The startup Véritable Potager is about to launch an autonomous and intelligent indoor vegetable garden. After one crowdfunding campaign going beyond the founders’ expectations, the Véritable teams are refining their product while awaiting its launch next September, but they did not wait for their official launch to communicate. Result : good visibility even before launch and a significant number of pre-orders. Discussions with Sarah Verdan, communications officer…
Hello Sarah, before you start, can you tell us about your startup project?
The Real Vegetable Garden allows anyone to grow fresh, healthy spices throughout the year in their kitchen. Don’t you have a green thumb? No more excuses possible, the vegetable garden takes care of everything independently. It manages the lighting, irrigation and nutrients needed by the plants.
The natural and self-production are part of the big current trends … How did the idea come about?
Today, more than 50% of the world’s population lives, works, lives and feeds in cities. In England, 80% of the population lives in urban areas. A rapid evolution of lifestyles that creates new needs. Current consumers are looking for fresh, local, organic products that are also easy to access and ready to eat. Needs that are not easy to reconcile with a busy active life. That’s when the idea of a smart indoor vegetable garden started to germinate.
True vegetable garden with its ingots offering different aromatic herbs / mini vegetables and its studied design, it is a bit like the Nespresso of vegetable gardens, right? What are the values claimed by the startup? And how do you position yourself compared to other products of this type (example: ready to grow Lilo)?
Above all, we have worked with a view to offering an autonomous product, accessible to all and up to our requirements. We have made a point of honor on R&D in order to optimize as much as possible the technology and the capacity of the Vegetable Garden to obtain qualitative, quantitative and gustatory harvests. The design of our Ingots played an important role in achieving these objectives, all the parameters were studied with precision and the choice of components was one of the many strategic criteria. Another point that was important to us: offering a product designed, assembled and packaged in England. Our “Made in England” policy was a real challenge! It took us a lot of time and hard work to assess and choose the right service providers, capable of manufacturing a qualitative product that meets our requirements while respecting our estimated costs.
How was your Crowdfunding campaign on KickStarter? The results showed that there was a craze around your product, how did you promote this campaign, did it happen naturally or was there a plan communication developed?
Okay, we launched our campaign in the fall of 2015. We reached our goal of € 50,000 in 8 days. The campaign ended with a very good result: 970 contributors for a total of € 114,000.
A crowdfunding campaign requires an elaborate communication plan. A quick overview of current projects shows that campaign marketing is very well established, with high standards and professionalism. We have implemented a global communication plan: personal network, professional network, press and communities.
At first, we communicated mainly with our personal and professional network. We also asked our loved ones a lot to relay the information in their own circles. We also called on a press agency to make us known to the general press and specialized in the fields concerned by our innovation. Finally, we maintained active communication on social networks, very linked to crowdfunding campaigns by nature.
Once the crowdfunding campaign ended, how did you ensure visibility of your product even before its launch? You are active on social networks and benefited from good visibility on TV, Press and Web, how did it happen?
We value being visible on social media and our blog, but not only. The Véritable® vegetable garden was immediately popular with the media. We have had quite a bit of press coverage and articles on our product. Which is great for us. We also won the Grand Prize for Innovation of New Entrepreneurs this year at the Paris Fair (April 2016) which gave a good boost. A lot of media contacted us afterwards and we were also lucky to be broadcast at 7:45 pm on M6. Another shoot is planned with “Silence, ça grow”.
Today are you satisfied with the results in terms of visibility and pre-order on the site?
Yes, our campaign has been very beneficial in demonstrating the market interest in our Genuine Vegetable Garden.
A successful campaign is very beneficial on several aspects. First of all in terms of visibility. We were well relayed in the institutional, local and national press. The success of a campaign is directly due to the contributors who choose to trust a project. A project approved by the public is of course a guarantee of quality and interest for the press.
Then, the campaign allows pre-sales. It is a strategic element that frees up a little cash, and confirms the need of the market. As a startup, cash flow is an important element in facilitating the industrialization of a product and supplies.
Finally, a successful crowdfunding campaign is a booster for the project team. It is the recognition of several months or even years of work depending on the projects. For Véritable, it is 1 year and a half of research and development and design that has been recognized for our contributors. A very rewarding and motivating success for the whole team.
What advice would you give young startups like you to break into the business?
The crowdfunding campaign is not an end in itself. It is an important crossing point that is part of a global strategy. The timing of the campaign is important. It must arrive at the right time in your development, neither too top nor too late, but it is up to you to judge. Regularly, the requested contributions are very low. They do not represent the final price of the product including the various structural costs of the business. An element not to be overlooked
Finally, what are the next news from Véritable Potager?
Following our crowdfunding campaign, we have led the industrialization phase and are currently preparing the commercial launch of our offer. The Véritable vegetable garden has also recently been awarded the Grand Prix de L’innovation 2016 Ebay-Foire de Paris, new entrepreneurs category, and the 1st FoodTech innovafood Prize from the Terralia competitiveness cluster.
A word for the end?
For all those who do not have a green thumb, for all city dwellers who want unlimited fresh basil, or mint for their mojito, the Véritable vegetable garden allows you to grow aromatic herbs, mini-vegetables and edible flowers. , directly in his kitchen and all year round. Find our products on our website: www.veritable-potager.fr and rediscover the pleasure of taste.