IoT Podcast Logo

In S2 episode 25, Claudia Nasiff and Sylvie Basler Co-Founders at FYTA­čî┐connect with the show to unpot the world of connected plant technology, how we can track plant health and how FYTA’s solution is transforming the way we care for plants!

Sit back, relax, tune in and be the first to discover…

  • What inspired Claudia and Sylvie to found FYTA ­č¬┤
  • What does the FYTA do? ­č¬┤
  • How does the FYTA Beam Sensor work and integrate with the App and store? ­č¬┤
  • What technologies are implemented and how is this innovating the way we look after plants? ­č¬┤
  • How is the FYTA e-commerce store differentiating FYTA’s offering? ­č¬┤
  • What plans does FYTA have for the future after their product launch last April?­č¬┤

ABOUT THE GUESTS

Sylvie Basler-Haselhorst is CMO & Co-Founder and Claudia Nassif is CEO & Co-Founder at FYTA a Berlin-based start-up that develops products for people who love plants and indoor gardening.

Connect with Sylvie on LinkedIn Here 

Connect with Claudia on LinkedIn Here

Find out more about FYTA Here 

Episode Transcript

Brad King-Taylor
Hello, and welcome to The IoT podcast I’m your host would say Brad King-Taylor. I’m the Head of UK Business for Paratus People. Today we are enjoyed by FYTA, and we have Claudia Nassif who is the CEO and Co-Founder. And we have Sylvie Basler, who is the CMO and Co Founder. So Sylvie, Claudia, it’s great to have you on thank you very much. I suppose the best place for us to start and for the listeners benefit. If you can just give a little introduction to yourself, the background, how you ended up in the wonderful world of plant technology. And to be fair, it’d be good to know what actually prompted the business?

Claudia Nassif
Yes, well, thank you. Thanks a lot for giving us the opportunity to talk to you. We’re very excited to be here. So my name is Claudia. I’m the CEO and one of the cofounders of FYTA. I’m actually an economist by training. So I have no Tech background whatsoever, and have actually spent most of my career in academia, and notably also at the World Bank, where I worked for over 13 years, mostly actually on conflict countries. So I advised governments there on economic reforms and similar but I’ve been always very curious about plants and botany in general. So I love to read about them love to grow them and about had the opportunity.

Claudia Nassif
And I’ve always been very fascinated about like how little we actually know about this being creatures that are literally like dominating our life. So I’m actually giving us life, right. So when I decided to move out of the World Bank, I knew instantly that I wanted to do something that would actually allow me to learn more about plants and also share my passion. And gardening, specifically, indoor gardening seemed to be a very good starting point for me. So I started to create a few ideas around it. Like the one about the plant health tracker, and later, and you know, very quickly right after actually approached Sylvie, with all of my ideas. So he has been like a very long, very good friend of mine, and we’ve known each other since high school. And I also knew that she’s very much into gardening, so I thought she might be a great person to partner up with.

Brad King-Taylor
Perfect, that leads lovely on to you.

Sylvie Basler
Hi. Hi, everyone. I’m Sylvie. And my background couldn’t be more different than then Claudia’s, I’ve spent the last 2025 years in fashion. I’ve worked for large international fashion groups in the States and France, and also obviously, in Germany. And I started in design and product development. And then at some point, I was more interested in brand communication, brand strategy and moved to marketing. And yes, then Claudia came up with this idea, she knew that I was a, quite quite a passionate gardener in and outdoors. And I was really like this, this idea about sharing knowledge, plant knowledge, but also giving people the possibilities to access gardens, in an urban surrounding where gardening can can be a challenge, because you basically have to, to take care of your plants indoors. And this is, this is how it started.

Brad King-Taylor
Amazing. So you’ve effectively taken your passion, and friendship and created a business out of it, I couldn’t think of anything better to be honest, because sometimes you’ve got to enjoy where you work. So if you can do that with one of your biggest hobbies, amazing. So it’s a good insight into both of you. So it’d be good now to get a bit of an understanding on FYTA. What it is you do. I’m also pretty intrigued to know where the name comes from.

Claudia Nassif
Yeah, so a few to actually means plants. It’s many people may actually know Futo, which means plant or plant related things. It’s a Greek term, except that the Greeks actually pronounce it t tau and FYTA is just a plural. So FYTA means plants. And it’s I mean, the name itself actually relates very much to our core mission, which is to connect people with plants and nature.

Claudia Nassif
So we actually strongly believe that actively growing plants and interacting with plants is a great way to experience nature and to learn more about plants, especially if you live in an urban setting and have very little access to nature in your daily life. But as Sylvie also pointed out growing plants especially indoors can be super, super hard. If you don’t know how plants are very silent creatures, it’s very hard to read the signals that they send and more over plants needs actually vary by species. And that can also be very individual depending on the environment in which the plants live, or how the plants are being taken care of. So essentially, growing plants requires knowledge, and it requires the right products. And this is exactly what FYTA essentially provides together with a lot of creative ideas on how to share your life with plants and how to connect with other people who love plants.

Brad King-Taylor
Yeah, amazing. The thing I keep thinking about, and I think this is gonna work with a lot of people is I keep going back to the plants that I’ve got, and my other half and the difficulties that we found with like topsoil mould, yes, or how to how to get around that sort of stuff. So I feel like knowledge, like you mentioned is definitely a big part of that, but also care. And again, I go back to obviously, it’s a passionate both of yours. So I think it really is going to have a big impact on a lot of people. And I think it’s great. You have a range of products at the moment that work together to be able to track the plant health. And I know you’ve got the FYTA Beam. So it’d be good to get a bit more of understanding about that, which is, I believe, just a sensor effectively and, and that can go in connect with the app so that you

Claudia Nassif
work on that. So it’s IoT, it’s a very sophisticated IoT fitness tracker for plants if you like. So the FYTA Beam is indeed our core product. It’s also like the product that brought us here to The IoT P odcast. So it’s exactly what you said. So it’s a small sensor that measures a number of critical environmental parameters. And it also analyses these parameters together with a slew sort of data from many different other sources. So in an app actually tells you exactly what the plant needs when it needs it, but also explains you how to take care of the plant through, let’s say, tutorials or articles, and also tells you which products you can or need to use on your plant in order to keep it healthy. And obviously, you can then buy these products directly from that store very seamlessly.

Claudia Nassif
So the FYTA beam in its core is essentially the access point to an entire indoor gardening ecosystem that provides you with everything that you need to know and need to have in order to grow plants successfully at home. So it’s like a garden centre in your pocket if you’d like except, and this is where the data part comes in. It’s hyper personalised, it’s hyper personalised to the individual needs of your plants. And it’s hyper personalised to your interests and home gardening. So it’s also a very new type of commerce, if you like. So it’s the next level of commerce after mobile commerce. And some of it referred to as IoT commerce, which an additional to the regular data sources that other online companies use, also use data from connected devices to offer a much more compelling user and shopping experience.

Brad King-Taylor
Yeah, amazing. So as effective your sensors do, I guess, is take the data and help in some sort of way. And I feel like this is definitely something that I personally will be implemented. Well, not me personally, it probably be the other half on saying that because she loves a house plant but fails to look after them. So if I don’t water them or anything like that, they don’t tend to last very long. So I feel like this is definitely something that can play a big part in different lives. So alongside the the FYTA beam sensor, and obviously how that works with the app, what other technologies are being implemented and and how is that innovating the way that people looking at it.

Claudia Nassif
So on the hardware side, our plant sensor offers a number of use piece that other plant sensors that you currently can find on the market do not offer I mean at least not to end consumers. So we measure four variables, which is a lot. So soil moisture, soil fertility, temperature and light. And in the future, we will also be able to measure other variables as well. And we’re using a proprietary technology in the way we actually measuring soil moisture and fertility which allows us to measure highly accurately at low cost. So unlike other plant sensors, we are also measuring light in a very different way. So we actually analysing the different life waves that allows us to to analyse the way plants see and perceive light as opposed to how we humans perceive light. So this is also like a very important USP and our entire system is modular. So for instance, you can adjust it to the needs of the plants while you can for instance, it has detachable ropes so you can adjust like the Fyta beam to the size of your plant. Or you can depending on your preferences either just connect via Bluetooth or buy like an optional Wi Fi hub to it. And over time the idea is also to expand the IoT Hub or ecosystem to other products like for instance, humidifiers.

Claudia Nassif
But this is in the future right now, we are actually developing like the tools that we need in order to analyse data. And the data is actually what is very, very important on the software side, right, because we have developed or we are developing a self learning algorithms that use the data from all of these different sources like the sensor user behaviour, user input data, but also like data from photo recognition that we have integrated in the app and a photo based health check. And we take all of these data sources and basically use it so that our model learns over time, what the individual needs of the plants are, so it’s like, so what we do is that we that we analyse the data in relationship to the different stresses that the plant experiences at a very individual level. And so we get a much more holistic understanding of the plant and the environment it lives in. And this is really entirely new. So, you know, for instance, when you look at other technologies, we know a lot about how to grow plants in greenhouses. And there’s a lot of technology that allows farmers to, you know, supports like growing plants in greenhouses, but we have very little tools and very little data and understanding around how plants actually grow in our in home environment. And this is what we are changing.

Brad King-Taylor
Yeah, amazing. You’ve touched on it ever so slightly, but agritech is huge at the moment in terms of a growing industry for sure. And one thing you learn especially about during the podcast, and the people that you speak to is IoT technologies ever growing. People are forever coming up with ideas from their own experiences, which I think touches on really well on what you’re up to with FYTA at the moment. So looking at a side of the technologies, obviously, you have your eCommerce store. So can you speak to us a little bit more about that how that is differentiating, differentiating your product in the market and, and kind of enabling your your consumers more 360 use of of your offerings and what you’re doing at the moment.

Sylvie Basler
Yes, this is the interesting part. Because we have the hardware sensor and all the data on one side that gives you push notifications. And that really helps you to take care of your plans. And within the app, there will be lots of entertainment, but also edutainment on long term. So we’re planning to implement a community. So we really want to be there on all levels of the different solutions you’re looking for, in order to take care of your plants and products will be a part of it. So we will expand the product assortment according to the different issues that the user is encountering. So if we see that it’s air humidity that is damaging the plants, and we will work on a on the humidity sensor and maybe humidifier that can be monitored through your app. Same with light, if we realise that most plants have a light stress, then we would start to develop a light system again, you can monitor it through your app. But who knows, maybe we’ll realise that what they really need is the right fertiliser. So we will implement a fertiliser in our assortment, but maybe it will be soil or they will be complaining about you know, not being able to find the right parts. So we will develop plant pots with strange holds. So this is basically how we will build the covers according to the problems that the users will encounter.

Brad King-Taylor
Forever learning and this is a conversation that we have quite a lot is I think that is the key like forever learning, whether it’s the the the device itself, or us as people about how we can adapt different technologies. I think that’s really good. I like the fact that you then were just listing off options that you had in terms of the soil, the light, that sort of stuff. And there’s quite a lot of things out there you can connect to already, like there’s obviously you’ve smart light bulbs and that sort of thing. And so we can kind of all integrate, which is which is amazing. So I understand the the journey that you you’re on at the moment is relatively fresh, quite quite short in the tooth, if you like. So, I believe you launched in April. So it’d be good to get an understanding of where you are at the moment. What sort of the customer base you’ve got and that you’re you’re reaching out to and do you have plans to grow that customer base into different different parts or?

Sylvie Basler
We are launching in May. So we’ve just made a couple of presale campaigns starting in December. And it’s really interesting because when, as you pointed out earlier, the idea of FYTA started out of a private or personal passion. And when we decided to make a business out of this, of course, we looked into market research. And this whole indoor and decorative plant trend is mostly driven by a very young user base being, you know, some of them below 25. So we are building our brand around a very young and fresh, you know, plant loving user between 25-30-35. But what we have realised it’s with our first pre sale tests, is that there is another customer out there who’s really into our product, I would say, a 70%, male, probably above 45, and really into plants, really two plants, but also according to the questions we get really into tech, most of them already do have a smart home environment. And they’re asking if they can implement the feature beam in this environment, and how it actually works together. And yes, so this is, it’s it’s a very broad user base that we’ll be having some of them will be interested in lifestyle and interior design others and health and maybe vegan lifestyle. And then there is, you know, the the tech guy who’s really into plants, but into tech as well.

Brad King-Taylor
Yeah. And I think like, the fact that you’re reaching out to different things, and I have to be fair, when you mentioned the percentage of males like my eyebrows raised, because I just you just don’t expect that from my personal point of view, which I think is amazing. And is there plans to obviously, when you go around to like industrial places, or or different companies, plants, you can see behind me, for instance, plants are always quite prominent. So do you have plans to potentially reach out to those sort of businesses that have pretty office?

Sylvie Basler
Yes, we are thinking about this. And we might at some point, but for now, we’re just reaching out to different people just in order to understand the pain points, because we do realise that the pain points in a hospital is not the same than the ones that you have in offices, or maybe in a hotel or restaurant. So right now we’re, you know, looking at just finding out what the pain points are, and see if we can make a business case out of it. And then maybe at some point, we will reach out and build a b2b business.

Brad King-Taylor
Yeah, amazing. I think that’s gonna lead quite nicely onto the next question. I think we’ve touched on it already a couple of times, and I will touch on it. And most of the podcasts I do is learning, learning and development if you like it. So understanding what your product can achieve, and then growing from there is probably a really good idea. Well, that leads us lovely on to the next point, like I said, so the company and the technology in place, you two are in place with the passion and the drive. What is next for FYTA? Where are we expecting to see a FYTA go in the next 12 months, for instance,

Sylvie Basler
It’s mostly product development, just, you know, making sure that our sensor works and then building products around it. And it might be one or two other more tech products. But again, we might see that the need is somewhere else that people need great soil, or maybe more more knowledge, more edutainment. So it’s really about listening to what the users need, and then react to that.

Brad King-Taylor
Yeah. And Claudia to bring you to bring you back in as one of the co founders, what is your overall goal is probably slightly broad. But what is your main desire from this in the short term, obviously, once the product development and stuff that so we mentioned,

Claudia Nassif
I mean, from a business perspective, or let’s say our desire is that we would love to be like, the very first touch point people think of when they think of plants. So we really like whenever someone actually wants to grow something indoors, whether it’s being decorative plants, or whether it’s being herbs or anything else, edibles, that an end whenever they actually need something that they think of us as the point or the one stop shop, if you like, for everything that they need around plants. And we really would like to provide not just like the right products, but also really like the right experience and the right knowledge to do that. And it’s, for us also like fascinating because it’s also going to be the first time like, let’s say if you’re going to sell soil or fertiliser, it’s not just that we are going to sell it but we can actually directly perceive and analyse like the impact that it has on the plant. So over time, you know, we can if it’s like third party products, you know, we can actually like check and test, like which of these products actually work best on our plants and can recommend them. And then as we said, you know, eventually maybe even like develop it ourselves, if we feel like that the products out there are not good enough. And so it’s really quite exciting. And so I think that with the data that we have, we can provide like a user experience that is quite unparalleled in the in the home gardening market. And so yeah, so our hope is that we’re really gonna be like the first touch point for for home gardeners, hopefully, in the world.

Brad King-Taylor
Well, from a personal perspective, I’ll be very nice honest with you, obviously, I’m quite the sports person, so heavily drive around sport and stuff like that. And in the 20 odd minutes that we spent talking you, you’ve gained a customer in me put it that way, I think what you guys are doing is is very good. And being the the non green fingered, I’m the sort of person that’s converted their lawn into fake grass, for instance. So being that non green fingered, I think you guys are going to be able to help quite considerably in my household, especially. And I know for a fact, I won’t be the only one. Just to touch a little bit more on the on the customer base. Are you just going to stick to European? Or are you going global straight off the bat? What’s the plan?

Sylvie Basler
We will start in Germany, Switzerland and Austria, German speaking countries, our app will be in English and in German to start with. And then we want to expand in Europe. Probably the Scandinavian countries will be the easiest just because of the language barrier. But there is a huge market in France, Spain, and also in Italy. Lots of plant and garden loving people. So especially in France, we really would like to expand ASAP, depending of course on on, you know, budget and yeah. And the UK? Yes. Again, English speaking, for me is next.

Brad King-Taylor
Good, good, good. Well, that’s everything from me. And I’m really excited about your products, like genuinely, to the point where when I asked about the UK, because I kind of want it myself, I mean,

Claudia Nassif
I mean, you can purchase it as a UK customers, just from a marketing perspective that you’re focusing on some of these markets for us, but they’re available to anyone who would like to purchase them, please come visit us.

Brad King-Taylor
I will touch on that again in a second because you can tell you how to do that. But it’s a tradition on our podcast that we asked a question from the previous guest. So this time around was Francis Cepero, who is the director of vertical solutions at A1 Digital, he would like to know, where do you personally see AI being leveraged into in an innovative plant technology, which I think is a great question. And if we could to understand what you think.

Claudia Nassif
So I think the way so I mean, it’s what I explained before, some through the combination between connected devices and and mathematical models, we will actually gain like a completely new understanding of plants and this will expand. So currently, we actually do have like a cooperation with the Humboldt University. So where we work with researchers on trying to understand what stresses plants experience after they’re being purchased, and how you can best react to them. So this is literally like testing the recommendations that are coming out of our model.

Claudia Nassif
But I think if we just think about this in a larger context, and also think about it like plant tech in general, you know, sensors are going to become much more intelligent also with the time so for instance, I was currently like this team of researchers that have developed like a sensor that you can directly like, plug into a plant, like a very tiny micro sensor, and that measures actually the metabolic processes that are within plants. And so this is obviously like, you know, extremely edge technology. So this is not anything that is available for the next 10 years. But it’s sort of like fascinating, like how this is going to help us to understand what plants are not just like what they do for us, but what they actually are and how they grow. And so and that’s quite fascinating, and I think that’s going to help us with a lot of like very big challenges that we have in the world, like including how to, you know, preserve and grow food.

Brad King-Taylor
Yeah, and I it’s a different world that we live in now. And it’s gonna be a different world that we live in in 10 years like you mentioned in terms of all the technology is coming out quantum and all that sort of stuff. So good now to get back to where we were before. So if you can just give our listeners an idea of where to find you social media as your website, how to order, that sort of stuff.

Sylvie Basler
So our website is fyta.de. And this is where you can find more information about us about the product. And we also have integrated a webshop so you can get the product there. And we are also on Instagram, on Facebook. We will start on tick tock anytime soon. And yes, of course we have a newsletter which is going to be fun, so feel free.

Brad King-Taylor
There we go. Perfect. Well, thank you so much. It was great to have you and really looking forward to try selling the product myself. But also seeing what the where you where you can take the technology. I think it’s amazing. So thank you so much

Sylvie Basler
So much for having us.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

The IoT Podcast Team

The IoT Podcast is powered by Paratus People, a leading organisation in IoT Talent Solutions.

Innovation is at the heart of IoT, it is our passion to explore and learn more about this fast paced and transforming sector.

Connect & Get Involved

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.
Subscribe to our newsletter to be amongst the first to find out exclusive information about The IoT Podcast.

We use Sendinblue as our marketing platform. By Clicking below to submit this form, you acknowledge that the information you provided will be transferred to Sendinblue for processing in accordance with their href="https://www.sendinblue.com/legal/termsofuse/">terms of use