A year ago, Alastair Monk and Ramen Dutta had a seedling of an idea: If you can automate a home, why not a greenhouse?
The two entrepreneurs and residents of Sutton, in Quebec’s Eastern Townships, were not professional farmers by any stretch of the imagination — but they were hobby growers in the middle of Quebec’s breadbasket.
Dutta, an agricultural engineer, programmer and tinkerer, put together his first prototype of the connected greenhouse’s central nervous system last November. He called it the HUB, short for “huge, ugly box.”
Fast forward to today, and Monk and Dutta’s company, Motorleaf — a name inspired by British rock ‘n’ roll band Motörhead — is filling orders, meeting with major company bigwigs and is closing in on a $1 million seed investment round.
“A year ago, our objective was to see if what we had built should and could be made available to other indoor growers,” says Monk. “Since then our ambition has grown significantly, mostly in part because of our participation in the FounderFuel accelerator program.”