Bootstrapped with Rs 7k, this college student’s gardening startup has bagged a Rs 10 Cr project
Green spaces have been the biggest casualty as concrete and glass take over our cities. But their importance can’t be stressed enough.
A December 2019 study in The Lancet Planetary Health found strong evidence to show that “green urban spaces can help people live longer”.
The WHO also says that access to green spaces can reduce health inequalities, improve well being, and aid in treatment of mental illness.
Reason enough to incorporate greenery at home and office? Zuber Mohammed, a second year engineering student, aims to help you do just that with Paradise Garden, a Bhopal-based end-to-end landscape and garden design startup.
“I got this idea in 2015 when I was in Class 10. One of my friends was working in his garden and I found him struggling with plants, garden layouts, and other things. He had no idea what to plant, how to maintain… all the plants withered away in a few days,” Zuber recalls.
He decided to do his ground work, researched the industry, and came up with the idea of bringing customised gardening solutions at people’s doorsteps.
However, starting up wasn’t easy.
“I was in school so my parents didn’t allow me to start a business. But I continued my research and started up as soon as I began college in 2018,” he says.
In 2019, he christened his company Paradise Garden and began taking orders.
What does Paradise Garden do?
Bhopal-based Paradise Garden is an end-to-end landscape and garden design company that services commercial and residential orders.
“We help people start building gardens at home. Most home owners don’t know plantation basics and design. We aim to bridge this gap,” Zuber says.
He says landscaping isn’t a new concept, but not many firms or designers offer their services for homes, villas, and farm houses.
“Despite having all the resources, builders don’t have a branded solution for individual homes. They don’t have any expert working in this industry. So, we work as a bridge to fill this gap between builders and homes,” Zuber says.
The urban gardening startup works on gardens, balconies, terraces, and vertical gardens in individual homes, apartment complexes, and housing societies. It also provides maintenance services.
It takes orders via its website, from individual clients and builders.
Paradise Garden is also working on a subscription model for builders, which allows them to choose a garden type and sign up for maintenance.
“We take care of the labour involved in this process and deliver projects to the builder, based on delivery timelines. We have automated the process of preparing and maintaining a garden. After the builder places an order, we go for a site visit and understand the requirement,” he says.
The team then figures out how much material and manpower will be needed, and gives the client an exact brief in two-three days.
“It takes between two weeks and two months to complete a project. It depends on the complexity, and includes aspects like water management,” Zuber says.
The first pay cheque
The 12-member team launched a social media promotion last year and ended up receiving 550 inquires.
“I still remember my phone was continuously ringing the whole day while this ad campaign was running,” Zuber says.
Their first project was to “green” a balcony garden. The young founder went to the site and understood the client’s requirement.
Zuber completed the first project in eight days, and then started sifting through the over 550 pending inquiries.
“We committed a lot of mistakes in our first three projects - not mentioning terms and conditions in our invoices, time delays in project delivery, and letting people pay us on the work completed. But there were a lot of learnings,” he says.
The young founder, who bootstrapped the company with Rs 7,000, has so far completed close to a 100 projects.
The startup has very little revenue as of now. But, it has recently bagged a Rs 10 crore project from a builder to build gardens in a large apartment complex.
As of now, Paradise Garden has a total of five confirmed clients. The startup competes with myBageecha.com, which is based in Ahmedabad, and Delhi-based Phoolvari. Others like iKheti and Pinfresh are among the other Indian startups trying to scale up, but they focus on kitchen gardens.
“With our model, nurseries across Bhopal have received additional revenue. With our technology being readied to scale across cities, we can deliver gardens, connect nurseries, design gardens, and consult with builders,” Zuber says.
(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)