There is a new gardening app in town. At first glance, BloomCatch looks like a plant identification app but when fully developed, BloomCatch will be a plant parent connect app. Through this app, users aka “plant parents” will be able to connect to plant names, plant knowledge, plant answers, as well as other plant parents and plant businesses. From learning to buying to growing to networking, BloomCatch will serve as a gardening hub.
“It is unique,” says Ray Magee, CEO and founder of BloomCatch. “The app is different than anything in the marketplace. I have spent years developing the underlying technology.” Launched in December 2020, BloomCatch is available for download on the App Store and Google PlayStore.
Ray has always been in the computer world. He has been coding software from adolescence through adulthood. With a BA in computer science and an MBA in entrepreneurship, Ray is well positioned to start and lead this company. Already he has built a team of eight staff, demonstrating the ability to tap into expertise and experience to assist and guide the company as a whole.
Ray has always been interested in nature as well. When he was a child, he would spend his days outside exploring the natural world in his rural hometown. When he became a father, he took his children on hikes through nature preserves. To answer his children’s questions about the plants, he downloaded the apps on the market, only to find that they could not provide the answers. Ray saw a gap in what gardening apps offered. However, instead of developing another plant identification app, he has developed an app that offers many components. His goal is to help plant parents on many levels.
“Plant parents is a term associated with the emotional and psychological perspective of how plant owners think about plants and how I think of plants,” explained Ray. “I have owned plants my whole life and I have also been a gardener. You create a deep emotional connection with your plants similar to how you connect with your kids. You want your plants to be well, to be green and vibrant and blossom and look their best.”
In addition to identifying a plant, BloomCatch has a searchable database of plant information. If further information is needed, users can ask plant experts (real people, not a computer). These people are on the clock Monday through Friday during business hours. Questions that come in after hours are answered the following day.
Wait, there’s more. Currently BloomCatch is free but soon it will cost $1/month. The twist is that 10 percent of all revenue subscriptions will be donated to either a non-profit organization of the user’s choice, or to an organization already teamed with BloomCatch. Ray has agreements with two non-profit organizations: the Washington Youth Garden, a program of the Friends of the National Arboretum, that engages Title 1 schools and under resourced youth and families; and City Blossoms, an organization that cultivates the well-being of DC communities through creative programming in children-driven gardens and green spaces. If the user would like to donate to a non-profit organization that is aligned with BloomCatch’s core values, the user can propose the organization via the app. The team will contact the organization and get back to the user.
Wait, there’s even more. If users want to purchase a particular plant, they will be able to purchase that plant from the retailers with which BloomCatch has agreements. Depending on the retailer’s capability, the plant can be shipped to the user or the user will pick up the plant from the store. “We are building it now but eventually BloomCatch will be a one stop shop for plant parents,” said Ray. As a savvy businessman and entrepreneur, he is following the trend that many garden centers and nurseries are leaning toward — e-commerce capability. With BloomCatch, users can 1) identify; 2) locate; and 3) purchase the plant, thus saving time.
Ray, a true visionary, sees even more potential. “Gardening is social and local.” He wants to build a local plant community by connecting plant parents with plant/gardening organizations, retail businesses such as nurseries and garden centers, and educational events and workshops. Collaborating with local plant businesses, BloomCatch’s first plant event, a plant swap, was held in Virginia in July 2021. Hosting a plant swap was an excellent way to introduce the app (as well as Ray) to local residents. He plans to have more BloomCatch sponsored events in the DC metro area.
Download BloomCatch via the App Store and Google PlayStore and start taking photos of plants. To really get on the ground floor, consider investing in this new product. Ray is using wefunder for those interested in investing in BloomCatch. Yahoo Finance recognized this venture as one of the top six most promising start ups to watch in 2021. So watch out plant parents, there is a new app in town and it promises to be a winner.