About this episode

My guest this week is FX Rouxel, founder and inventor of Gardyn. Gardyn is re-envisioning how consumers like you and I look at our relationship of food and its production. The Gardyn unit is amazing, it has a super small footprint and can fit anywhere in your home, apartment, and even your office.

Now while the design of the unit is remarkable the technology is groundbreaking. The Gardyn technology is a cross between aeroponic and hydroponic technologies. In fact, they trademarked the term Hybriponic™, because it combines the benefits of both systems.

This benefit allows you to swap plants in and out much like you probably already do with your k-cups or Nespresso pods for your morning coffee. The Gardyn unit uses sophisticated cameras and sensors to capture all the details of the plants. These cameras and sensors analyze the plants development, to ensure that the produce is healthy and expertly tended to. So your lack of a greentherm will not be a hindrance at all. What's amazing about all of this, is the amount of produce that can be grown within a small footprint.

In this episode, you'll hear:

  • How FX grew up in the suburbs of Paris, his Mother was a civil servant and father worked for the government. At a young age he aspired to travel the world and wanted to use his love for technology to solve big problems.
  • FX shares he pursued his passion to become a scientist but also had an entrepreneurial flare. His first taste of entrepreneurship was interning in a startup where he was using radio-frequency to make a difference. His next internship was in California.
  • In the early 2000 the talks of climate change were happening and he wanted to get involved and started working in the Nuclear industry. FX shares how Nuclear can help with climate change and that 80% of France’s power comes from Nuclear energy and as a result the CO2 footprint was reduced.
  • After the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011, FX wanted to pursue a new project and moved to America. While he was living there FX started training for. This is where he discovered the rubbish that goes into fast food and wanted a clean diet. This sparked his engineering and entrepreneurial flair to seek to bring change to this area. He already had the technology to solve this. The final piece of the puzzle was when he was in Montreal he saw that you can grow food vertically and then it all came together.
  • FX shares how he created a food revolution through perfecting Hydroponic™ technology, Gardyn helps people produce a tremendous amount of food in a small footprint.

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Episode transcript

00:00

FX Rouxel: Hey, my name is FX Rouxel. I'm the founder of Gardyn, and this is MY startup story.

00:08

  • Every wildfire began with a spark. Every superhero has an origin story. And every single startup has a moment that they point to is their beginning. And every founder has a purpose that drove them in the midst of all obstacles. That is the startup story. *

00:31

James McKinney: Hello everyone and welcome to another episode of The Startup Story. We have an exciting episode this week with an equally exciting opportunity for you. My guest this week is FX Rouxel, founder and inventor of Gardyn. Gardyn is re-envisioning how consumers like you and I look at our relationship with food and its production. The Gardyn unit is amazing. It has a super small footprint and can fit anywhere in your home, apartment, or even your office. Now while the design of the unit is remarkable, the technology is groundbreaking. The Gardyn technology is a cross between aeroponic and hydroponic technologies. In fact, they trademarked the term Hybriponic because it combines the benefits of both systems. This benefit allows you to swap plants in and out much like you probably already do with your K-Cups or Nespresso pods for your morning coffee. The Gardyn unit uses sophisticated cameras and sensors to capture all the details of the plants. I mean, these cameras and sensors analyze the plants development to ensure that the produce is healthy and expertly tended to so that if you're anything like me, your lack of a green thumb will not be a hindrance at all.

What's amazing about all of this is the amount of produce that can be grown within this small footprint. We're going to cover all of this and more in this week's episode. But you have a chance to take one of these units home for absolutely free. They sell for $899 and they have made one of them available for you, The Startup Story listener, for free. All you have to do is visit thestartupstory.co/gardyn and enter for this incredible opportunity. And of course, we're going to include a link in our show notes for easy access. And if it the chance to win one for free wasn't cool enough, they're also providing a discount code for $150 off the purchase of a unit. Just visit mygardyn.com. Again, mygardyn.com and enter the promo code "startupstory" to receive this $150 discount. And again, that's mygardyn.com, and of course, we're going to include a link in our show notes. Alright, enough of the giveaways already, let's jump in and start unpacking FX's entrepreneurial journey.

02:47

FX Rouxel: I grew up in the suburbs in Paris, France. And my parents, lovely parents, were working. They were civil servants, my mother was a nurse. I mean, she's still alive, but she is retired now. And my father was working for the finance department. Both of them, you know, I wouldn't say nine to five, but pretty close to it. And that's interesting, because in their mind working for, in the administration or the government was really the way to go. That's a safe place, you have a job, you won't get fired. And that's the way things should be. And to some extent that has defined a lot of why I what I am kind of by opposition. I love my parents don't get me wrong, they are amazing. They've done amazing things for me. But in terms of aspirations, I've always aspired to go abroad, visit new countries, discover new stuff. And one thing that has always, that I always loved is technology and science. And very early on, you know, I remember going on vacation at 12. And the first thing I was doing on the beach was just opening a book about black holes or these type of things are reading. I don't know who was the Neil deGrasse Tyson of that time. But you know, I was definitely listening to the guy and I love all the things that we can discover, all the things that we don't know. I mean, that was I remember that time, you know, in the early late 80s, early 90s you people were trying to discover what viruses were bought, HIV was big at that time. And there was all these questions about genetics and what can we do about it? And the amazing thing is we see down the road, everything we are able to do now within a year, year and a half to fight the pandemic we went through. So that has always been amazing for me.

And what I've done is as soon as I could I tried to travel and discover new things and new people and new places. Always working in India in the technology side. Always also with the focus of trying to solve big problems. And obviously we're all individuals and small. So there is so much you can do, but always with this view that our time on earth is limited. You really want to wake up every morning and thinking, hey, what I'm doing makes sense, what I'm doing is exciting what I'm doing I can be proud of. So I started working in the tech industry, in microprocessors in California and in France. And that was really exciting because that was a time where, obviously, there's always been a lot of developments in microprocessors, but there were a lot of things going on in terms of how do we encode multimedia, something that like MPEG now. And it's obviously totally mainstream. But at that time, that was not, that was really exciting. That was a time where climate change was starting kicking in. And people were like, Hey, we need to do something,

05:45

James McKinney: Before we continue on there real quick, there's a lot of ground that we've covered in that. So you know, here you are, within the story, you're raised in a suburb of Paris. And now we're talking about your time in California. So let's talk about some of the steps in between, because those are bold moves in and of themselves. And they come with some amount of ambition and intention behind them. So let's take you through a few steps. So coming at the end of your academic years, and we'll say High School, because obviously, you know, there's university that follows, but what did you think you wanted to do come the end of your high school years?

06:19

FX Rouxel: I wanted to be definitely a scientist. Science has always been so important for me. I think the one thing that was not clear is would I be a researcher, or more of an entrepreneur. And there's always been this fascination for startups. And I remember buying my first books about companies, being books about startups. So the first thing I did you know, when you go through school, at some point, you need to have internships. And the first thing I did as soon as I could was to have internships in startups. So my first ever internship was in a startup in Paris, that was doing radio frequency components. Because I was like, wow, that's really amazing what they can do. And you know, they were using tunnel effects, quantum mechanics to actually try to solve problems. I was like, wow, someone using quantum mechanics. That's amazing. Let's do. So that was a lot of fun.

And then, you know, the second internship I did, I was allowed to actually do it abroad. And I said, you know, there is one place I want to go to, it's California. You know, that's where so many iconic brands, amazing technologies have been invented. So the first thing I could do is just go there. So actually, I landed in San Diego, not the Silicon Valley, but Southern California. And that was an amazing time spent in very difficult, you know, places like La Jolla in San Diego, which is a terrible place. No, I'm joking. It's just amazing.

07:51

James McKinney: For those who don't know, those who are listening who don't know, those places are spectacularly beautiful. San Diego is the best climate.

08:00

FX Rouxel: Yes. And that was my love. I love sailing. I love being outdoors. I love technology. So for me, that was a dream on Earth. We work really hard. I remember, you know, we had sleeping bags in our cubicles, because you know that that was the way to go. But I was so exciting. That was really great. So that was my early life. And then climate change was starting to be something. And people were wondering, okay, how can we do that? Kyoto was behind us. But nothing had been done that much about climate change. And I really wanted to do something as an engineer. So I started actually working in the nuclear industry in the early 2000s, with these views that could be part, that should be part of the energy mix, going forward to address climate change. And that was really exciting. Because that was the time I don't know if you remember the early years, early 2000, everybody was thinking that nuclear would be a big piece of solving climate change.

So there were a lot of programs, a lot of projects. And that was really exciting. I spent several years in this industry with amazing challenges. And then 2011 came Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan, and knowing the industry, like many people, it was really clear that these accident like you know, Three Mile Island in the US in 1979, or others in Russia would have a very long lasting impact on this industry. So I said, Okay, what do I do? I was pretty young, I was 30 something, 35 I think at that time, I said, Okay, what do I do? Do I just keep going in this industry, because technology is interesting, but I know it's going to be really going through this for several decades, or do I switch to something else? And obviously, that's what I did. I said, Okay, let's totally switch gear. Let's go to the US. Let's go to AI and automation and cloud. And let's do something fun over there.

10:18

James McKinney: Before we make the shift, though, FX, I want to ask. And again, part of what makes The Startup Story unique again is as we walk through the journey of an entrepreneur, there's chapters that pique curiosity at multiple levels, and here you are in nuclear. And I think for the most part, again, with my listener base, mainly being in the US, UK and Australia, the idea of climate change is not an uncommon topic. It's globally popular. And I don't know if people have a framework for how nuclear would have ever been a solution for climate change, or is ever a solution for climate change. Can you walk us through some of the upsides to nuclear as a solution for climate change? I think most people when they think of nuclear, they think of the tragedies right? Obviously, there's the warfare side of it, but then there's also the energy side and the devastation when there's meltdowns like Fukushima, and what have you. So can you walk us through how nuclear addresses or could be a solution for some climate change?

11:19

FX Rouxel: Yeah, I mean, in a very simple way, to be able to have a country that develops and expand, you need energy, you need a lot of different sources. And the question is what kind of mix of energy you need to be able to address your needs. For a very long time coal has been the main source and receive this is a very polluting energy. More and more, we're looking at renewables. And that's definitely the way to go with wind, with solar, and that's amazing. At that time, in the year 2000, renewables were starting, but they were really still in the infancy. So nuclear was seen as a way to produce a lot of energy, with no CO2 emission, you don't emit any CO2 when you are doing nuclear reactions. So that was really seen as one way, in particular, to displace coal. In the energy mix, you need two things, you need a base, that's the energy you need all the time. And then you need, you know, ways to address the peaks, when you have a high consumption around 8 or 9 am in the morning, or, you know, 5 when people come back home, and so on. There are big peaks that need to be addressed other ways, but you need this base, and so far this base had been covered with coal, which is really bad. So the view was, hey, let's use nuclear as this base energy to address this.

And the US has done it very successfully over the years, I mean, the US has been the leading nation, when it comes to nuclear. Obviously, maybe people don't know it, but there is roughly 100 nuclear plants in the US. That's the country with the most nuclear plants. France, where I come from is a very big nuclear country actually developed in the 70s with the US. So there was a joint venture between the US and France in the 70s to develop the nuclear program in France. And France, 80% of the energy, of the electricity in France is coming from nuclear. 80%.

13:24

James McKinney: Wow! Really?

13:25

FX Rouxel: Yeah, that's in the US, it's roughly 20%. France is 80%. So as a result, the CO2 footprint is much lower. And that was the vision until, you know, obviously, some accidents that totally reshaped all the way people are looking at it. And we'll come back, maybe in different ways. You know, fusion is the dream of everybody, because the problem was the nuclear as we know it right now is all the waste that it generates. This waste will be radioactive for many, many years. So the question is, how do you handle this? We know how to handle it. But some people are saying, Hey, you know, the possible catastrophes, and these wastes are going to be there for many, many years. And that's an issue and that's a fair point.

The next generation is fusion where actually you merge atoms of hydrogen, you create an amazing energy and there is absolutely no waste. And that's basically what the sun does every day, and it's replicating the way the sun is working. And there is a project right now that is under construction in France with the US which Japan, all the big countries in the world have joined forces in Provence, actually the project is called ITER, with a view to build a mini sun be able to create a lot of energy with no waste. I find it really exciting because it's really about how you shape our society using energy that is sustainable. Right now what we're doing with renewable energy is just amazing. Solar is just like taking off like crazy. And that's great, I think the potential is huge. Wind is a very interesting energy as well, that is less developed in the US than in Europe. Interestingly enough, we see a lot of windmills, you know, you can think about Palm Springs, or as you can imagine, you remember these big fields, the future of wind is at sea.

15:31

James McKinney: I don't know if I've seen real images, or if they've been mock ups. But I've seen these sea based windmills and like thousands of them. Again, I don't know if it's real or not. But I understand the concept of it.

15:43

FX Rouxel: It's crazy. And the beauty of it is, the wind is much more steady, and much stronger at sea. So that's much better in terms of throughput in economies of scale. That's one. But the second thing is, the big issue with windmills is the fact that that's kind of a visual pollution, a lot of people are like, Hey, I don't want … it's the "I don't want this in my backyard." The good thing with putting this at sea is our Earth is round. That means if you put it far enough, you won't be able to see it anymore. You see what I mean? still I mean, just because of the curvature of the of the earth. So basically, what people do is they put this, like, you know, several miles away from the coast, you cannot see any more from the coast. So it's no visual pollution, the wind is very steady, you have a big cable that brings all the power back to the shore. And that can produce a lot of energy at very low cost. So that's in my mind, that's part of the future of energy, big time.

16:40

James McKinney: See, this is again, this is why I love The Startup Story, like these conversations. Here I am in the US, you say we're the leaders in nuclear power, we have over 100 plants. I don't even know this, I think I started thinking through this, like why is why are we not promoting this idea more here in the States? What is the branding behind nuclear? Because again, when we think of nuclear, we don't think of the positive and the upsides, right? And so my brain starts going through like, Okay, what are the political powers at play, and that's a whole other podcast, that's not for The Startup Story. But I find it fascinating when I talk with experts like yourself in this space, to understand things at a different level than we wouldn't really be able to obtain unless we can find some deep searches online. But you're not in nuclear now. You're not. You made a change and that's to artificial intelligence. So let's talk about that chapter of your life. You knew that you wanted to do something different. And you end up in AI, can you give us a date stamp on this period?

17:34

FX Rouxel: 2012. So I started there in 2012. That's when I came to the US for this leg of my life, I would say. Obviously, I'd been before. I mentioned California. I also studied, part of didn't mention it, but I was at another, University of Michigan, for some time as well. So that was kind of back and forth between Europe and the US. This last leg is starting in 2012. Came to Washington DC. The interesting thing is actually, you know, in life, you need a bit of change. And also to, you know what people say change is when preparation meets opportunity. And that was the case. So actually, my wife was working for the European Union in Brussels. And she was offered a post in Washington, DC for the EU, to work with the Treasury and the IMF, and the World Bank and so on. And it was an amazing job. So I said, "Hey, you know, honey, let's go. Go ahead, do it. That's amazing. I'll find a way."

So she moved with the kids, January 1 2012, she moved to Washington, and I was still in France. And I was, you know, just commuting between the US and France trying to find a job in the US. And that's how I, you know, ended up working for this company Capgemini. Capgemini is a French company pretty global and broad, like Accenture, doing a lot of technology and helping companies leverage technology to develop. So that was kind of a bold move as well, you know, because she moved, I had absolutely no job in the US and said, "Okay, we'll find a way." And that's I guess, that's also a bit the entrepreneurial way of looking at things is let's jump and we'll figure out how to fly while falling.

19:22

James McKinney: I mean, you're definitely not adverse to risk. But at the same time, thus far in the journey up to 2012, the safety net, if you will, has always been I'm going to find a job. There isn't there isn't any leanings or any clues that we've had thus far that you have this idea for starting your own venture. So when did you start thinking what was going on in your life to where you said, I can now start producing something on my own and what was happening that led to Gardyn?

19:50

FX Rouxel: Absolutely. That's a great question. And you know, I really loved the approach you're taking trying to go pretty far back in time because I think a lot of nuggets or points that you're trying to you… that you can then connect and connect dots. And you know, there is this, Richard Branson used to say that you can connect the dots only backwards. I think that's right, there are so many dots. And it's just when you look backwards, you understand this. That's what happened to me.

So when I was working for Capgemini, I really loved the experience, trying to bring technology to large companies. The part I was missing is the creativity. Because that was really using the technology we have to help companies, which is great. But you're like, you would like to at least that was my case, wake up in the morning and say, Hey, I really want to shape something new. It's not just taking something that exists to bring in companies who need it. It's really about shaping something new. And that's when that started growing in me. And then with your question is okay, but why Gardyn? And what is the link with the rest. And, again, it's really a few dots. So if you think about the dots, it's about technology. And that's something I love. And I really believe that technology, if we use it well, can we help people. My goal is to see how we can develop technology that helps people that is bringing goodness, that's one. The second thing is I love food, I love health and nutrition. I used to live in Provence, I got married in Provence, and I still vividly remember these meals, we were having, you know, you could just get produce from a farmers market local, just having very simple food, a few tomatoes, cucumbers, a good old bottle of wine in France. And that was an amazing time, amazing time. And, and to be honest with you when I came to the east coast, and that may be different in other places in the US. But on the East Coast, I really found it really hard to eat healthy. That was difficult. So that's one.

The other dot that got connected is I love doing sport. And I started swimming when I was a kid. And then I started running when I was in Provence. And when I came to the US I started cycling. So doing the three sports said, "Hey, maybe I should try triathlons." So that's what I started doing in 2012, 2013. And then, you know, you start with, I don't know if you're familiar but there's different formats. So that the smaller one is the smallest one is the sprint, and then you go to the Olympic. So when you're like, Okay, I've done a few Olympics, why not try an Ironman. And that's what I did. So I started thinking about it. And I did my first I ran my first Ironman in 2015. And obviously, you need a lot of planning, it's pretty intense. That was a lot of fun, I really loved it. I did several of them since. The amazing thing is actually it's a family thing. So the last one we did was two weeks ago, three weeks ago in Roanoke, Virginia, and I did it with my wife and my elder son, the three of us. And in my mind, that's the best thing you can do is just doing it all together as a way to be a family and do something exciting together.

But back to Gardyn, you know, when I was training for the Iron Man, you realize that going so long, so you're going to have a race for more than 10 hours in a row. So it's really about going long. That's not a sprint, that's not even a marathon, it's really going very, very long. And you need to realize actually, it's really about how you manage your body, it's really in your head and in your body, and you need to go very long. So that means you need to make sure you have everything you need in terms of nutrition. So I started working a lot on okay, what does it mean, being healthy? What is it in terms of nutrition that we need or we're missing? And that's how I realized going very deep, you know, I just took the very engineer minded world things like Okay, let's go deep understand what are the mechanisms? What does it mean? What is it we need? We don't, and then you realize that most of what we're eating is just crazy. I mean, it's I wouldn't say crap, but it's not what we should eat.

24:07

James McKinney: It's garbage. I mean, it really is not good for you at all.

24:10

FX Rouxel: Yeah, yeah. And in particular, you realize how hard it is to really have a healthy diet and healthy nutrition. And that's really, that's the time where, when all the dots started connecting, where, you know, I was like, Hey, I really want to have an impact. Hey, I realize that what we're eating is just garbage, hey, actually, we have the technology to solve this. That's where all the dots started connecting. And then you need the spark, you need you need some luck at some point, something external that comes and makes it possible. And this spark was the fact that I met with people in McGill in Montreal. And they were working on these vertical technologies to grow food vertically, and that was the spark for me because I was like, wow, you know, if we can grow food vertically. That means you can you just add one dimension stress, not a two dimensional three dimensional thing. So suddenly the density, the density of food you can grow within the same footprint is just so much bigger. And our thinking, Hey, could we could we build a technology whereby within just a few square feet, you can grow all the food you need, no pesticide, fully organic, absolutely nutritious, and you have nothing to do? This is just managed by the system. And that's what I know. I mean, you know, thinking about AI, automation, cloud, that's basically what we're doing all day long. So I said, you know, if we can merge these two technologies, this vertical technology, and the automation side of it, IoT side of it, we can really change the game. And that's what I decided to launch Gardyn.

25:53

James McKinney: Before we continue, let's take a moment here to unpack for my listeners exactly what Gardyn is .So if you were here to have a 30 second pitch contest, how would you tee up what Gardyn is?

26:08

FX Rouxel: Yeah, Gardyn is about providing people with the ability to have access to healthy food all day long whenever they want at home, with no need for green thumb, space or time. That's it. And that's really what we're trying to do, we want to solve this equation of, we want people to have food that is healthy, we want this to be always available. We want this to take no time or no skills from you. And we want this to be with no impact on the environment. And when I say that, where you're like wow, that's a lot. But actually the funny thing is, this is possible. This is absolutely possible.

26:47

James McKinney: For those who are listening You know, when we think of gardening and again I'm not going back to your energy background, for those who understand a little bit of gardening, we think of the cycle of photosynthesis and processing the light into fuel, and for the plants to grow and then the water necessary to grow and all the elements to growing a vegetable garden. How do you accomplish this within a self contained unit where anybody can grow food?

27:19

FX Rouxel: Yep. And that's really where the challenge was.


27:22

James McKinney: Okay, before FX unpacks the challenges in creating Gardyn, I want to pause for a moment and talk to you, The Startup Story listener. Would you rather receive tactics and guidance from founders and real business builders, or from self proclaimed thought leaders? And I ask that because that is what makes The Startup Story so unique and why hearing directly from other founders is so incredibly helpful.

This is also what makes Grindology so special as well. Grindology is a brand extension of The Startup Story that delivers founder direct resources that will help ease your grind and fuel your hustle. Now what exactly is included in the quarterly Grindology shipment? Well first and foremost, every single Grindology shipment will include a copy of the Grindology tactical manual. And every single issue of Grindology will be chock full of real tactics from real business builders, not journalists. Within the pages of the Grindology tactical manual, we will be delivering to you tactics and strategies that you can integrate into your business immediately.

Our current issue that is available right now is focused on content. And in this issue, you will receive proven tactics on how to leverage existing content that you've created to drive new business and deliver new revenue. Again, this is content you've already created that will drive new business and new revenue. And you'll hear operational tactics that are used by founders that have seen nearly 400% growth in one year, and in fact that founder he attributes that growth to the tactics he shares in this issue. In our previous issue, we had a SAS founder lay out exactly how he obtained his first 1,000 customers and another founder talked about how he leveraged his videos to increase sales and lead conversions. I'm telling you founder direct tactics make all the difference in the world and that is exactly what you will find in this issue and then every issue of Grindology. Like I said real tactics from real business builders

Our Q2 issue is now available and you can access it at grindology.com and everything about Grindology is about helping to fuel your grind and your entrepreneurial journey so visit grindology.com to learn more and of course we'll include a link to grindology.com within our show notes for easy access. Now let's jump back in or episode FX Rouxel as he begins to share the challenges with completely re envisioning how consumers view their relationship with food and the production of it.


29:40

FX Rouxel: So basically, we did two things that are really important and that brought this revolution. The first one is we perfected this hydroponic technology to make it something that is really producing a lot of food within a small footprint. Why? Because if you think about hydroponics, hydroponics is something that is pretty mainstream, has been around for some time, for a long time, actually. But most of these technologies are horizontal. So basically what you do is you grow plants in water, the plants can get all the nutrients they need from the water, plus the water they need. And that's how they grow. And then you know whether they are in greenhouses or you give them light, that's the way it is going.

It's working fine. The main issue with this technology, it's really bulky, it's pretty big. And the beauty of the vertical farming is that suddenly you get this additional dimension, you can have a very high density, as I was saying, of food within a small footprint. So what we did is, we developed, we perfected this technology, we developed our own hydroponic technology, we call it the Hybriponic technology that makes it possible to grow this food in a very compact system. So that's one.

And the second thing that is totally crucial in my mind, is being able to do that in a way that people have no skills, no involvement, no time to spend, or green thumb. And the way we do it is we have a lot of sensors on this device. Obviously temperature, humidity, whatever. But we have also cameras. And what we're doing with camera is computer vision. We are taking pictures of the plants and we're taking these pictures every 30 minutes, which is absolutely enough given the speed of growth of the plant. But what it does is we can know exactly what's growing. We can know how fast it's growing, because you can compare image after image how fast they're growing. You can identify if there is an issue. And you can overall optimize the system for the growth of the plants.

So the system overall is really everything the plants need there is water, there are the nutrients, the lights are embedded in the system, the cameras, the sensors, so that basically you could put the system everywhere. You could put it in your basement, in your living room, in your kitchen, wherever you are. You just need power and Wi-Fi and that's it. And what it does is on your app, you're going to select the plants you want, you get them by mail, you just plug them in the system, and the system takes over. It's going to sprout your plants going to make them grow, it's going to let you know when it's ready for harvest.

32:12

James McKinney: This is an unbelievably… I'm just so super impressed with this unit. And for my listeners, you know, in the previous weeks, you've heard me talk about this Gardyn giveaway and maybe you've visited thestartupstory.co/gardyn to enter for a chance to win one of these units. So you've seen it and you are just mesmerized at how beautifully designed it is as well. If you haven't yet had a chance to visit it, because you didn't know exactly what it was when I was promoting it, I encourage you to visit thestartupstory.co/gardyn. Again, we'll include a link in the show notes. But one of the things that again that I've been excited about having this episode with you is to understand more about the capacity of what can be grown in this. Is the user beholden to getting their food and seeds from you? Because what if they want to grow something that you aren't currently making these pods? Can anybody just start planting their own foods in this Gardyn device?

33:15

FX Rouxel: Absolutely. In really, at the end, they that's our goal. Our goal is to make it easy for people to have a healthier lifestyle. If you want to grow your own seeds, your own food that's absolutely feasible. So we actually also provide people with what… so when people order plants, actually what they get is a ycube. A ycube is this, that's kind of the Nespresso capsule, the K-Cup of Gardyn, and everything is really in there. So you just take your ycube, you put it in this pod, and you're going to put it in the corner of the system, and the system is going to take over and grow your plants. If you want to grow your own seeds, you can actually buy cubes that are seedless and inject inside your own seed and they're going to grow. We have we have people doing crazy experiments and that's a lot of fun. You know we have people growing squash, growing zucchinis, we have some people trying also passion fruits, and we'll see how it grows. We are growing a lot of strawberries. I love them because they are really sweet. The sky's the limit.

I would say that there are two things you cannot grow. Two only I would say. One is things that are too big. If you tell me Hey, can we grow apples? Sorry, that's a tree, that's way too big. And things that are roots. So if you tell me Hey, can we grow potatoes or carrots? No, that's you know, the hydroponic technology in itself is not great for roots. But between these two, you can really grow everything you want.

34:51

James McKinney: Once someone were to plant their own seed, does the system self identify quickly as to what it is being planted or as a user then go into the app to say, here's what I've planted, system takeover.

35:04

FX Rouxel: Yeah. So right now what we're doing, and obviously, we're learning. So the beauty of this is you can really teach the system and train the system for many, many other things. So right now what we're doing is we're just when that's a plant that is not in our portfolio, the system is just providing an average management of the plant that is working for most of the plants. If you want to say, hey, that's not what I want for my plant, I want to actually change it from your app, you can actually control all the parameters of your device. I would say it's really then your call to really play with it, it's your choice. You may have an amazing result. Or if you screw up, you may screw up. But that's just something you can do.

35:47

James McKinney: It was one of things I find interesting about this FX is, you know, I'm here in Texas, and one of the country's largest food deserts happens to be in a suburb just outside of Metropolitan Dallas. And for those that aren't aware of food deserts in the US, and we don't want to exaggerate, but most states have food deserts. And that is where you cannot find wholesome really garden based food items within a set parameter. I don't know exactly what that measurement is. It's a mile or two miles, whatever the case may be. But you can find plenty of fast food restaurants, right? You can't find the wholesome stuff, the produce aisle at a grocery store, there's no real grocery stores within that area. I find it fascinating because within these food deserts, we can create like, if Gardyn's can get inside of those homes that tend to be low income, they tend to be some type of socio economic disadvantage. But they can have wholesome foods, right? I mean, they tend to also have education systems that perform poorly. But if we get them the right foods, that has been proven to show the ability to perform well, both mentally and physically, I just see so much advantage to what can be done if we can get more of the good foods in the right places. But as an entrepreneur, as a business, we have to balance right quality of product and price points. When you think of the long term vision for Gardyn, the idea of really truly helping people fuel their body with the things that are good, how do you see addressing the, the disadvantaged population, if you will?

37:30

FX Rouxel: Yeah, that's a great question. First, when I founded garden, it was this view that it's not just about providing a nice device to the wealth of people, it's really trying to address structurally, the big issue we have in the country. And you know, when we build Gardyn and the first device, obviously, that's something that is in your home, that is looking amazing. That is great. Personally, the way see there's an engineer is the first technological block to distributed farming systems. So the way I see and the way we've built the backend of it, if I want to be big technical is, we know everything that is growing everywhere. And this is optimized by all the algorithms we've built. We have Gardyn's in Anchorage, we have Gardyn's in Hawaii, we have Gardyn's in every state. And the beauty of it to your point is you don't need to have any skills and knowledge, you don't need to be part of a network of supply.

In most of the food deserts, there is a socio economic dimension of it. But there is also just the fact that no company is interested in serving these people. Just because it does not make sense from an economic point of view, because you don't have the economy of scale. With Gardyn you don't need the economy of scale. And that changes everything. So that's one that's one goal is we want to with what we're creating, it's not just about having a Gardyn here or there. It's how can we build a real credible alternative to the traditional slash industrial agriculture we have today? That's one.

The second thing is to your point about underprivileged communities. It's totally critical we address them and we support them. Why? Because as you said it, the impact of having a healthy diet on people and in particular on kids, and their mental and intellectual development has been proven to be totally. So that's something, that's an investment we need to make. That's absolutely key if we want to keep the society in a moving forward in a harmonious way. So what we're doing, we're a small company, we're startup, what we've said from the beginning is we are we're pledging 1% of our revenue to actually use this technology to support underprivileged communities. So what we're doing is we're working with charities to actually use Gardyn in particular and the food to food deserts. And what's something we're going to launch in the coming weeks is actually, it's a call for projects of people working with underprivileged communities who need these Gardyn's to actually donate this Gardyn and support this community to provide healthier and better food to, in particular to kids.

40:17

James McKinney: Oh, my goodness, I love that. One, thank you for being willing to do that for the communities. Again, I until I moved to Texas, and again, I'm from Southern California, but until I moved I wasn't even aware of the idea of food deserts, until I came across a video videographer who is making a documentary about food deserts. And it just it really opened my eyes to one, what a disadvantage those families are at just because of their inability to get wholesome foods, the nutritious foods. And then also two just really how much trash is in fast food that makes it so affordable. I mean, there's a reason you can get a full meal for $2 off the dollar menu of a fast food, because it's there's nothing in it that is good for you. And it's just it's horrible. And that's one of the things that drew me to the Gardyn story. But how do you how do you grow Gardyn at scale? Your current unit, how long does it take to go from pod to plate, if you will? And how much can a single unit produce at one given time?

41:24

FX Rouxel: Yeah, that's a great question. And you know, that's the way we design Gardyn, we design it with the view that you really want to, you want it to be food, you want to feed your family, it's not a gadget to get a few herbs here and there. You really want to be able to have a big salad every day. So the way we designed this technology and the way we dimension the device, you can produce between eight and 10 pounds of produce every month. You can really have a big salad for your family every day. And you're going to tell me but how is it possible? the key point of this is you are going to keep eating on your plants every day, for several months. So that's something people have a hard time realizing you, when you buy a head of lettuce, you go to your supermarket, buy a head of lettuce, you eat a bit of it. Two days later, you look at the fridge, you're like, Oh, that's disgusting use. Frankly, that's the experience of most people. With Gardyn, the plants are growing on your Gardyn.

To your point is going to take two to three weeks to go from sporting things to a plan that you can start eating on it. But then once you start eating on the plants, you are going to keep eating on them, they are going to keep growing, and that they're going to do that for several months. So we need to change our paradigm. The fact that you grow a head of lettuce, you eat a bit of it, and you throw it away. This is just, you know, it doesn't make sense. If you take a look a lettuce, you can eat on a lettuce for several months. Why? Because it's going to keep growing and, and making new leaves and you just eat from these leaves, you let the small ones in the middle, you don't touch them, they're going to grow. And within a few weeks, you're going to get all the head of lettuce back as it was. And that's really the way it's working. So it's really changing our way of looking at it. It's not just about the one shot consumption approach. It's saying, no, you want to preserve things, keep eating on it, it's much more sustainable for everybody, for the planet and for you.

43:26

James McKinney: When you think of scaling the company, though, does the device change at all? Do you look at it from an enterprise level? How do you look at the growth of Gardyn? Is it a unit sale? Is it a geography? Is it a SKU count? Like how do you look at the growth of a Gardyn as it continues to grow? Because again, you're still an early stage startup who has who has done incredibly well, but there's still so much opportunity. What does that look like to you?

43:53

FX Rouxel: Yeah, that's a great question. There are so many avenues. The first obvious observation is we are pretty small, the potential of the market is huge. So it's what we see is most people are like, Wow, I didn't know it existed. That's amazing. I want one. So it's really about letting people know about it. And we see that that's a game changer for us. In terms of technology, that's something we keep innovating and developing. Obviously, we are developing new varieties, but we are introducing between four and five new varieties every month. Because that's in my mind, that's really part of having a very broad portfolio that people can pick whatever they want. In particular, we're doing a lot of research on the specific varieties to bring varieties that are very tasty but also very nutritious.

But that's also something people don't really realize is there has been over the past several decades, there has been a huge standardization of food. You were talking about fast foods. That has been the same thing when it comes to produce. People are not aware of it. But we went from so many different varieties to just a few of them in the supermarkets. Why? Because the overall industry has optimized for production and supply chain. So they pick the best varieties not because they are the most nutritious or the best, just the varieties that would stand a very long supply chain and transportation. They took the ones that could be harvested very early on, and so on and so forth. The result is, even though you go to the supermarket and you buy produce, and it's pretty expensive, basically, you're just getting water. If you look at the stats, most produce had been harvested several weeks ago, sometimes several months ago. We're trying to do exactly the opposite way around, we want to optimize produce for the consumption for what they bring. When you say food, in food, there is feeding, feeding people. So it should be optimized not for the production of it, it should be optimized for what it brings to your body and your soul.

45:59

James McKinney: Oh my goodness, I love it. I can't I cannot wait to have a where they are now episode in a few years with Gardyn to see where it's at. I'm excited for the for the future of it. But again, I love talking with early stage startups, because there's so many challenges that they had to overcome to get to where they are today. And so if you were to look back, and again, what 2019 I think is the beginning of Gardyn, does that date sound correct?

46:24

FX Rouxel: Correct, yes. End of 2018 actually, yes.

46:28

James McKinney: Yes. End of 2018, beginning of 2019. So we're only talking a few years, a few years young in the startup journey for Gardyn. What have been some of the most challenging obstacles for you to navigate up to this point? Now, again, I'm not saying you've resolved these challenges. I'm not saying that they don't continue to be a thorn in your side as you look to grow and expand Gardyn. But what has been one of those great lessons that you've had to try and figure out?

46:58

FX Rouxel: That's a great question. Obviously, we are developing technologies that are pretty complex. So it's a lot of moving pieces. And that has been a challenge to bring together technologies that are so different. Hybriponics and hydroponics on the one end, AI and computer vision on the other end, how you talk to people so that even though they don't know anything, they can understand if there is anything they need to do. So that's an amazing challenge. And that's the value we're bringing is how do you take these technologies that are so different together. And I think that's one of the value we're bringing.

The other thing that is just luck is, we've been extremely lucky in the way we launched the product. Just to give you a sense of this, so 2019, we developed most of the technology, and we started working on the mass production of it. And then we got the pre series around September 2019. And then we started launching the mass production end of 2019. So I was thinking, Hey, we should actually… so the device, all the plans are coming from the US, all the seeds are coming from little small, small farms. The device itself for cost consideration is actually manufactured in China. And basically, I was thinking, hey, there is Chinese New Year coming up. It's early February, I really need to go there and make sure we're going to get all the devices because we need these devices. So I flew to China in January 2020. And I spent two weeks over there in the factory sleeping in the factory just because I wanted to make sure we get the devices. When I left China, by the end of January, I left with a few Gardyn's with me on the plane but most of it in a container on the ocean. And then I came back to the US and guys told me Hey, did you hear about this thing in China, they call it Coronavirus? Do you know what it is? And I no clue. You know, I had spent several weeks in China and nobody talked about it obviously at that time. Even the term COVID-19 was not coined yet. But we've been extremely lucky because you know, the day I left China, basically a few days later, everything shut down. They closed everything off for a long time. But the Gardyn's were on the ocean and going to the US and then basically when the lockdown started in the US in March, we got all the Gardyn's and we could help people because people, you remember the time there was nothing on the shelves and the supermarkets looked pretty empty. At that time we had Gardyn's to sell and send to people and say, "Hey, you can grow your own food." And that was amazingly timely, but that that has been very stressful.

49:37

James McKinney: I can imagine. But one of the things that I find interesting about you know as you've unpacked the launching of Gardyn is most people are probably waiting to hear about your Kickstarter campaign and some crowdfunding or some element to that when it comes to the publicity and the launching of it. But that wasn't the case. So from a capital perspective, are you bootstrapped, is this self funded? Have you just got through friends and family round? Have you done any venture capital? What's been the capital build for this?

50:08

FX Rouxel: Yeah, that's a great question. So when I've been lucky enough to have made a bit of money when I was working in corporate America, so basically, I started the company on my own funds. Obviously, you cannot go very far this way. But that's the way I started. Which is always weird, because you're basically paying people with your own money, and you can really, you know that makes a big difference. And then basically friends and family, we raised $2.5 million in 2019, we raised $2.5 million in 2020. And then early earlier this year in January raised $10 million. And the main investor is JAB. JAB is not is not very well known from the public, but basically they own Peet's Coffee, Panera, Keurig, Pret a Manger. They're really big in food. And basically, my understanding is the reason they invest in Gardyn is they were telling us this is the next, this is the future of food. This is the next. We need to find ways to be much more sustainable, we need to find ways to bring people healthy food, where they are locally with no impact on the environment, in a way that is based on technology. And you're part of shaping the future. So that's what we're trying to do and trying to stay focused on.

51:35

James McKinney: It's funny, you mentioned JAB holdings, because we had interviewed Brunt Workwear, actually, of all brands, and he helped co found Trade Coffee, and I think JAB was part of Trade Coffee, in the early days of getting that started. So it's interesting to be able to have that six degrees of separation when it comes to venture capital. Congratulations on the massive success with the venture capital side of it and the fundraising. I know it helps to alleviate little bit of pressure when it comes to some of the challenges, especially navigating through what we all went through in 2020, and what the future holds. It's a great opportunity for Gardyn. But when you think of when you think of your next steps, let's just say the next two to three years, it's right on the horizon. These are these are problems that you're addressing now and challenges you're addressing now in order to execute and deliver in just two to three years. What are those things that you're looking at right now, in order to address and set up Gardyn for that two to three years from now? Maybe it's people, maybe it's the infrastructure and logistics, maybe it's manufacturing. Like, what are the things that you're focused on right now, because of the importance they play in two to three years from now?

52:44

FX Rouxel: It's a bit of everything, you know, and when you build a company, obviously, resources are totally key. You need to find the right people, you need to find amazing people. Interestingly enough, and that was one of our big focus this year, is our big focus this year, is culture. And that may sound weird, because you're like, Hey, you're a startup, what matters is grow, and you don't care how you do that. And that's not my belief at all. I think it's really important to set things right from the beginning. And culture is really important. Why? Because that's your identity, that's the way you do things. And at the end of the day, I believe there is no separation between within the company and the outside of the company, and the people you're serving, wherever they are. So that means you need to be totally consistent across the board. So that's one.

The second thing is what we are building into the reason we're building, I really believe in the "why," you know, I think that's the most important reason, why you're doing things you're doing. We're doing what we're doing, because we believe that we want a better future, and that the technology we have and what the passion we have and what we're building can have a big impact positively on people in our planet. And that means you really want to build things in a way that is not just about growing a business, making a bit of money and selling it to someone else. That's what we're trying to do. I really want to build something that's going to be long lasting, that we're going to be proud of down the road because of the adventure we had, because of what we've created, because of the impact we had. And to get there, culture is absolutely key. It's key because as a fast growing company, we are recruiting a lot of people, you need to know what kind of people you want. You don't want to recruit people just because they are good technically, you want people that fit the dream you have, the vision you have. You want people that are going to address the problems and solve them in the way you want, positively not just in a very short term way of things. So I think it's really when you start the company or in the early days of the company that you need to address this question of culture, what kind of culture you are, what kind of people you what kind of behaviors, why are you doing what you're doing. This is the trick, and we spending a lot of time on this.

The other reason we're spending a lot of time on this is because of being remote. The choice we've made from the very beginning is to be totally remote. So it's not related to COVID. We have people in Canada, you know I was talking about McGill, we have people all over the place in the US, we have people in Europe, with people in China. We are, you know, in so many time zones, even though we're a small company. We are fully remote, we're going to stay this way. In that means, the main bonds we have is actually our passion and our mission for what we're doing, and that's culture. So that's also one reason why it's so important, we are all bound by the same mission, passion, vision, otherwise that wouldn't work.

55:47

James McKinney: I love that. When, when we talk about skill sets and our strengths and our weaknesses, as a startup, we have to wear a lot of hats. And oftentimes, we hear from founders that will say, you know, the first few hires you make, let them be people that fill in your weaknesses. And for you, when you think of your strengths and your weaknesses, what are those weaknesses? And how did you solve them to be addressed early on as a startup?

56:16

FX Rouxel: That's a great question. You know, as a founder, you have to have so many hats, and you try to do your best to fill all the positions and, and basically, you just do an okay job in every position, but not that great. So the beauty of it is because you're only one guy or a few people, in general, you're in agreement with yourself. So that goes pretty smooth. But obviously, as things grow, you need to hire people that are much better. And that's what I've been trying to do. So in every part of the company, and even you know, very early on, when it comes to the hydroponic technology, when it comes to building a very strong backend, AI algorithms, when it comes to having an amazing interface with the customers, when it comes to having an amazing customer service to really give an amazing experience. We've hired amazing people from the very beginning very quickly, to address all these key parts. And that makes a big difference, definitely.

57:18

James McKinney: I love it, absolutely. You know, I want to honor your time. And we're coming up on the end of our time together. But I want to make sure to also honor our listeners time asking the three questions I ask at the end of every episode that I know they love, because I hear about it at the end of every release. And that first one is about entrepreneurship. And just the general idea of entrepreneurship. The media has done a great job at positioning entrepreneurship as the road to massive success. But they don't really paint a lot of the challenges and obstacles that come with entrepreneurship. They don't talk about the years and the obstacles that a founder had to go through to bring their idea to fruition. They painted as an overnight thing, they painted as a Field of Dreams model where if you build it, you're going to succeed, like there's no failure inside of that. And unfortunately, I think people have the wrong idea of what it takes to really be an entrepreneur and a founder of a company. But for you, what do you think about entrepreneurship? Do you think anybody can be an entrepreneur? Or do you think there's a genetic makeup inside of us?

58:25

FX Rouxel: That's a great question. I have absolutely no clue if there is, if people are born entrepreneurs or not. I think it's every case is different. The one thing that strikes me though, is I think you are not an entrepreneur because you want to have a massive success. Everybody wants to be successful, obviously. But I think what makes an entrepreneur is someone who just want to make a dream become a reality. And it's not about, at least that's my vision of it, you don't measure this in terms of, I want to be successful, I want to make a lot of money, I want to do this or that. It's more about your strong need to make something you have in your head become a reality because you believe in it, because you believe that would be so awesome. That would be you know, that's what I want to do. And you're not always thinking about, and I think that's good, you're not always thinking about the risk and what happens if you're a failure, because the acuity is very high.

Now, the other thing that is really interesting, in my case, I was working for corporate America, I had a pretty comfortable job, big job. And then I quit to launch a startup. And to be honest with you, that was very difficult that was the most difficult decision in my life. The most difficult. Why? Because you have this big job, you have this big title. You make a lot of money. And then you someday you come to your wife and say, Hey, honey, guess what, I'm going to quit and I'm going to start this thing in my garage. And I'm not even sure it's going to succeed. And then your wife is like, you know what? We have two kids. They're going to go to college very soon. We have the mortgage, and you won't do that. And that that was really difficult. And my wife in particular has been an amazing help. Because that has been a lot of discussion within our couple. I mean, when you launch this type of thing, it's really a decision you're making for your family as well. So don't believe you know, hey, I'm the entrepreneur, I don't care, I'm going to do it. That's not the case. I mean, you have kids, you have your wife, you have your family, they're going to be impacted big time. And we spent several months talking about it.

And interestingly enough, she's been kind of a coach to me. I mean, I guess she didn't want to be in that position. But that's how it turned out. Basically, the first time, she said, No way, you won't do that, think about the kids, college, everything, you won't do that. And I said, Hey, you know, I really want to do it. So what is it I should do to convince you? And she was like, you know, your Gardyn thing is interesting, but I don't know whether that's going to work, so prove it to me that it's going to work. And I think that was the best thing she could say, instead of just saying, hey, I want to do it, I'm going to do it, she forced me to prove. And that means doing some prototyping, doing some tests, and so on that it would work. So what I did, so far I had shaped a lot of the Gardyn using 3D printer. So at that time, you could imagine my kitchen top was just filled with printers, and same thing in the garage. And what I did is I turned the 3D printers from just doing rapid prototyping to producing real devices. Obviously, they were not looking great, but they were functional. And this way I manufactured roughly 20 devices, I gave them to friends, and I told them, okay, test it, tell me, let me know what you think about it.

And actually, my wife said, I want to be the one who is going to interview these guys to understand whether that makes sense or not. And she did it. She went through everybody. And she came back to me and say, Hey FX, you know what, there are a lot of things that are not working, they have a lot of things that need to be improved. But overall, they love it. Overall, they're saying, you know that that's changing their life, and they didn't believe that was possible. So you know what, maybe you should do it. And that's how I got the green light, then quit the big job and started Gardyn. And she's been amazingly supportive since then. And that that's been awesome.

62:33

James McKinney: That is incredible. I absolutely love that story. I love the perspective you share about the idea of again, as entrepreneurs we come from different backgrounds. Some are single, but many are married, and many are married in their 40s. And it's this idea of mortgage and kids and, and sometimes that becomes the narrative as to why we stop and we don't pursue, but I love how you worked as a team. And it's something I talk about often on The Startup Story is that married entrepreneurs need to understand that it's not just their journey, it's their spouse's journey, as well. And so we need to be considerate of that.

You shared a little bit about how much your wife has helped you. But one of the other things that I like to ask my founder guests is about all the people that have contributed to their success, because again, back to the media, back to the things that people are consuming, there's this narrative that entrepreneurship is an isolated journey, and it can be, but it doesn't have to be. So when you look back at your entire life's journey, who are the people that you point to with such immense gratitude for their contribution to where you are today?

63:34

FX Rouxel: I think you're absolutely spot on. It's you know, being an entrepreneur is absolutely not something that you do in isolation, it's really leveraging a lot of people, leveraging a lot of points and dots you connect, it's also helping luck and chance to come to some extent. It's really difficult to name specific people, but there's been dozens of them that actually helped me overcome small things that altogether turn into a success. So I give you a few examples.

You know, I met these guys at McGill. The reason I went there is just because I had a friend who is working at McGill and said, Hey, you know, they have an amazing department, but maybe you may want to talk to them. Let me connect the two of you. And that's how I got connected. We developed Gardyn in Shenzhen in China, it is really hard to develop a supply chain in China and overseas when you're small startup. Actually a friend of mine lives in Baltimore, he's manufacturing stuff in China through someone that is living in Europe and gave me all these connections and at the end of the day I ended up with this guy working in… a European guy working in Shenzhen who said, "Hey, yeah, let's make a Gardyn that's fine." And there are certainly by chance as well.

And you know, same thing when it comes to raising money, knowing people, a lot of just talking to people and say, you know, I need help. I think that that's one point I really want to stress is, if you want to be an entrepreneur, it's really important to recognize that you need help. And if you believe or if you don't say, so let's say, you won't get it. So one thing I really do each time I meet with people, you don't want to ask too many things because, you know, otherwise, it's confusing, and so on. But very often, I try to think about, okay, if there is one thing that you could really help me with, what is it that it would be? And just asking one very specific question. Sometimes people are like, hmm, let me think about it. And some friends of mine came back to me, like, sometimes two months later, say, "Hey, FX, I remember your question, I found the answer." And that's an amazing development and help.

So yeah, and so it's such an isolation, it's really daring. You need to dare to ask questions, you need to dare to be vulnerable, there is no way you're going to succeed alone. So it's just recognizing this and say, "Hey, guys, I need help. I really believe that what we're doing is just amazing, I won't do it alone. Help me." But you cannot just say help me in general, you just need to say, Hey, could you help me with this very specific? What do you think about it? And then people, you're just amazed how people are no resourceful and come back with amazing answers and solutions.

66:23

James McKinney: I love that. Entrepreneurship is very much a community. I've never met a founder that has not been willing to help. And I think you know, I say it all the time entrepreneurs support other entrepreneurs. And there's so much truth in it. And people just need to understand that that's the reality versus this idea of having this mask of bravado or ego to it to prohibit us from asking the questions and seeking the guidance. Because every single founder I've had on the show has always said yes. Every invite has always been Yes, because they want to contribute their learnings to the entrepreneurial audience.

And so for those, as our time does come to an end, I would love to have all my audience have access to you for help. But at this number and scale, it's unreasonable. So I've reverse engineered this in a way to have a mentoring minute. So if you were having coffee with one of my listeners, and maybe it's the listener who is in their 40s, and is married with kids, and maybe some narrative as to why they think it's probably a little too late to start their venture. Or maybe they're 60. And they think that starting adventure is definitely for the young, and their ship has sailed. Whatever persona resonates with you. What would you say to them, to encourage them in the next 12 months as they pursue and push towards building this dream that they have?

67:41

FX Rouxel: That's a great question. You know, in my case, the main reason I started Gardyn and I went into entrepreneurship is when I realized that actually starting a new venture is not taking risk, it's actually not doing it that is taking risk. Let me explain why. When you just keep going the way you are, you're not doing anything new, you're just getting old, you're just getting in your routine. And that's actually when you're losing, you're losing sharpness, you're losing value on the market, losing a lot of things. You don't realize it because you're used to what you're doing. So you're like, I'm great, I'm fine, I'm comfortable. You know, if I change radically, dramatically, that's when I'm taking some risk. The reality is exactly the opposite way around. If you don't change, if you don't start something new, you're going to lose value on the market, you're going to adjust less, get less and less sharp, and you're going to be less and less having fun. So that was also a big chunk of helping me make this decision, when I realized that if I don't take this step, I'm going to be in a very linear career. And at some point, I'm going to get bored. And when I get bored, and I really dare to do something, it's going to be too late. And I would have no value on the market. And I'm going to get stuck.

Frankly, with what I'm doing today. I don't know whether we're going to succeed or not. But I know what I'm learning today. I know the fun I'm having. I know waking up every morning thinking, Hey, this is cool what we're doing. I don't know whether that's going to work at the end of the day, but I know why I'm doing it. And this is worth a ton. So absolutely no regret. Again, think about the way you are today, not as the way to go. But actually the way that you are thinking, you are putting you at risk because you're not moving, you're not changing, you're not doing new things. Doing new things is actually reducing your risk.

69:36

James McKinney: Once you've had a few moments to process all the value that FX Rouxel brought us in this week's episode, please hit me up on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Instagram and share with me your thoughts on this episode. If you've been around The Startup Story for any length of time then you know how much emphasis I put on the idea that entrepreneurs support other entrepreneurs, and FX is delivering big time so check out our show notes for all the links to the giveaway and the discount code. And definitely make sure to visit mygardyn.com and use that promo code "Startup Story" to get $150 off your beautiful Gardyn unit. This is what I mean when I say entrepreneurs support other entrepreneurs. So let's show up and show out for FX. And now for my personal ask.

The Startup Story community has been so incredible about sharing our podcast with others, but we have more stories to tell and more people to reach. We too are a startup and word of mouth is everything, so please follow us on Facebook and Instagram @TheStartupStory or on Twitter @StartupStory_. If you're on LinkedIn, please search for The Startup Story and follow our company page. LinkedIn is a really powerful way to raise awareness of the show. But the most impactful way you can help us grow our audience is to leave a review on Apple Podcast. Or if you listen to the show via Spotify, then please simply share the podcast directly from your Spotify app or wherever you listen to the show.

These simple actions can make a huge impact in getting these amazing founder stories out to the masses. And please make sure to tag or mention The Startup Story when you do share so that we can connect with you and say thank you directly. I'm so incredibly appreciative of the fact that you listen to the show each and every week, and I look forward to sharing these amazing stories with you every Tuesday with hopes of encouraging and inspiring you to start your story.

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July 20 2021
FX Rouxel, founder of Gardyn

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