Sproutl is a unique gardening startup that links gardeners with resources for growing plants and learning more bout the specifics of gardening. The company provides a marketplace for gardeners. It's making a positive impression, particularly for those who have been homebound thanks to the shutdowns due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Gardeners appreciate the plethora of resources they're exposed to through the site. If you're not familiar with the company, here are 20 things you probably didn't know about Sproutl that you might find interesting and even useful.
1. Sproutl is a UK-based startup
According to Crunchbase, Sproutl is a resource for gardeners who live in the United Kingdom. The headquarters of the company is located in London, England. It is a marketplace that provides a one-stop-shop for gardeners who are looking for resources and products found at local garden centers, nurseries, and shops. So far, the startup is limited to serving those who are living in the United Kingdom.
2. Sproutl is a brand new company
Sproutl was founded in 2020. It is only a year into its operations, but it is doing remarkably well in the short time since the business launched. The founders are Andy Done and Anni Noel-Johnson. Technically, it is considered a young company, but it has reached a level of popularity and success that is uncommon for its time in business.
3. Sproutl is run by a small executive leadership team
The executive leadership team at Sproutl is remarkably small, yet it is effective. It is comprised of the two co-founders/owners of the startup. Andy Done is co-founder and also serves as the chief technology officer of Sproutl. Anni Noel-Johnson is co-founder and chief executive officer of the company. The pair are calling the shots for the running of the business.
4. Sproutl has attracted two investors
Sproutl is a venture capital-backed company. So far, it has participated in just one round of VC funding. It raised 6.5 million in British pounds which is the equivalent of $9 million in USD from a Seed round of fundraising that closed on July 26, 2021. The founders were fortunate to attract the attention of wealthy investors so early in the development of their business. At a time when many new companies are facing their make-or-break moments, Sproutl was busy developing strategic plans to spend the millions in investment funds that it received.
5. The founders are first-time entrepreneurs
According to Techcrunch, Both Done and Noel-Johnson are first-timers when it comes to being business owners. This is the first business for each of them. Neither has prior experience in launching a new company, but they do bring years of work experience that has helped them know what to do to achieve success.
6. Sproutl's Marketplace is all-inclusive
The founders of Sproutl were brilliant in planning the products and services that their marketplace offers. Sproutl contains links and resources for everything that Gardeners in the United Kingdom could need. The list of items available through the marketplace has been carefully curated for relevance, as well as the resources for advice about the various aspects of gardening, along with inspiration to give viewers some great ideas.
7. Sproutl's investors have high confidence in the startup
Sproutl's owners are fortunate to have secured the confidence of two major investors. Their pitch was successful and Index Ventures jumped on the opportunity to get in on the ground floor of investing in the business. Index Ventures is a San Francisco, California, US-based venture capital firm that funds bold ideas of entrepreneurs to turn them into global businesses. Since this is the type of company they prefer to support, we can assume that this is the direction that Sproutl will eventually take, expanding outside of the UK into other parts of the world. Index Ventures has made 953 investments with 209 exits.
8. Sproutl is destined to become a global enterprise
The second investor in Sproutl is Ada Ventures. This is a venture capital fund based in London, England that is backed by a group of global, mission-aligned investors and entrepreneurs. So far the firm has made 12 investments. This cements the assumption that Sproutl is destined to become a global enterprise.
9. Sproutl started as a tiny garden
When Anni Noel-Johnson first thought about Sproutl, she had a full-time job and a family with young children. She was a busy woman with a lot of responsibilities. She and her partner bought a London flat with a small garden. She had trouble sorting out the garden space with no knowledge of how to proceed. She couldn't find any good resources to help her know what to do about the patch. She realized that in the UK there was a deficit of easy solutions and advisement for amateur gardeners, so she did something about it. She launched Sproutl as a place where new gardeners could come and find all the resources they would need.
10. Anni created an online resource for busy gardeners
Anni found a lot of available resources, but most required customers to physically go to the stores to make their purchases. She worked with vendors to select items that would be offered in an online marketplace for shipment. This was a major undertaking but it was necessary to add the convenience feature for people who didn't have the time to hunt for gardening resources much less drive to the retailers to purchase them. Anni creates an e-commerce operation and through Sproutl, she takes full responsibility for the logistics including packaging, sourcing, and delivery of the goods.
11. Sproutl is forging partnerships
Noel-Johnson has been busy forming new agreements with businesses for inclusion in the Sproutl marketplace. It's a beneficial situation for all parties. The companies that work with her get to sell their products and services online without any hassles, and the people who use the Sproutl website have access to the goods that they offer in a convenient online setting. It's a win-win situation for all parties involved.
12. Sproutl has a vast supply of goods
We also learned that the Sproutl marketplace offers its customer a large variety of gardening essentials, pots, outdoor plants, indoor plants, outdoor living products, and more. Some of the partners that list their goods on the marketplace include Horticus, Fertile Fibre, Bellr, Middleton, Millbrook, Polhill, Roebourne, and more.
13. Both founders worked for Farfetch
Anni Noel-Johnson and Andy Done were both employed at a company called Farfetch. Anni was a busy executive and served as the vice president of trading and strategy for the company. Andy was a director of data engineering for the firm. They were both busy professionals when they got the idea to strike out on their own with their new business venture Sproutl.
14. Sproutl hired an expert in gardening
Anni shared that Sproutl has hired an expert in gardening who is also a published author, to help them out. Hollie Newton, who wrote a best-selling book on gardening titled "How to Grow, has been retained by the company as the chief creative officer. She will join the executive team as the young company begins its growth and expansion. Newton is the third member of the executive leadership team and Noel-Johnson shared that she will be a key team member to help the startup gain its traction as it navigates through the early stages of development.
15. Sproutl has a healthy growth strategy
Sproutl plans to continue to bolster the amount of content that is featured on its marketplace. It's massive now, but there will be a lot more. Noel-Johnson and Done are continuing to mine new content and products for the site to cover everything related to gardening including products, services, and tutorials. The company recently released a jargon buster to help people become more familiar with gardening terms. It's a place where new and seasoned gardeners can go to find products, get ideas, and learn new things relevant to gardening. It's going to offer a lot of advice on the thousands of gardening topics out there, but it takes time to amass the information. It's likely to continue to evolve for a long time in the future. Sproutl is looking at ways to build a loyal customer base. It's an exciting time for the new company as funding is pouring in and fresh new ideas for growth and development are taking shape.
16. Done and Noel-Johnson are former colleagues
According to iNews, Anni Noel-Johnson and Andy Done are not married. They worked together at Farfetch. They are former colleagues who got on well together and have good work chemistry together. They incorporated Sproutl in February of 2020, just a month ahead of the lockdown from Covid-19, which presented some unique challenges. They were able to move beyond the obstacles to launch and grow a successful company.
17. The Pandemic has enhanced business success
The lockdown was a rough time for new companies with the difficulty in getting together with key potential partners. It presented some unique challenges as it created the need to conduct most of the new startups business and negotiations in an online environment. The first 18 months in the industry have been challenging for the co-founders, with a demand for products that have been up and down. However, the lockdown resulted in a younger generation, at home, bored, and looking for something to do with their time. During the lockdown, it is estimated by The Horticultural Trade Association that there were 3 million new gardeners with about half under the age of 45. These statistics provided useful information for the couple to target their audience with information and products tailored to meet their needs. At the end of the day, the pandemic created an idyllic situation for an online e-commerce marketplace, with more people showing interest in the services provided. It may have been tougher to conduct the business of arranging partnerships, but it's all worked out well.
18. Sproutl is a privately held business
You won't be able to find shares of Sproutl stock available on any of the public stock exchanges. It hasn't filed for an IPO. It's a privately owned company. The new startup has scarcely been in business for a year, but it has done well with its VC fundraising efforts and has no need to take the company public. This is a conversation that is likely to happen far into the future and will be held between the owners and their investors if it becomes a viable choice. For now, only private investors can get in on the ground floor of Sproutl.
19. Sproutl's website is already packed with useful information
We took a tour of the Sproutl website to learn more about this fascinating startup and we were impressed with what we found. The website contains useful links to gardening information that is easy to navigate to find about any topic you can think of. There are sections on Herbs, Perennials Foliage, Flowering shrubs, Roses, Trees, and much more. Each topic is broken down into smaller categories and the information contained on the website is so massive that one could practically become an expert by reading the content.
20. Sproutl is a company to keep your eye on
Although Sproutl is a startup that is still in its infancy, we predict it's going to go far. With a nice starting stake of $9 million, it's off to a good start. It will be interesting to check in on the progress of Sproutl a year from now. Although it's not yet a publicly-traded company, it wouldn't surprise us to see it go that direction in a few years. If you're a beginning gardener who lives in the United Kingdom, it's a must-see, and if you're an investor, you might want to check in from time to time should the owners decide to offer shares in a public exchange.
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Written by Dana Hanson
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