A Journal exploring the value of plants and flowers
13-10-2017 Event

Incubation Programme 2: Selection Day

Words by Kelsey Lee Jones

Photos by Elisabeth Lanz

We’re running our Let it Grow Incubation Programme for the second consecutive year, following an exciting launch in 2016. This year’s Selection Day arrived on September 29th, during the first week of autumn. An inspiring day that brought together a new group of floriculture startups and entrepreneurs who are all working with plants and flowers in innovative ways. They were invited to pitch their creative ideas and projects at the suitably vibrant social-innovation space, Impact Hub in Amsterdam.

Head of Let it Grow Entrepreneurs, Irene Rompa hosted the event and warmly welcomed a group of seventeen promising applicants and teams. These hopefuls had been chosen from 69 applications (from 14 countries) who responded to a call for our second incubation. Rompa began her morning speech by talking of Let it Grow’s ambitions in bridging the gap between the start-up scene and a more conservative floriculture sector. She also reminded us to always look around, in order to “find the value in plants and flowers, as they can teach us about life”.

 

 

Rompa then went on to introduce the jury, another impressive line-up of floriculture insiders and experts. All thrilled to be part of the panel. Many entrepreneurial spirits were there to seek out the potential in all startups. The likes of Robbert van Geldrop, founder of the Dutch Lean Startup Circle; Katja Berkhout, founding Executive Director of Venture Café Rotterdam and Suzanne van Straaten, founder of Sprinklr, for example. As well as Let it Grow’s own, Silke Tijkotte and Robert Jan den Hollander.

An impressive and diverse string of pitches offered everything from a biophilic gym concept that brings the outdoors inside, designed by Biofit, green-fingered workshops by Mama Botanica’s vlogger platform, to Bloesembar’s alcoholic concoctions stirred up entirely from locally foraged flowers and herbs, as well clever app concepts for the tech-lovers among us. These including a plant identifier powered by artificial intelligence, designed by Overlap, and Phabit’s genius connection between plant growth, technology and our habitual behaviours. Many initiatives were inspired by making plant keeping at home easier and more beautiful, such as Bloombox Club, Blumixx, Lightovo and Studio Ayaskan.

After a midday walk through a green Oosterpark, the afternoon brought entrepreneurs and teams their chance for a round of 1-on-1 meetings with the jury. Their opportunity to further sell their ideas, explain concepts in more depth and show off their products or prototypes – all in hope of securing their place in ‘Class 2’, and the five-month incubator set to kick off at the end of October.

 

Our Incubation Programme (Class 2) will offer five months of invaluable training and 10,000 euros in seed funding. Participants will begin a journey in growing their businesses with us. They’ll receive weekly mentorship in everything from business model prototyping to growth hacking, pitching and more – all to take place at the coworking space of Freedom Lab, Amsterdam.

With thanks to our jury

Anne Claire van Altvorst, Bart Doorneweert, Harald Elderenbosch, Jeroen Brouwer, Katja Berkhout, Michael van Lier, Pyotr Young, Rene Voogt, Robbert van Geldrop, Robert Jan den Hollander, Ron Toet, Sarah Hagens, Siebe Lien Defesche, Silke Tijkotte, Suzanne van Straaten and Tom de Kleijn.

 

And of course, our applicants

Biofit, Bionicraft, BloemenStorm, Bloesembar, Blomsterkrans, Bloombox Club, Blumixx, Clorofille, Floral Innovations/Floraconcepts, Lightovo, Longbloom, Mama Botanica, Overlap, Phabit, PlantCircle, Studio Ayaskan Limited and The Flower Family.

 

Our eight final selections will be announced on Tuesday 17th October via Facebook.

Make sure to check back and follow the journey.