By Ryan Waldrep, Assistant Director for Entrepreneur and Small Business Development
Small Business Spotlight | Fulton County | Region 3
New Year’s Day is full of traditions. Turnip greens and black-eyed peas are supposed to bring fortune and luck during the coming year. My grandmother always said not to do laundry on New Year’s Day. And bowl games on TV from noon until you can’t keep your eyes open any longer. But then there is the king of all New Year’s traditions: the New Year’s Resolution.
Most people make some sort of resolution at the beginning of the New Year. Maybe it is to save more and spend less, start a new hobby, or eat healthily and be more fit.
Last year, 21% of people surveyed said that they wanted to increase their fitness and lose weight. But studies show that 80% of all New Year’s resolutions fail by February.
Replantable has developed a new line of home gardens called the Nanofarm. The concept was developed by Georgia Tech students Ruwan Subasinghe and Alex Weiss as they were searching for a way to provide fresh ingredients at home. They noticed that store-bought salads and produce didn’t seem to last very long, even when stored under ideal conditions.
The two began experimenting with hydroponics as a way to grow fresh microgreens, spinach and other leafy greens, and a prototype was developed. However, the unit was too tall and required a significant amount of work for the end user. “We looked at what was happening with the urban farm industry,” Ruwan stated. “And we wanted to develop a kitchen appliance could grow food automatically.”
The pair discovered a program at Georgia Tech called Start-Up Launch. This intense class offered the duo access to mentors, seed capital opportunities, and attorneys to assist with patents and regulatory filings. Start-Up Launch became their turning point.
Replantable received significant support from the Georgia Centers of Innovation as they worked to refine and develop their product. From this assistance, Replantable was able to take their prototype to market and began a crowd funding campaign where they reached 120% of their goal.
Through contacts made during the summer, Replantable was able to redesign their prototype to automate many of the tasks required to maintain the unit, such as watering and fertilizing. Because of the new automated features, they were able to redesign the Nanofarm and create a unit that was both functional and eye-pleasing in any kitchen environment.
The Nanofarm is truly user-friendly. Plug in the efficient LED light source, add water and a Plant Pad, and you’ll be harvesting fresh herbs, microgreens and lettuce in no time. Plant Pads come in 31 different varieties and are made of recycled pulp, cellulose and wax, and contain all of the seeds and nutrients plants need to grow. They are biodegradable, so after the plants are harvested, the Plant Pad can be thrown away or composted and a new one easily inserted.
The Nanofarm was not just designed in Atlanta but also produced by a small manufacturing company in the area. By using a local manufacturer instead of an overseas provider, Ruwan and Alex were able to manage the process and answer questions as they arose in real time.
“[Having our product designed and manufactured in Georgia] gives us more control in the manufacturing process.” – Ruwan Subasinghe, Co-founder of Replantable
The Nanofarm is available in one consumer model which can be stacked up to four units high. There is also a larger professional model designed for restaurant use.
Got a Small Business question? Start the conversation! Contact Ryan Waldrep, Assistant Director for Entrepreneur and Small Business Development, at (404) 877-8406 or firstname.lastname@example.org.