How are your green fingers? Yeah, me too – every plant I touch doesn’t seem to do too well.
Founded in late 2020 by Jared Carlin and James Shamim, Perth-based IoT startup Plant With Willow aims to help the so-called ‘serial plant killers’ of Australia, that collectively kill 72 million plants a year.
Developed inside RAC’s investment fund BetterLabs, the startup has launched a Kickstarter campaign as they prepare for mass production set to begin early next year.
Admittedly, a large part of our collective plants’ ill health is due to neglect. But for many of us, this is not for lack of trying, but simply not knowing what to do.
Time to water or not? More or less sun? What’s the right temperature? What soil should I use, or do I have? Plant care also differs by variety and seasonality.
Plant With Willow looks to remove the guesswork. The startup’s IoT sensors measure a plant’s soil moisture, light intensity, ambient temperature and humidity. Willow then keeps an eye on the plant and alerts you when an action is required to keep it alive and well. Not only this, but Willow will also help you identify your plant, provide easy-to-digest care guides and tutorials, and provide a plant score to truly let you know how your plant is feeling.
How does Plant With Willow differ from other plant monitoring solutions? The team argues that their point of difference is in their application of the data.
For example, existing moisture sensors seem simple enough. Stick it into your pot plant and get a reading of, say, 30%. This means you must water your plant because it’s dry? Right?
Wrong. This simple reading doesn’t consider if the plant prefers evenly moist soil or partially dry soil, it doesn’t consider seasonality or how long the plant has been sitting at a 30% moisture rating. All of these factors are important in plant care, and Willow factors it all in.
The process only requires three steps. First, place the Willow device into the soil. Second, pair your device with the free smartphone app on iOS or Android. Third, use the app to take a photo which will work to automatically identify your plant. When it is time to take action, you will get a simple notification on your phone.
Now only does the Willow technology analyse all the necessary indicators to keep a plant healthy, the app also contains a virtual library including plant care instructions for hundreds of houseplants. A plant vitality score – a score out of 100 of a plant’s overall conditions is regularly provided. Meanwhile, the Willow Hub extends a sensor’s range and allows users to connect up to 40 sensors to a home Wifi network at any one time.
“I love plants, but I simply had no overview of how to care for them,” said co-founder Jared Carlin. “Now this information is readily available on my phone.”
The startup has been a work in progress since the idea’s inception in September 2020. Device certification is expected in June next year (2022), followed by delivery of the Willow sensors one month later.
Although Plant With Willow has sufficient funds to complete the development and production process of the sensors, they are using the Kickstarter platform to acquire additional financial assistance – a pledge of $20,000. This will help them to expand beyond Australia and increase confidence in meeting the minimum demanded quantity requirements of the sensors.
Willow is now available on Kickstarter with a limited lower starting price. The deadline to reach the funding goal is January 6, 2022. See more details here.
For more information, visit Plant With Willow’s website here.