Miracle-Gro partners with tech entrepreneurs to create location-based gardening advice app
If the number of innovations we’ve come across that help homeowners start gardening inside and out – such as the easy-to-use Patch – is anything to go by, it may provide some proof that the grow-your-own trend is still in full bloom. Our latest spotting is Sprout It, an app that not only provides location-specific advice to green-fingered consumers, but also aims to raise awareness about a brand pivot for its sponsor.
The app was developed by Ohio-based Växa Design Group, an offshoot of the startup accelerator Founders Factory, founded by Brooke Paul. Users enter their zip code and the type of plants or vegetables they’ll be growing. The app then monitors the climate and weather predictions for that location and offers customized, dynamic growing instructions, advice, milestones and alerts to ensure gardeners get the best out of their plants.
Rather than charging for the app, the creators approached local gardening giant The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, which sponsors the project with in-app advertising. However, users aren’t bombarded with information about the company’s products at every turn, instead the sponsorship integration is tastefully done, according to reports. The app aims to primarily provide innovative tech to help gardeners, while Miracle-Gro provides the funding to make it happen in exchange for promotion as an eco-savvy, homely company. Paul explains: “They do have a whole line of organic products. I think that’s part of what we’re trying to accomplish, is education and awareness around that.”
While the collaboration could be seen as green washing – especially for a company with a less-than-clean environmental record – the business model is an example of young tech startups and larger brands helping each other out, and there is inspiration here for both.