We had the good fortune of connecting with Sayon Chandrakanthan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sayon, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
My mother has been growing and caring for plants since I can remember. I used to think it was a lot of work, but later grew to like the amount of plants inside our house. This was especially true during the winter months in Wisconsin. Every Summer we would take the plants outside and every winter we would bring them inside. She would take cuttings of her plants to create more plants. I was pretty extraordinary especially since she learned to do this from family back in Jaffna. Once Winter we brought her plants inside and she placed them around the house. Unfortunately some of them had to go in the basement, by a little window. A lot of these plants didn’t receive enough light. I went online and bought some grow lights to replace the basements lights with. Then my mind went into engineering mode and I bought a light switch to automatically set the when the lights turned off and on. Eventually I wanted to grow plants downstairs as well, but thought growing in soil would required lots of soil, thus requiring lots of heavy lifting. Then moving the plants up the stairs in the summertime meant more heavy lifting. So I began investigating and decided lets try out hydroponics. After learning a lot and having to travel for work a lot I decided there has to be a way to automate this system. At that point I sent a text to my friends calling it Advanced Autoponics.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
What sets Advanced Autoponics from others in the industry is the idea behind changing the current landscape of hydroponics. A lot of hydroponics is focused on small leafy greens, Advanced Autoponics is focused on every plant. From the small plants to the large plants. In order to cater to large plants we create a patent-pending system to allow for the massive root growth to grow in the direction and space decided by us. This root management system allows us to grow multiple plants in one unit without creating dams while having a homogeneous environment for our plants. Since the environment is very similar from plant to plant we would need one set of sensors for these plants. With less sensors leads to less costs. We took this idea created a system that is also fault tolerant. If a part goes bad, plants in our system continue to thrive allowing for more time to fix the issue. We wanted this system to be as easy as possible to use so we also designed the system to work for both clones and seeds. Providing the ideal conditions for germination and growth. To get to where we are today as a startup company we had to take a lot of risks. However, being a startup our risks have to be minimized as we don’t have the resources to recover from high risk decisions. This includes minimizing risk by testing and repeated testing to ensure our designed product works. Along the way we have also learned that we must continue to move forward to take one step at a time as challenges come about. Challenges will always be there and we must not get emotional during these times. I would like the world to know that our system has been designed for both plantscapes and growers mixed in with beautiful automation to aid everyone from new growers to experienced growers. We are here to disrupt the industry with something new. Lot of times creating a company you may feel alone or unsatisfied with the rate you are moving. But for everyone who has started a company you must remember your took a big step forward doing so. Pursuing an idea is easier said then done and their is one book to help or teach you. You thus become a student and a teacher during the process.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If a friend is coming to the city the first place I love to take them is Pony Up. A little restaurant, that owner decided to start and had to find investors and then find a way to pay off these investors. You have to support the little guys. Plus their drinks and french dip sandwiches are to die for. Once that is done of course you have to come to my house and let me make a home made meal. Depending on how I feel, its really up in the air on what I may make. Once you are settled in we have to take a drive to the mountains to get in those beautiful views. Where we go exactly is only decided along the way. With me you hit play and you don’t know where you may end up. We will create an adventure together, ends with something scenic. After that we will definitely have to go to a carniceria in the city to get some marinated meats and setup the charcoal grill. Then to finish the trip we will have to go local brewery, like La Raices brewery this way we can take in some live music and have a few beers.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would like to thank my late grandmother who taught me that slowly down and enjoying the sun is just as important as pushing yourself. This time allows you investigate and find what interests you in life. This is how I learned to tinker and damaged a family computer in the process. Years later I built my own computer myself. Soon I was programming factories and other industrial equipment. She even in her later years would pick up calculus and biology books her local library was giving away. When she did this it was clear the idea of learning and growing is a life long process. It not just learning, its also the idea to follow your interests and perhaps pursue them as well.
Advanced Autoponics, LLC