NEW YORK--Last December 1, Hardware Meetup featured talks from the founders of Grove, OneDrop and Boxee at the Microsoft offices.
Gabe Blanchet, CEO of Grove, showed how food lovers can grow food at home while--get this--fish swims below it. Yes, even it will fit in a cramped New York apartment .
Imagine an aquarium but with plants growing on top of it. But why fish? The fish process the food they are fed and produce ammonia-rich waste. Beneficial microbes convert the ammonia to nitrates (organic plant fertilizer), simultaneously supplying the plants with nutrients and the fish with clean water. No need for cleaning your tank.
Blanchet recounts how in its early adopter program, he and his team had 50 prototypes before they developed its current iteration,which was made from the startup’s own manufacturing facility, quite an ambitious project and the work shows. Grove even helps you from start to finish the way you it provides you the seeds, fish to add to your tank, and measure the health of your system. You can grow leafy greens, herbs and fruiting crops.
As of last December 1, Grove has already surpassed its targeted $100,000-Kickstarter crowdfunding goal with over $300,000.
Jeff Dachis of OneDrop Today came from the world of digital advertising, the hugely popular Razorfish but switched to designing a USB-like diabetic management device that come in eye-candy colors.
Dachis said 30 million Americans suffer diabetes and 5 million of them die every year. He hopes to empower 500M people with diabetes with the merging of both software (allowing diabetics to record experiences in restaurants to share with other diabetics) and hardware (giving them an device that makes it easy for them to live their life with the disease).
The default posting feature in its app is public because it wants to foster community-building and allow everyone to share personal behavior-based insights. Dachis is trying to switch mindsets and make managing the disease less intimidating for diabetics. Even the app allows for a personal stream of likes and stickers.
Idan Cohen, cofounder of Boxee before smart TVs were all the rage, talked about how his company got acquired by Samsung. He's one of the few hardware startup veterans in New York.
Korea’s Samsung reportedly agreed to pay about $30 million for his company. Boxee developed an interface which allows users to record and store content in the Cloud, providing easier access to Internet video content than other applications.
Could he have kept going with Boxee for 7 years that he was running it? He paused and thought it over before saying yes. It’s hard to give up your baby, after all .
“You have to deal with hardware, retail, distribution and a lot of other things,” he said.
What preoccupies him these days is close to what Grove is doing--growing produce.