Having an indoor garden is no longer a thing of the future, and after three years of hard work, AVA Byte is ready to launch and founders Chase Ando and Valerie Song couldn't be happier to see their team’s hard work actualized.
Ando and Song, two passionate young entrepreneurs in the food industry, embarked on a journey to build AVA Byte, a smart indoor garden. But as first-time founders, the AVA team didn't really know what they signed up for.
Thanks to entrepreneurship@UBC’s HATCH program, a program that Innovate BC helps fund, and their Lean Launchpad program, AVA’s team got to work with eager advisors to get them going down the right path. They came out with a 3D printed prototype fresh out of the Hatch Lab and were ready to test the market.
In June 2017, Ando and Song launched a crowdfunding video to Indiegogo. 24 hours later, they hit their target of $30,000 USD. In just over a month, they ended up pre-selling more than $135,000 USD worth of gardens to backers who believed in their idea. A year later they closed a round of venture capital funding of $2M USD – giving them enough cash to fund the engineering hours to refine their prototype and take it to mass production.
The next year-and-a-half consisted of grueling hours as they learned that scaling up a product from a prototype was much harder than they had anticipated. They grew to understand why everyone kept saying "hardware is hard."
Now, AVA Bytes is in production and ready to launch in the first quarter of 2020. Three years later and the entrepreneurs in residence, program heads, and fellow founders from e@UBC continue to support AVA. The team is grateful for every single advisor, backer, and team member that made this launch possible.
If you'd like to follow and support AVA, sign up for the waitlist and if you’re a B.C. startup looking for advice and mentorship by veteran entrepreneurs, connect with our Venture Acceleration Program partners throughout the province.