Device helps consumers to grow house plants

Aabesh De admits he is the last person you would expect to launch a plant startup. De has killed every plant imaginable, he explains, including his mother's prized Jasmine plant, which was handed down to him and had lived for years. "After a week I ended up killing that plant," De said. "I have horticultural hopelessness to a T."

But his ineptitude for greenery is what inspired him to start Flora, a smart sensor and app that gives you more information about your plants and how to keep them alive. The company started as a passion project for De at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, as he and many other Americans turned to houseplants during lockdown. Two months ago, he left his job at Microsoft to jump into Flora full time.

The idea is simple: to create a hardware device that tells you exactly what your plant needs, from temperature, humidity, moisture, and lighting conditions, and an app that gives you alerts and other information to stay on top of it all.

"I was looking for a tech solution that would tell me exactly what I needed to do," said De, who is now the owner of more than 60 houseplants. "There really wasn’t anything that was like a Fitbit for plants."

The startup is planning some unique features for its plant-care platform, including a gamification element that rewards users for properly caring for their plants. It is also eyeing a B2B offering down the road to sell to farms and other professional indoor gardeners. Flora will retail for around $60, De said, and decrease in price the more you buy.

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