LettUs Grow – Raising 29% of crowdfunding target in one week in the Better Bristol campaign!
19th April 2016
Recently joining the Better Bristol crowdfunding campaign to catalyse their idea, LettUs Grow are a Bristol-based start up business all about growing lettuce indoors and reducing food waste at the same time!
We caught up with Jack Farmer, the brains behind the innovative business.
"I’m sure that, like so many other people, the first emotion I felt last week after launching my start-up on Crowdfunder UK was a mixture of confusion and fear; “I just did what?!”
Despite this, it has turned out to be a great decision. Once you get through that initial “confused/scared” moment there is no better way to find helpful people than launching your idea. LettUs Grow have gotten so much support from the Bristol start-up scene that we never expected.
Ben, Charlie, and I, had been working on our start-up, LettUs Grow, for the last 7 months, taking our dream from concept to prototype. We received brilliant support from the University of Bristol and their SETsquared centre but always needed to take the next step.
At LettUs Grow we design attractive products using a blend of LED and hydroponic techniques that bring salad growing into the home. The mission is to reduce the 68% of salad bags that Tesco estimates we waste in the UK every year. At the same time, we can provide the freshest veg possible without taking up much space or time – perfect for fitting into a busy lifestyle.
Our interest was piqued when we attended a Better Bristol Crowdfunding workshop hosted by Bristol Green Capital Partnership and Crowdfunder Uk. We were later told of the opportunity to enter the Virgin Business competition “VOOM 2016”. Apparently we could win a variety of different prizes by collecting votes and pitch to Richard Branson. I’m listening…
We finally took that plunge after learning we could enter VOOM and run a crowdfunder campaign on the Better Bristol platform at the same time. The three of us knew that it was time to test the market for LettUs Grow products and crowdfunding was the perfect way to do this: maybe no-one would want them?
Since launching we’ve instead had a great response, raising 29% of our target in one week and climbing to near the top of the VOOM leader board. Crowdfunder UK, Bristol Green Capital Partnership and many of organisations within the Partnership network have been massively helpful - from initially offering us crowdfunding coaching through the Better Bristol campaign, promoting our idea and providing expert advice and information, and getting us to fly the flag for Bristol in this national competition.
If there’s one lesson I’d take from this crazy experience, it is that in order to make the most of the Bristol start-up scene you shouldn’t spend your whole time chasing grants or investment – take the idea out to the world and you’ll be amazed how many doors open!"
You can check out our crowdfunder page here: http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/lettus-grow/
Please vote for us in the Virgin Business VOOM competition here: https://www.vmbvoom.com/pitches/lettus-grow
Are you ready to turn your great idea into reality?
Build on an existing and exciting Bristol project or breath new funds into your organisation? Get started today and crowdfund for a #BetterBristol.
The Better Bristol campaign was set up in partnership with Crowdfunder UK to support and promote the activities of our 800+ member organisations as well as all those in the city with a passion for positive change.
Rewards-based crowdfunding enables people to raise the amount they need to get their idea off the ground by asking people to pledge money for items or experiences via a webpage which they create on an online crowdfunding platform.
Do you have an idea or an initiative that will help Bristol to become a low carbon city with a high quality of life for all?
- Add your initial project or idea online and we’ll be back in touch to offer guidance and support on the next steps. Visit www.crowdfunder.co.uk/better-bristol and select ‘Add your Project’
- Download a Better Bristol Fundraising pack with step-by-step guidance and tips
- Watch a webinar on Crowdfunding
Q & A with Jack
Tell us about your business in five words… Fresh Healthy Greens Grown Indoors
Why did you decide to crowdfund your entry?
"We wanted to gauge the public’s reaction to our products and it allows us to get pledges as well as votes."
How has crowdfunding helped your horticulture business, and your competition entry?
"We use state of the art technology to allow people to grow fresh produce but entering the competition has really focused our minds on what we need to do. We are using the competition to launch our first products."
What prompted you as a horticultural start up to enter the Virgin Media Business, #VOOM 2016 competition?
"It was an opportunity too good to miss. We are just starting out and it seemed like a great way to get feedback on our products."
How far do you want to get in the competition?
"We'd be very happy if we made it to the next round but we're keeping our fingers crossed we make it all the way."
Where do you want your business to be in five years?
"We would love to take this product to other parts of the world. This allows people to grow fresh food in an urban environment so we would love to be selling to major cities across the Far East and America."