Canopy Alumni, Mason Levy and Rodolfo Ramirez, sold their company, WeGrow, to VividGro. Levy began working on the WeGrow in July 2015, with the goal of creating an educational platform for home growers. After realizing the popularity and effectiveness of cannabis as medicine, Levy began wondering why more patients weren’t growing their own medicine - afterall, cannabis grows naturally on every continent but Antarctica. What he found was a knowledge barrier. At the time, the only real educational resources on growing were large, expensive and technical books and internet resources which were unreliable and living in the dark ages. Always interested in how to engage people through consumer technology, Levy incorporated in December 2015 and began recruiting like-minded individuals to take part in building the WeGrow platform with the goal of eliminating the knowledge barrier and empowering consumers.
The WeGrow app uses swivl’s engagement platform (another company founded by Levy and run by Ramirez and other team members) to create a conversational resource for all things home growing. Users essentially gain 24/7 access to a master grower, chatting with swivl bot, Elle, whenever they need. The technology uses artificial intelligence, machine learning and a deep library of content to give the gardeners proactive, contextual information about everything from how to achieve the right pH level to how photosynthesis works.
So how does a company go from idea to acquired in 2 years? Well, Levy explains that as an entrepreneur, he’s always thinking about how to return value to shareholders. Early on, there were different ideas on how it would go. The team had thrown around the idea of going public or selling to a large horticultural company looking to establish itself as a leader in the space. “It’s not something I expected to happen in a year and a half or 2 years”, Levy explains, “but we were always looking to sell to someone in the general horticultural realm”.
Levy and the WeGrow team got their wish this month when Rhode Island-based LED company, VividGro purchased them. The acquisition is an obvious move for the lighting company as it aims to move away from being purely an equipment provider toward becoming a leader in the AgTech space. Beyond the vast array of content VividGro can now offer to customers, WeGrow provides the company with a great jumping off point for a broader platform play, all tied together through the common interface and chatbot powered by swivl.
So what’s next for the dream team? Levy and his team aren’t shying away from the rapid growth in the cannabis industry. The wave of legalization in the US gives Levy and swivl the opportunity to expand their focus beyond growing the cannabis plant. The team will continue WeGrow (through VividGro) as a partner, expanding upon the technology and educating the horticulture market from home gardeners to commercial cultivators. Keep an eye on the team as they take their engagement technology to other verticals, securing partnerships in Horticulture, Fashion, HR, Automated Retail and Compliance. The sky is the limit!
Congratulations to the WeGrow team!