Self-confessed serial entrepreneur Nic Tauroa is happiest when he’s creating and designing. As a young teenager he built and sold second-hand computers then started his own design engineering business before moving into 3D printing. But it’s his latest venture – Evagrow – that has real potential to grow into a thriving enterprise.

Utilising his engineering background, Nic designed Evagrow – an indoor vertical garden that enables customers to grow herbs, vegetables and house plants inside their own home.

“Evagrow’s indoor garden uses the same technology as commercial vertical farms overseas which means it can produce tasty, fresh food all year around,” says Nic.

The modular system is built with New Zealand materials and manufacturers, including a custom LED lighting system and simple hydroponic systems. It sounds complicated but customers can easily assemble the indoor garden themselves at home.

The indoor garden system is available in two sizes, as a 60-centimetre or 40-centimetre unit, meaning it is compact enough to fit into apartments or small kitchens. It’s also stackable so you can have a number of gardens and grow a variety of herbs, vegetables and plants.

Evagrow has been two years in the making and, while still in its developmental stage, Nic wanted to find out if Evagrow had the potential to succeed.

“I enrolled in CO.STARTERS as I wanted to see if my idea was feasible before investing too heavily. CO.STARTERS gave me the template and metrics I needed to work out if I should take Evagrow to the next stage of development. It helped me identify my target customers and gave me the validation and tools I needed to move forward,” says Nic.

Nic attended weekly CO.STARTERS three-hour workshops for ten weeks before presenting his business idea to his cohort and judges. His business idea received further validation when Soda guest judges awarded Evagrow with the best pitch of the night.

Since creating Evagrow’s first indoor vertical garden in his workshop, Nic has sold six indoor gardens and is planning on getting feedback from his first customers before offering Evagrow to a wider market. Evagrow also creates larger indoor garden systems for small scale commercial and consumer markets.

We’re excited to follow Nic and Evagrow on their new start-up journey.

If you need validation and support to grow your business or business idea, applications are open now for Soda’s next CO.STARTERS programme which starts on 2 August 2021. Find out more

Nic Tauroa (second left) with pitch night judges Grant Johnson (RocketSpark), Daz Burns (The Good Day Matrix) and Steve Gow (Momentum Waikato)