“To me it seemed weird that nobody wanted to take the benefits of vertical farming directly to consumers”

Agrilution is a German agtech supplier of personal vertical farming growing cabinets founded by Max Loessl and Philipp Wagner. Together with Miele, a German premium kitchen appliances supplier, Agrilution builds and sells growing cabinets, called ‘Plantcubes’ that are integrated into kitchens or living areas. The strategic partnership with Miele helped to scale the company. The success shows since Agrilution has 70 employees and counting today. Recently, the Munich-based company launched its second product which is a stand-alone growing cabinet: the Plantcube Living.

“We always want success for home growers so we don’t have to let someone down ever. It has taken us a very long time to succeed in doing this, however, we can now offer a guaranteed result for every user,” says Max Loessl, co-founder and CEO at Agrilution.


Max Loessl

Accessibility for everyone
“Ever since the launch of our first product, we’ve been trying to reduce the price to make this product accessible for more people. With our new Plantcube Living we created a smart product with an appealing design easily be integrated into any home environment – not only for the kitchen. The stand-alone solution is offered at a price point starting at €999 making it affordable to a wider audience”. 

According to Max, the new product was evolved taking into consideration its users' feedback over the last couple of years. Since the Plantcube Living can be placed anywhere inside the house, it gives ultimate flexibility to the interior design of any home. A smart light system guarantees that users don’t have to worry to be blinded by bright lights in the evening. It is filtered by reflecting 90% of the light back to the plants, to not lose efficiency.

The development was not only based on R&D data out of our lab, but we were also able to use real-time plant data from our users which accelerated the process even more.


The Plantcube Living

All the way to Agrilution
When Max lived in China in his youth, he had seen lots of poverty and people that lacked access to fresh food and water. As that made a huge impact on him, Max later started working for Greenpeace in New Zealand. After that, Max decided to study International Food and Agribusiness in the Netherlands.

Once introduced to vertical farming, Max had found his passion and direction to contribute to the food supply of the future. He started to reach out to many people, discussing the opportunities and then founded the Association for Vertical Farming together with  Christine Zimmermann-Loessl. The AVF reached out to suppliers, farmers and other stakeholders of the industry - and slowly the network grew.

“Through the AVF I got to know the market much better. I saw two particular trends happening: A R&D focus and an industrial application focus. To me it seemed weird that nobody wanted to take the benefits of vertical farming directly to consumers.”

That’s how Max rolled into developing a growing cabinet and together with Philip he founded Agrilution. After that, Christine took over full responsibility at the AVF. In 2014, Agrilution began to raise its first money in order to fund its first growing cabinet prototype. After raising close to €10 million over the years the founders built an interdisciplinary team with a focus on R&D and launched their first product beginning of 2019: the Plantcube Kitchen. “We soon merged with Miele, which was a great step and support for growing our business being able to use the huge know-how of this well-established company of highest reputation,” says Max.

Ever since the beginning of 2021, demand increased drastically as sales have gone up 300% in comparison to previous years. Max believes that it has to do with people being more aware of their personal health and the relation to their food intake. Having a food growing device with a controlled environment at home provides users with healthy and utmost fresh greens – all year round.

Automatic crop recipes
Since each Plantcube is connected with the Agrilution cloud – AI helps to calculate the most suitable ‘crop recipe’ in terms of light, climate and water creating a permanent perfect spring day. Once the user has chosen her favorite greens, all it takes is to scan the Seedbars with the App and place them into the Plantcube. All the rest happens automatically. Harvest time, water, or nutrition supply are comfortably indicated on the App if necessary.

The Plantcubes offer space to grow a total of 18 different plants on two separate levels. It allows a very individual nutrition plan with the most extraordinary herbs or simply the most liked ones.

Four different product lines
There’s a wide variety of over 40 different plants to choose from assorted in four different lines. One, is the essentials, such as basil, arugula, or lettuce. Then there’s the daily line that includes simple dishes such as pesto, stir fry, or smoothie ingredients.

As well as the balance line, that allows users to grow herbal teas and infusions to calm down after a stressful day, for digestion, as an immune booster to name a few. Last but not least, there’s the chef’s line which are unique and special herbs and microgreens that cannot be found in retail channels. Soon, the company will be launching a new line that includes fruits but also vegetables such as tomatoes and chilies as well.

Features
The cabinet is internet-connected, ensuring that any updates can be pushed over at any time, to increase efficiency or add new plant recipes that will help improve the taste. There’s an app that allows users to control the personal vertical farming device, alongside growing tips and tricks. Besides that, recipe suggestions in the App are made in cooperation with Kptn Cook App (the leading European recipe platform and app) on products that are growing inside.

Whilst the Plantcube Kitchen is 60cm deep, 60cm wide and 85cm high to be perfectly integrated into kitchen furniture, the Plantube Living is 1.20cm high, 40cm deep, and 60cm wide. The team aimed to reduce the depth to smoothly integrate it in the room without standing out so much.

For more information:
Max Loessl, Co-founder and CEO
Agrilution
www.agrilution.com 

 


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