competed against muchlarger ventures like Data.World, Aceable and Squareroot and The Riveter, whichwon the award. “We’re this scrappy little team making waves,”Gonzales said. “With very little resources we’ve been able to make some waves.” Gardenio sees its competitionas Home Depot, Lowe’s and other big box stores, which control 64 percent of themarket for gardening plants and supplies. “We’re not aboutgiving you a million tomatoes we are about giving you the experience of havinga relationship with a plant,” Gonzalez said. Andrew Escher bought a large mint plant and got a small holybasil plant from Gardenio as a gift. He has both sitting on his porch still. He likes Gardenio and would recommend it to a friend. “They help me build confidence in my gardening ability, saved metime and mental energy to get things set up and I like the idea of growing myown food and herbs in the long run,” Escher said. Gardenio addresses a big existential problem today, said Barnes, an investor. ”They say, “we are whatwe eat…” but if we don’t really know what we eat, can we really know who weare?” Barnes said. Share this:

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Expert Collections containing Gardenio

Expert Collections are analyst-curated lists that highlight the companies you need to know in the most important technology spaces.

Gardenio is included in 1 Expert Collection, including Agriculture Technology (Agtech).


Agriculture Technology (Agtech)

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Companies that are using technology to make farms more efficient.

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