Just less than three years ago from getting their Kickstarter supported Niwa One smart garden to market, both co-founders of Niwa, Javier Morillas and Zachary Damato had a difficult decision to make. Do they redesign their smart garden or do they take a completely left turn and enter the ever expanding cannabis industry with a different type of automated product? After some thoughtful discussion, it was time, yet again, for them to take a leap of faith and commit to an unknown path forwards.
The first product, the Niwa One, was well received but didn’t serve the needs of some hydroponic growers as strongly as they wanted, so creating a product that was more of a tool for hydroponic growers was one of the driving factors behind the Niwa Grow Hub concept. According to research conducted by New Frontier Data, the overall U.S. cannabis market is valued at $20B with an expected growth of $21.5B by 2025 which is largely due to the legalization of cannabis in different states. Each state has different laws, however, most states incorporate a level of legal home cultivation which can lead to an increase in consumers of cannabis becoming home growers. This is the bet the Niwa team is making with the Niwa Grow Hub and the growth of the home grower.
Additionally, according to an April PRNewswire article, ‘In the U.S., flower accounts for a majority of total annual sales, reaching roughly $11B in 2021 with projected growth to $12B in 2022.’
Prior to launching the Niwa Grow Hub, the Niwa team spent months interviewing growers, visiting hydroponics stores and speaking to experts in the industry. Even though they created automated products in the past, the behavior of a home grower using a smart controller vs an all-in-one system is completely different. Additionally, they learned quickly, the trust level a cannabis home grower must have with his/her equipment should be at a super high level. This is something the two Niwa founders don’t take for granted.
Sticking with the mindset they had with the Niwa One of creating ‘simple plug-n-play automated products’, and after about many months of diligence, the Niwa Grow Hub was in the market. Becoming a home grower can add up in cost, that is, if you want more of an automated setup. There are, of course, cheaper DIY options for growing cannabis at home so it is not always costly to get set up. For Niwa, it was important to create an affordable and simple to use software that is reliable and gives growers a great experience via their Niwa Grow Hub app.
For all the home growers out there, the Niwa Grow Hub is a four-outlet smart controller with a sensor system that collects information on your temperature, humidity and light levels and will turn different pieces of equipment on and off such as your lights, fans, watering pump, heater, A/C, humidifier and dehumidifiers all depending on a grower’s desired climate. A grower can also customize their scheduling for their lights and watering pumps and access their data real-time based on what is happening in their grow at that very minute as well as historical data in addition to alarms and notifications.
To this day, their team continues to work with professional growers to continue learning the different expectations a grower has for a smart software. Their team mentioned how important the feedback process is to their product development and they consider themselves as ‘facilitators’ and looking forward to expanding the Niwa Grow Hub platform for all types of cannabis home growers and setups.
Their Niwa Grow Hub is now available and their team is constantly adding new features via free software updates. If you want to learn more (or if you have an idea) you can send them a message at [email protected] and visit their website for more information.