Collaboration is the foundation of success
PlantX is the digital face of the plant-based community
Please introduce yourself and the PlantX to our readers!
I’ve had a very active professional career that started when I was only 17 years old. While still in college, I started a delivery service that soon became one of Canada’s largest delivery firms before companies like Postmates and Uber Eats had entered the market. At the time, we didn’t have the benefit of having an e-commerce infrastructure set up, so we would literally take orders from people, then place the order from the businesses before picking up and delivering to the customers. In 2014, I founded Namaste Technologies, the largest international e-commerce distributor of vaporizers and accessories, then took Namaste public and turned it into a $1.2 billion business within two years.
After starting my own plant-based journey, and seeing the massive benefits that it provided for me, I decided that I wanted to find a way to give back to the community while focusing on something I love. PlantX was born from this desire. It is truly my passion project! It’s the one-stop shop for all things plant-based and the digital face of the plant-based community. Whether you’re looking for prepared meals, pantry items, recipes, skin care products, toddler & baby formula, pet food, plants and more, you can find it all at PlantX.com.
Why did you decide to start this business?
Simply put: to give back to the world and provide the most effective means to educate anyone interested in living a healthier life.Plant-based living has been a revelation for me and for my life in general and the thought of sharing this with the world was just impossible to pass up. Plant-based living is more than just a trend; it’s a healthy way of living that’s better for the planet. Having already had success with multiple e-commerce platforms, this was a no-brainer.
What is the vision behind PlantX?
PlantX is the digital face of the plant-based community and the one-stop shop for all things plant-based. That’s more than just a slogan. We value community. Everyone is welcome whether new to plant-based living, or a diehard for years, we encourage anyone and everyone to come and learn and experience it for themselves. It’s also about peace of mind. When you’re ordering something and you’re plant-based, you often have to worry about what’s in the products that you’re ordering.
Not at PlantX – everything we offer on the site is completely plant-based so you can order with confidence. Much like Apple took an education-first approach, and Amazon aims to be the one stop shop for anything your heart desires, PlantX is positioned to do exactly that for the plant-based community, which is growing daily. We’re also driven to educate the next generation about why plant-based living is important, and to contribute to sustainability efforts, as well as promote wellness around the world.
From the idea to the start what have been the biggest challenges so far and how did you finance yourself?
The last year has seen unprecedented changes due to the pandemic, the economy slowed down, consumer interests shifted, there were significant changes in the way we interact and live our lives due to social distancing measures. As you can imagine it is highly challenging developing a new company in this environment. However, we managed to grow successfully despite these changes by starting off as a specialty ecommerce business, which was in tune with the general trend towards a more ecommerce-focused reality. Our growth-focused business model also contributed to this success; we’ve been working hard to expand our product range,create dynamic partnerships, and maintain powerful marketing efforts.
Another challenge is that the online plant-based marketplace is highly competitive. However, our vision and execution of that vision gives us significant advantages in this environment. PlantX is not just one, but serves several high-growth industries, including the plant-based, e-commerce/technology, and consumer-packaged goods. Therefore, we’re well positioned to fill the void in the marketplace by bridging various gaps between different investment opportunities and across industries.
Regarding financing, we became a public company in August 2020, which allowed for a high level of financing through US and Canadian investors and shareholders.We are well-capitalized with cash on the balance sheet, no debt, low capital requirements and diverse revenue streams.
Who is the target group of PlantX?
Really everyone and anyone- the PlantX aims to create an open environment that includes both niche and mainstream consumers. At first glance, you’d think that maybe only people who already live a plant-based lifestyle would be the target group, but we are committed to educate awareness around plant-based lifestyles in efforts to reach a larger and growing community. With the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, e-commerce has exploded as people have been staying home, and the focus on health has grown a lot. People are actively seeking ways to live healthier lives. We strongly believe that plant-based living offers a solution to that problem.
Demographics wise, most of our consumers are health-conscious individuals of all ages with strong interests in health and wellbeing, cooking, environment and sustainability, home and garden, and the cultural aspects of all things related to health and plant-based living.
How do PlantX work? What are the advantages? What makes you different from other companies?
PlantX is like a grocer, restaurant, plant store, and resource all rolled into one ecommerce site. Our unique platform leverages the ability to cross sell and cross promote by offering multiple services in one place. You can take care of just about all of your self-care needs in one place, and it’s all plant-based. From meal delivery to pantry items, cosmetics, pet food, plants, and more, you can find it all on our e-commerce platform. Because we aim to be an umbrella for all plant-based brands and products, we enjoy the advantage of not being in competition with any plant-based brands. It’s more of a collaboration. This is an advantage and it also sets us apart from other companies that are brand-specific.
PlantX’s digital platform is also uniquely positioned to build a community of like-minded consumers and provide education. We are following in the footsteps of Apple, Microsoft and Tesla who believe that education fuels growth. To support our education efforts, we are also backed by an experienced medical advisory board composed of doctors and specialists from around the world to better educate the company and our audience of consumers on the health benefits of a plant-based lifestyle. The medical advisory board will also discuss advancements in the plant-based industry and how PlantX can capitalize on such advancements.
We also continue to optimize our market presence through strategic partnerships with celebrity chefs, nutritionists, and likeminded innovative brands and companies.
All in all, seeing that we’re such a young company, we experienced tremendous success in 2020. In less than a year, we went from zero revenue onto raising CAD$11.5M in capital, generating over CAD$1.02M in December 2020 and CAD$1.08M in monthly revenues in January, completing several acquisitions, and adding thousands of products to our online platform. This makes us quite unique in such a competitive marketplace.
PlantX, where does the road go? Where do you see yourself in five years?
Global expansion. PlantX began in Canada, but we’ve expanded internationally to the US, Israel and beyond, and we’re not going to slow down anytime soon. In five years, seeing PlantX flagship stores globally and serving customers everywhere is definitely the goal. We’re also planning to grow organically through new partnerships and by expanding our product verticals by adding hundreds of thousands of items in the next few years, as well as through a pipeline of accretive M&A opportunities.
At the end: Which 3 tips would you give to future founders?
Find something you’re passionate about and want to make a difference. Strive to bring 100% commitment to the work that you do every day, while keeping a positive mindset and looking after your own health
Collaboration is the foundation of success, try to maintain the highest standards of collaboration and partnership building
Be patient with yourself and your business, and invest in quality as much as possible – Always trust your gut instincts and see it through
More information you will find here
Thank you Sean Dollinger for the Interview
Statements of the author and the interviewee do not necessarily represent the editors and the publisher opinion again.