London-based gardening tech start-up Sproutl has announced a $9million round of seed funding led by Index Ventures, with participation from Ada Ventures.
The investment will move Sproutl a step closer to its ambition of changing the online gardening landscape in the UK.
Led by Index Ventures (backers of Dropbox, Etsy, Farfetch, Patreon and Deliveroo), it’s complemented by investment from Ada Ventures (backers of Bubble and Huboo) and C-Suite angel investors from leading global tech companies, including Farfetch, Airbnb, Made.com and Slack.
The cash injection will be used to expand its team of gardening industry veterans and senior talent from leading consumer brands including Soho House Group, ASOS and Selfridges.
The firm has also launched a curated online marketplace that lets consumers access some of the best gardening products and plants from leading independent garden centres, nurseries and shops.
Gardening in the UK is experiencing something of a renaissance, with the Horticultural Trade Association estimating that the number of gardeners grew by three million last year, nearly half of whom were under 45.
GlobalData estimates that the boom shows no sign of stopping, with spending predicted to bloom by seven per cent this year.
Sproutl is designed to remove the from online selling for horticultural suppliers and integrate with their systems, while also creating a hassle-free shopping experience for consumers.
Sproutl manages logistics, packaging sourcing and delivery as well as online marketing and customer services, letting local garden centres, shops and nurseries reach new audiences and generate more sales.
Horticultural launch partners include Rosebourne, Polhill and Millbrook garden centres, as well as specialist nurseries such as Middleton and indoor plant specialist Bellr.
The seeds of Sproutl were sown in 2016 when Anni Noel-Johnson, former VP Trading and Strategy, Marketing at Farfetch, wanted to plant her small London garden.
After looking for an online option, she found they typically catered for an informed, mature audience and had huge variations in availability and delivery lead times.
After leaving Farfetch, over a coffee with former Farfetch colleague Andy Done, Sproutl was launched. Hollie Newton, an award-winning creative director who became a bestselling gardening author, was brought in as chief creative officer.
Anni Noel-Johnson, CEO, and Andy Done, CTO, said: “We built Sproutl to invite a new audience to take up gardening and give them the world-class eCommerce experience that digital natives expect. Our mission is to demystify growing plants and remove the barriers to getting started.
“We want to celebrate the UK’s brilliant horticultural industry and the network of family-owned and independent businesses, bringing their plants and products together in one place, generating incremental sales to new nationwide audiences.”