It's a little pricy, but an automated grow box by Israeli startup Seedo uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to optimize the growth of vegetables, herbs, flowers, and other medicinal plants, including marijuana. You can monitor your plants' growth — and watch it in high definition — via the mobile app. Why CO2 is Your Home Growing Best Friend What springs to mind when you think of CO2? Global Warming is probably pretty high on the list. One of the main causes of global warming and the effect What’s Going On With Cannabis Tech Darling Seedo? When Seedo Corp SEDO , an Israeli startup promising to fully automate cannabis home growing by using AI, released the first images of its home
Seedo is an A.I.-driven, self-contained grow box for plants of varying legality
The website for Seedo isn’t too far off from something you might have seen at the Home Depot. Their main product is a hermetically sealed grow box controlled and managed by artificial intelligence, employing machine learning technology, computer vision algorithms, and wholly enclosed systems including advanced lighting systems to nurture plants like herbs, flowers, or vegetables.
I moved to California recently from Colorado. It occurred to me, as it probably has occurred to you by now, that you could grow more than basil in these nifty little boxes.
To be less subtle, growing and using marijuana is legal in a whole bunch of states now, specifically 11 states for recreational marijuana (if you’re in one of those states, you probably know already, especially if you’ve been to a concert lately), in addition to 22 states who have recognized medical marijuana as a remedy for conditions such as PTSD, depression, and anxiety, in addition to a bunch of other conditions that are plaguing Americans right now, particularly veterans.
The industry is now using artificial intelligence and machine learning to grow pot, and Seedo even has a machine-learning agronomy database, similar to Tesla’s shared cloud database, which teaches all the Seedo grow boxes out there how to best grow high yielding and happy crops and share that data with other Seedo machines. That’s kind of a trip, so to speak.
For parental types, it also comes with a child lock that can only be locked or opened by the mobile app, which also keeps your crops safe from any other prying eyes.
The company’s product is pretty amazing, actually. You don’t have to grow marijuana (although that’s certainly an option according to what we’ve been told), but you can also grow herbs, vegetables, flowers, and more. But here’s the kicker: Regardless of what you decide to cultivate, Seedo’s weird little hydroponic box will increase your yield even more than if you grow it in your backyard.
It’s not cheap, so it’s a bit of an investment. If you buy directly from the Israel-based company, a Seedo will set you back $2,400, plus around $350 for shipping, although the company will take a $500 down payment with the remainder due upon delivery.
Along with the Seedo, you’ll also get a full growing kit that includes one nutrient package, two CO2 cylinders, one rockwool grow slab, an air filter, a water filter, and the app, which can be run on iOS or Android devices.
Why the app? In addition to monitoring things like water levels, you can literally watch your weed grow, in high definition no less. The device can grow up to five plants at once, and self manages everything your typical gardener might, including the climate, lighting and nutrient parameters to produce a significantly larger yield than traditional grows can produce. The Seedo also drastically speeds up grow times, while a successful operation can also be maintained in a small space — no more growing ditch weed under florescent lights in a closet in your basement.
It’s a little bigger than a mini-fridge; it weighs about 90 pounds or so before plants, uses 0.24 kilowatts per hour of power, and is around 40 inches high and 25 inches wide. The Seedo’s nutrition system was developed by a dedicated agronomist, and created especially for hydroponic growth within a relatively compact size. Owners will also be able to order extra consumables, such as CO2, nutrients, etc., from an online store that’s currently under construction.
So, whether you want to grow vegetables, fresh herbs or flowers, or just want to make an investment in growing something more medicinal, you could definitely do worse than an algorithm-oriented grow box that self-manages itself to grow plants that are big, strong, and plentiful, especially compared to more traditional environments.
Why CO2 is Your Home Growing Best Friend
What springs to mind when you think of CO2? Global Warming is probably pretty high on the list. One of the main causes of global warming and the effect it’s having on our earth is the rise of CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere.
The beauty of plants (one of many), is that they absorb harmful CO2 and use it to photosynthesize to produce energy, oxygen and plant cells. This is why forests and plants are known as ‘Green Lungs’, because they’re inhaling CO2 and giving us the oxygen that we breathe.
CO2 for Home Growing
It’s a well-known fact in the agricultural world that high concentrations of CO2 can improve the growth and yield of a crop. Greenhouse farmers have been doing it for years. How does it work? In high-light situations, supplying more CO2 allows your plants to use more of that light, which results in increased photosynthesis and therefore faster growth and bigger yields.
In a natural ‘outside’ atmosphere CO2 moves at around 400 ppm. However, it’s been shown that the herb plant can benefit from up to 3 times that, between 1200 – 1500 ppm.
The use of CO2 for most home growers, particularly if you’re just starting out, can be expensive (think hundreds of dollars for CO2 equipment alone!). But the obstacles don’t stop there. Actually putting the equipment together and using it effectively for CO2 enrichment is no easy task. In fact, it could end up being a complete waste of time and money.
This article by Grow Weed Easy gives you an in-depth look at how CO2 works.
How Can Seedo Help?
CO2 isn’t a magic formula that you can just increase and automatically see a bigger yield and faster growth. As with everything, it takes expertise and knowledge of how to use it. You’ll need to consider positioning, the right amount of light and timing.
Seedo is an automatic growing machine that initiates this whole process for you, without you even lifting a finger. It comes with both the hardware and software to utilize CO2 enrichment in exactly the same way a professional greenhouse grower does.
The results? You’ll get a bigger, more rewarding crop in a shorter space of time with Seedo raising the CO2 levels up to 12000 ppm. It’s all completely automatically, all you have to do is replace the CO2 cartridge when it runs out (2 supplied in your starter kit). The added benefit of the fully-sealed environment that Seedo provides, is that plants will be guaranteed adequate nutrients and to be free from pests. Think about how Seedo could make your home growing experience a ton easier before you jump into the world of CO2 DIY…we think you’ll agree it makes sense.
What’s Going On With Cannabis Tech Darling Seedo?
When Seedo Corp SEDO , an Israeli startup promising to fully automate cannabis home growing by using AI, released the first images of its home grow kit resembling a mini-fridge, the cannabis community went bonkers.
The concept of automated grow boxes was not entirely new, but Seedo has garnered attention since launching in 2013 with a slick design and cool explainer videos. Doubling down on its social media presence, the company sought endorsements and ultimately signed Snoop Dogg as a brand ambassador.
If you aint growin right you aint goin right get urself a #SEEDO and grow all ur greens the right way! plants, herbs, veggies, u name it!
go n get urs at https://t.co/FllcDaE0of #ad pic.twitter.com/V1RmpML40p
— Snoop Dogg (@SnoopDogg) December 9, 2019
But it’s not all roses in Seedo’s world: the company has had shake-ups in the C-suite and debt settlement of late. Customers now face the prospect of losing investments, and for some it’s for a device they have yet to receive.
The company began 2019 by touting its delivery of units to pre-sale consumers. By April, Seedo announced plans to produce an additional 1,800 units for the second quarter of the year. In July, the the company reported “outstanding results” from the initial home grows completed by pre-sale customers.
Seedo Customers Beg To Differ
Despite the hype and the company assuring that its product works wonders, reports of faulty devices and unfulfilled shipments have surfaced, with a number of complaints posted on Twitter, Facebook and the company’s Reddit subreddit page.
For instance, one customer posting on Reddit as rabbi-reefer reported “major problems, including leaks, pump failure, and connectivity issues,” adding that “users have lost entire grows due to machine failures.”
When Seedo did respond to customer complaints, the answers were not particularly satisfactory.
The company said refunds were taking longer than expected because “the multiple delays … in production, supplies and customer care, are also affecting the financial dept,” according to Reddit user rabbi-reefer.
The post said the company promised a refund in six to eight weeks.
Seedo’s CEO Responds
In early December, Zohar Levy, Seedo’s CEO and chairman, responded to inquiries from Benzinga.
Six months prior, Seedo began shipping devices to the first of its 3,000 pre-sale customers in the U.S., Canada and European Union, he said
The companyslowly ramped up manufacturing during 2019 with its third-party manufacturer in China, “trying to ensure product stability” as the device debuted in the market, the CEO said.
“We have moved forward with deliveries in the fastest possible manner despite unforeseen roadblocks such as the 30% Trump tax, with Seedo absorbing the whole tax cost,” Levy said.
Seedo has successfully delivered hundreds of devices and already has “satisfied clients who have already completed full grow cycles and are enthusiastic from the results,” he said.
As 2019 drew to a close, the company discovered “a fault in the production line” with its Chinese manufacturer, the CEO said.
“Because of this, there have been some customers who have received devices containing these manufacturer faults. These customers will of course receive replacement devices at the soonest possible time.”
As of December, Seedo had temporarily paused production in order to assess the issue and find a solution moving forward, Levy said.
The situation caused delays in Seedo’s estimated delivery times, both for new and replacement devices, he said.
“It is important to note that during our pre-sale campaign, we provided an estimated one-year shipping time to our early adopters but did not promise an exact date. We have done our best to keep our pre-sale customers updated on realistic shipping times despite the unforeseen delays.”
The CEO addressed customer service complaints and said Seedo recently reorganized its customer service team “after discovering inadequate timely service.”
The new team has been working dilligently to respond to all inquiries, Levy said, promising that any customer requesting a refund will receive one.
“As a startup company with an innovative product in a new market, we were lucky enough to have a large following and early adopters. As I’m sure you know, with this comes many challenges and we are constantly striving to achieve the best possible product and service for our loyal customer base.”
Mistakes have been made along the way, and Seedo is doing its best to communicate and fix these issues, the CEO said.
Since Levy made the comments to Benzinga, Seedo saw its CFO Uri Birenberg resign Dec. 9. The following day, Levy filed in an Israeli court for debt settlement, according to an SEC filing by Seedo.
The filing said the company’s wholly owned subsidiary Eroll Grow Tech Ltd., was in debt of roughly $20,609,827 and lacks the capital to continue operations.
Before Birenberg, a few board members also left the company.
Seedo In Limbo
The uncertainty of the company’s future leaves consumers in limbo, especially since many believe a closure of the company would mean the devices would stop working, as much of the data and software seems to be lodged in Seedo’s servers.
The fate of the company and its customers remains to be seen.
Investors are not as optimistic as they once were. Over-the-counter Seedo shares have tumbled from a the $1.85 level six months ago to the current price of 0.0600 cents per share.
Photos courtesy of Seedo.
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