Hexagro is an innovative urban farming platform that promotes and facilitates the practice of urban farming with soilless cultivation methods, enabling individuals to grow and enjoy nutritious food anywhere. Their platform products utilize advanced vertical farming technology, along with modular vertical gardens and IoT software, to grow a wide variety of healthy plants in limited urban spaces. 

By offering a user-friendly and engaging farming experience, Hexagro empowers its community of users to effortlessly grow their own food and improve their skills as urban farmers. 

Interview with Felipe Hernàndez, CEO & Lead Design at Hexagro.

Easy Engineering: What are the main areas of activity of the company?

Felipe Hernàndez: Hexagro’s primary focus is to promote and encourage the widespread adoption of sustainable urban agriculture. We achieve this by increasing the accessibility of state-of-the-art vertical farming technologies within urban environments. Our company specializes in the development of advanced cultivation methods, such as hydroponics and aeroponics, which enable individuals to grow food in compact spaces. We offer different types of modular hardware that adapt to various use cases.

To enhance the functionality of our modular hardware, we integrate IoT software. This software allows users to remotely monitor and control different aspects of their cultivation, including irrigation and lighting. By enabling remote management, we significantly reduce the need for frequent maintenance.

At Hexagro, we are dedicated to educating and empowering a new generation of urban farmers. We develop educational tools and foster a community of users, providing them with the resources to enhance their farming experience. Our aim is to create a sense of community among like-minded individuals, facilitating knowledge sharing and collaboration.

Furthermore, we strive to make a positive impact on the food system. We achieve this by promoting local food production, which reduces waste and minimizes the need for long-distance logistics. Additionally, we aim to scale up our cultivation systems with our social project Siembra Vertical to empower small farmers in Colombia. Through these initiatives, we aim to transform the way food is produced and consumed, making it more sustainable and accessible to all.

E.E: What’s the news about new products?

F.H: Over the past two years, we have successfully launched and distributed Poty, an easy-to-use, modular, and compact vertical farm. To date, we have sold approximately 4,000 units of this innovative product. We are preparing to introduce the new version of the Poty product line by the end of September this year through a crowdfunding campaign. This updated version will incorporate new features that enhance the user experience and improve the quality of results for our customers.

In addition to the Poty vertical farm, we are actively working on the industrialization process of another product line called the Living Farming Tree. This unique experience is specifically designed to address commercial spaces such as offices and hotels. The Living Farming Tree aims to provide interactive and social experiences by enabling indoor farming. Its stylish design not only enhances the environment, but also contributes to increased well-being. We anticipate completing the industrialization process for this product line next year.

Our commitment to continuous innovation and customer satisfaction drives us to develop cutting-edge solutions that revolutionize the way people engage with urban agriculture. By providing accessible and aesthetically pleasing options for individuals and commercial settings, we strive to create a positive impact on well-being, environment, and the overall experience of cultivating fresh produce.

E.E: What are the ranges of products?

F.H: We provide holistic solutions encompassing hardware, software, and customer services to facilitate and expand the adoption of urban farming. Currently, we offer two distinct lines of modular hardware products: Poty and the Living Farming Tree, as mentioned earlier. However, our approach goes beyond these specific products.

Thanks to our product-service platform approach, we have a range of modular hardware products in the pipeline, each manufactured by different companies. These products are adapted to seamlessly integrate with our IoT software, Hexsoft. Hexsoft serves as an IoT software platform, enabling users to remotely monitor and control their cultivation systems. By utilizing Hexsoft, users can significantly reduce the effort required for maintenance, while enjoying an engaging and interactive experience.

To assist our customers in their cultivation journey, we have developed Hexbee, our dedicated AI cultivation assistant. Hexbee provides guidance and support, helping users optimize their farming practices. Additionally, we have established the Hexagro Urban Farmers Community, where our members can connect with one another, share their experiences, and exchange valuable cultivation tips. This collaborative platform fosters mutual support and encourages collective growth among our community members.

By offering a holistic range of solutions, combining hardware, software, and services, we strive to empower urban farmers and create a vibrant ecosystem that nurtures learning, collaboration, and sustainable urban agriculture.

E.E: At what stage is the market where you are currently active?

F.H: The urban farming market, including indoor and vertical farming, faces significant challenges such as space constraints in cities, increasing energy costs, and limited community engagement. While currently active in Italy, where the market is in its early stages and experiencing steady growth, we recognize the opportunity to address the needs of Italian urban dwellers who desire access to home gardens. Our advantage lies in efficiently adapting our products to the prevalent compact balconies found in Italy.

Moreover, Hexagro is embarking on an internationalization process, expanding into the European market. Our goal is to establish our brand globally as the leading platform for consumer electronic vertical gardens, revolutionizing the way people engage with urban farming.

E.E: What can you tell us about market trends?

F.H: The urban farming market is growing and is expected to be € 555 B by 2028 with a CAGR of 5,2% according to official sources, but at the same time, this year in particular, the investments from professional investors have plumed by 90% in vertical farming industry in particular. Nevertheless, industries such as greenhouse farming and indoor farming continue their steady growth as one of the solutions for the production of sustainable healthy food in the future. On the other hand, in the European market, the gardening market is expected to be € 10.1 B by 2026 with a CAGR of 10 %, making it very interesting for us to bring innovation from the state-of-art industry into this well-established consumer market.  

E.E: What are the most innovative products marketed?

F.H: There are companies, mostly in the US, offering similar products in the market that have some similarities to ours. For example, Lettuce Grow’s Farmstand, Juice Plus’s Tower Garden and Farmshelf that already have a good initial traction in the market and are showing that there is interest from consumers.  Although these products are scaling in the US market, they are not as easy to adapt for a European consumer, given the footprint that they occupy. 

E.E: What estimations do you have for 2023?

F.H: We are planning to launch our new Poty product line version and launch a crowdfunding campaign with the goal to double our sales this year. We have closed deals with some distributors and recently entered Amazon Marketplace, but also expect to enter new international markets in the next months.