horticure help you to keep your plants alive
Please introduce yourself and your startup horticure to our readers!
I am the founder of horticure, which is a marketplace for products and services related to potted plants. I was born in Nigeria, raised in America, and now call Berlin home for the last 3 years.
How did you get the idea of horticure?
I had the pain point of some of our customers living in highly urban cities: I loved plants and the effect they had on my mood and a space, so I found myself often in that cycle of going to IKEA and plant shops, picking up a load of plants, lugging them across the city on transport or in a taxi, hauling them up the stairs to my flat, setting them up and then… over time, forgetting to water them, then over-watering them, then going on holiday and coming back to a flat full of dead plants.
In my life I think I’ve done this horrid cycle at least 5-6 times! So, now we live in the world of “an Uber for everything”, where convenient services are simply an app or click away, and I realized pretty quickly there was a lack of this kind of service in the market, but a clear opportunity to add value to people’s lives with the introduction of one. And so in December of 2018, I officially launched horticure
Why did you decide to start with horticure?
Besides my excitement to address this pain point that many people have regarding keeping their houseplants alive, I am a serial entrepreneur. My first startup began literally in my dorm room at university; I built with two co-founders a fashion brand that sourced and sold vintage apparel and accessories to an international consumer base. We were featured in BusinessWeek’s 25 under 25 List, and sold that business after 5 years.
Then, my next company was a marketing and innovation agency I launched when living in NYC; we supported international venture-backed startups with their US go-to-market strategy, partnerships and marketing execution. Over 5 years, we worked with 100+ startups across Europe, Asia and South America, including one tech unicorn. So I knew I would build another company again, but it had to be the right idea at the right time.
What is the vision behind horticure?
Our long term vision is a world filled with healthier, greener indoor spaces. We currently spend 90% of our time indoors, whether that’s in a home, office or vehicle. So we fundamentally need greenery around us, to reconnect us with the nature that we otherwise have very little time for in our modern lives. Within that, horticure’s mission is to provide the knowledge, services and products that enable everyone to live a healthier, greener life indoors.
How difficult was the start and which challenges you had to overcome? horticure’s business is a managed services and products marketplace. As a marketplace, I need to manage liquidity on both the demand (consumers) and supply (service providers) side… and am doing that across several international cities, as horticure has been global from day 1. This has required a lot of trial and error, and thinking about the motivators, pains and gains for either side of the marketplace, in order to grow. As of October 2019, we’ve surpassed 500 bookings on the platform, and aim to double that before year-end.
Who is your target audience?
Great question! We see clearly now that there are two: there is the consumer who seeks ultra convenience in their lives, and they leverage various platforms to cut out tasks or decisions that take them too much time or that they simply don’t want to deal with. This is the customer who makes a pot of tea and relaxes while a horticure Plant Specialist repots her plants and trims away the yellow leaves. The other clear type is the DIY-hacker; they ultimately want to become a knowledgeable plant owner, but shortcut (or accelerate) their learning by having a horticure Plant Specialist guide them with personalized advice for their own plants. This customer makes use of both the virtual and at-home bookings to achieve this.
What is the USP of horticure?
We help our customers keep their plants alive, so they can enjoy them for longer.
Can you describe your typical workday?
horticure is a very operations driven business; I spend a good amount of time checking in on our service providers, addressing customer questions, accounting, and reviewing new applicants for the Plant Specialist team. horticure also happens to be part of two accelerators; one is run by Bosch and the other is from Google for Startups, with a focus on Female Founders. So, some days there are specific tasks, mentor check-ins and bootcamps related to this wonderful programs.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
There are 70 million households across Europe and the US with houseplants. I want to reach them all via knowledge resources, applications for daily plant maintenance, our services and products.
What 3 tips would you give to founders?
Build your sounding board from day one: that can include mentors, fellow founders, your early customers, etc. This “board” will be instrumental in refining your value proposition, particularly in those early days.
Be creative about growth and marketing. You most likely don’t have a big budget on day 1 for performance marketing and a PR agency, but consider out of the box ways to grab attention, along with the smart calls to action to help you capture that attention too.
Consider what kind of company culture you want, and build with that in mind as you go. It’s never too early to keep that in mind; I recently witnessed a company go from 5 employees to nearly 30 in a span of 6-8 months post funding, and there were challenges with communication and culture as those were not really defined before.
Image Credit Katja Hentschel
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Thank you Deborah Choi for the Interview
Statements of the author and the interviewee do not necessarily represent the editors and the publisher opinion again.