As Poslovni Dnevnik/Josipa Ban writes, plant selection and care should soon be much easier thanks to the unusual and innovative Croatian startup Choncha, which has created a smart plant pot that should be on the market soon. This clever product, which is based on the application of the Internet of Things (IoT), comes in combination with an associated application that scans the conditions in the room the plant would be situated in through sensors, it then recommends the optimal types of plants to the user.
But that’s not all. After planting, Choncha the smart plant pot takes care of the plant when it is there entirely automatically, all based on the collected data from its immediate environment.
A hard-working team of experts of various profiles are behind the Croatian startup Chonca and have been busy working on the development of Choncha the smart plant pot for some time now. Among them are people who have completed their studies in computer science, to those who graduated in mechanical engineering and agronomy, and as Frano Primorac, the originator of the idea and head of the Croatian startup Choncha revealed, they’re currently completing their prototype.
“We’re now working on the preparation for mass production, which we’ll be greatly supported in by a Kickstarter campaign, which is currently in preparation. Further plans are definitely an organised capital collection, and since the interest of the public is huge, we’re hoping for good results,” stated Frano Primorac.
The campaign will be launched this week, more precisely on Wednesday March the 8th, and the plan is to collect six thousand US dollars. The price of the Choncha smart plant pot will be 59 USD on Kickstarter, and it will probably be cheaper here on the domestic market in the end. However, as Primorac noted, it’s somewhat difficult to estimate how much they can collect.
“For now, we have a good number of collected emails on our website where people who want a Choncha pot can leave an email to be notified when the Kickstarter sale is launched,” he said. As for the profile of the investors, they’re targeting a type of profile that would otherwise buy this product.
“Through this viral marketing campaign, we discovered that the people who would purchase one of our smart plant pots are mostly mothers and tech geeks. Through Kickstarter, we hope for a more global reach, but we aren’t yet sure in which niche we’ll manage to garner the greatest response,” he explained.
He added that successful and experienced Croatian entrepreneurs Albert Gajsak, the founder and director of CircuitMess, and Domagoj Boljar, co-founder of the well-known ecological tennis brand Miret, are helping them with advice in preparing for their Kickstarter campaign, which should contribute to their overall success. After the campaign, which they hope will end successfully, they are starting the last part of the job – that of mass production of Choncha, that is, their innovative smart plant pots.
Primorac, who graduated from the FOI in Varazdin and worked for an IT company for a year now, was motivated to start his own business because of a problem he had with growing plants.
“The idea itself arose from a problem I had as the worst botanist I know. The logical decision was therefore to spend ten months on automating the process of growing plants, a job that would take me half an hour a week. That’s how the Croatian startup Choncha, and the idea of the plant pot, was born,” he explained, adding that there are five permanent people working on the team who all knew each other before.
“We’re all on the same page and are aware that we can’t expect salaries at the start because we’re simply bootstrapping, but that’s why morale and fun are always paramount,” said the initiator of the idea of a smart flower pot. He also pointed out that their biggest challenge has always been financing. They had no problems with the development of the prototype itself, primarily due to the expertise of the mechanical engineers and part of the team that worked on it.
As far as actual production is concerned, it will be based on 3D print technology, and the first prototype will be exhibited at FOI. “The plant pot itself and the application function as one product, is all very simple from the user’s side. Choncha itself can scan the surrounding conditions and recommend optimal plants for the space, but the user can place any plant in it they want and in the connected application just tell Choncha which plant it is. Choncha waters the plant perfectly and warns plant owners about other conditions,” he explained.
All the user has to do to successfully grow the plant with minimal effort is to turn on the button on the pot. Then they need to download the app, log in and pair the app with the container. The aforementioned institution from Varazdin otherwise played a major role in the creation and development of the Croatian startup Choncha, as this young team gained its first entrepreneurial experiences through their Startup@FOI program.
Through it, FOI provides financial and operational support to students and young innovators in the development of their various entrepreneurial ideas and product placement on the market. They also get an office in the premises of the Technology Park in Varazdin, as well as help in managing accounting, tax advice and consultation.
For more, make sure to check out our dedicated business section.