UGA mechanical engineering student Alex Breazu already has an impressive resume filled with internships and job at places like NCR, Nintendo, and the FAA. There is one job you won’t see on LinkedIn: proud “plant parent.” Yet it is that job that helped launch his latest entrepreneurial endeavor, Plantfi.
Like an estimated seven in ten young people in America, Breazu’s love of houseplants grew over the last few years. He has some favorites in his collection, like a monstera deliciosa that’s grown to be over four-feet tall. But he’s also had his fair share of experience with potted plants dying.
That’s a very common problem for “plant parents” trying to keep various species alive and thriving in one house. But as Breazu discovered the hard way, there isn’t a solid tech solution out there to help plant enthusiasts understand what’s going on with each plant.
“I tried various solutions that I found online but none of them helped my plants. After thinking through the problem for a while, I realized that I could use my skillsets in software and mechanical engineering to build a solution that would help me better understand how my plants were doing,” he told Hypepotamus.
Breazu got to work and over the course of a few days put together a prototype for Plantfi, an app and monitoring sensor that tracks plant moisture, sunlight and overall houseplant health to help make “plant parenting” easier.
In the early stage, Breazu is hyperfocused on making a product that is designed with houseplant enthusiasts in mind.
“After reading through and understanding [competitors’] businesses, I noted that most of them were tech-savvy individuals who were too focused on technology and less focused on what the product’s goal was. I would say that I differentiate myself from that by focusing more on who the target audience is and what a product like this could do to help them,” he added. “Technology has obviously been a priority as well but without understanding the customer, it is impossible to understand how the product can work for them.”
A Vision For Plantfi
Breazu has been part of the UGA entrepreneurial ecosystem since freshman year when he joined the living-learning community First-Year Launch Pad Program. Now with just a month until graduation, he’s ending his college career on a high note with a win at UGA’s FABricate Entrepreneurial Initiative, a competition held within the College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences.
Taking home the top prize of $10,000, Breazu will spend the summer supporting its beta testing efforts.
“The hope is that beta testers incorporate the Plantfi hardware and software into their life, use it, and stress test it. Once the beta testing period is done, any feedback from the testers will be compiled and adjustments will be made before releasing the product fully, hopefully after the end of the summer,” he added.
It will be a busy couple of months for Breazu. On top of graduating and launching Plantfi’s beta testing program, he’s set to join Bloomberg as a software engineer in New York.
Want to follow along with Breazu’s journey? Want to be part of Plantfi’s beta test this summer? Here are some important links: