Westchester Natives Crowdfunding Innovative Indoor Hydroponic Grower

Like the sound of growing greens, vegetables, and eatable flowers right in your kitchen? Eric De Feo and Brielle Pettinelli have a week and a half to raise $75,000 to make it a reality.

How did you settle on $75,000 as a goal?

We had to come up with a number that would make sense to move into manufacturing; $75,000 covers the cost of manufacturing tooling for a minimum of 250 units. We are in the process of securing more capital to cover payroll, overhead, and other business expenses.

How are you getting the word out about your campaign?

Initially, our newsletter subscribers (and fans) were phenomenal supporters, and for that we gave early access to presales of ROOT. We are so grateful to receive early media attention from well-known tech and design blogs such as “DesignBoom,” CNET, and The Atlantic’s “CityLab” blog. Our next step is to expand our Facebook ad presence, as that is where a large number of contributions have come from.

Has it proved as effective as you anticipated (two weeks out, are you where you thought you’d be funding-wise)?

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We have certainly met challenges when it comes to campaign funding, possibly related to the time of year/holidays. However, it is also a time of year when people are reflecting and looking for a way to give back.  And by funding ROOT, people will be able to grow their own produce while supporting Ohneka’s larger mission of developing sustainable food economies.

Crowdfunding is still a relatively new concept, so in addition to educating people about ROOT, we find ourselves having to explain how crowdfunding works. Once they learn about it, they find it's an exciting way to make great ideas come to life. After garnering 30 percent of contributions from friends, family, and Indiegogo traffic, we are finding that early adopters—those who support young companies and new technologies—will carry us through the next funding stage. So we plan to spend the remainder of the campaign targeting those early adopters interested in health and wellness.

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