So You’ve Killed A Few Plants
Krado's Leaflet: The Future of Plant Care
Hi, I’m Emily, and I’m a plant serial killer. I’ve kept four children alive so far, but plants? They elude me. And I have a sneaking suspicion you, reader, can relate. But there is hope on the horizon my fellow botanic murderers!
You may recognize the name Krado from StartMadness—our pitch competition where they were crowned winner, or maybe you know the name from the Summer 2021 issue of Silicon Slopes Magazine. Maybe you just know them because they’re awesome. Whatever the reason, we think this company should be on your radar, and not only because they’ll help you avoid spending hard-earned cash on plants that you continually kill.
First a little back story on the co-founder and CEO, Eric Lo. Eric was getting ready for med school when he realized it wasn’t what he wanted to do. Pivot. He studied microbiology, published papers, and worked at a job he enjoyed until suddenly he hit a point where he couldn’t grow anymore. This “hit the ceiling” moment again prompted a pivot. Eric knew the future was technology-based, so he went ahead and got a master’s degree in computer science. No problem! Ready for action, Eric set out to change the world, and after noodling things over for a while decided that plants were the answer.
A lot has happened between then and now, including a $250K win in the StartMadness pitch competition, many many different iterations of the sensors, and a whole lot of work on their technology. Now Krado is ready to share the goods, and not only will this help plant owners, but also people and plants around the world.
The team at Krado has been on a journey in the last year, and it’s been such a pleasure to watch. Recently, they chose to launch a crowdfunding campaign on IndieGoGo to boost visibility and bring their product to people that might not have seen it yet. So what is the product you ask? It’s a clever plant care system called Leaflet.
Leaflet is powered by a 3D-printed sensor that you push into the soil of your plant’s pot. Using your Krado app, you take a picture of your plant, it automatically identifies it, and then loads plant data onto your sensor. Since the Leaflet sensor monitors your plant in real-time, their app can accurately tell you if your plant needs less sunlight, more humidity, less water, different nutrients, fertilizer, etc. Basically, the sensor gives you all the tools to become a plant nurturer, not a murderer. If your plants need a little extra care and food, Krado sends the necessary items right to your door. This is all included with your membership.
You put your sensor in your fiddle leaf fig plant in Cincinnati, Ohio, or in your philodendron in Leeds, England, and the sensor sends information about that plant back to Krado, adding to a huge database of plant info and furthering knowledge of plants and how they live in locations around the world. This data helps Krado give plant advice that’s even better, but it also helps us learn about plant behavior for agricultural purposes.
So just when you thought this was amazing, there are more things to make you fall in love with this company. At the top of the list: they care about the earth, a lot.
Krado is always about doing better, and that includes their packaging. They knew that printing on boxes using regular ink could be inhibitive to the recycling process, so they came up with a solution: laser etching. The problem was, no one was doing it.
“I loved the idea,” said Eric, “So I said, ‘ok let’s do it,’ and my team came back telling me it hasn’t been done that way, so I said, ‘well… what’s the problem?’”
Pioneering a new way is a Krado specialty. Eric and the Krado team went on to find a facility that could integrate lasers into the manufacturing process, and now their logo is beautifully etched in an earth-friendly and easier to recycle box. The lasers can literally etch hundreds of thousands of times and is a clean process-—one that anyone can use.
“When I talk about the laser process, I’m not going to keep the patent to myself," says Eric. "I want every company to do it this way and I’m not going to let patents stop people. We’ve paved this path and that’s the way we make a global impact and change.”
Krado means business, and they’re a company that walks the walk and talks the talk. Leaflet sensors are printed using eco-friendly 3D printing technology, which is much more sustainable than conventional manufacturing processes. If something goes wrong or the sensor becomes outdated, users send them back for repair and/or replacement, reducing e-waste. Krado also partners with innovative companies that share the same mission and values to provide organic fertilizers, soil, pesticides and more.
The team energy at Krado is excited and energized by the things that have come together along the way. Krado is a hardware, software, and data company all in one, and they’ve done incredible things in a short timeframe, both with a small budget and working internally with an excellent team.
“A few of us come from the biotech world and we hit roadblocks and worked on things that we knew could never see the light of day, and working on something that is actually making an impact is so gratifying,” says Eric. “Plants are awesome, and there is so much to learn.”
You can see more about Krado on their website and on the IndieGoGo campaign site. Working day and night on something you love is something Eric knows well, and he really means it when he says, “We have a bigger purpose in front of us.”