Report: Dallas-Based Gardenuity Cultivates $5.5M Seed Round, Sets Sights on $19B Wellness Market

Gardenuity—a high-tech gardening platform with a wellness mission—has harvested new capital to fuel growth, according to an Axios report. And its visibility is blooming nationwide thanks to recent inclusion in major media gift guides.

Dallas-based Gardenuity has raised $5.5 million in new seed funding as it cultivates expansion plans, CEO Donna Letier exclusively told Axios this week. According to the report, the company has raised $7.5 million to date and is focused on the nearly $19 billion corporate wellness market, per 2021 estimates.

Last year, the North Texas Angel Network planted its first syndicated angel investment in Gardenuity in November. Six NTAN members joined the $50,000 seed round led by Anchor Capital and Retail Connection’s Alan Shor and Steve Lieberman.

Gardenuity, which creates bespoke container gardens and gardening experiences, recently gained increased visibility through new partnerships and recognitions. These build on the company’s mission of making gardening more accessible for wellness.

Donna Letier, Co-Founder and CEO of Gardenuity [Photo: Gardenuity]

Founded in 2017 by Donna Letier and Julie Eggers, Gardenuity brings tech-enabled gardening into the health category. The company delivers customized gardens and experiences to consumers and organizations nationwide through its e-commerce platform and B2B corporate partnerships.

Gardenuity is considered a leader in gardening for improving wellbeing, performance, mental health, and nutrition. Its patent-pending “matching” platform pairs customers with their ideal gardens based on climate, soil, weather, and preferences.

With over 3 million harvests and 3,000 events completed, Gardenuity has worked with 500-plus companies including major names like Amazon, Google, Deloitte, Salesforce, Walmart, and JPMorgan Chase to help employees and customers sow wellness through gardening.

Recent sprouts of visibility

This month, Gardenuity gardens blossomed on Real Simple’s ” 90 Very Best Gifts for Women in 2023” and Men’s Health magazine’s “55 Best Christmas Gifts for Her” list, which touted the company’s pizza garden kit. 

“We’re thrilled to be included,” Gardenuity posted on social media. “Our giftable gardens make gifting so easy.”

The company was also hailed in Trend Hunter’s Top 60 Trends for October. Gardenuity was recognized for its match technology, which customizes gardens based on personalized variables.

Expanding its wellness mission

Through tailored gardening kits, community experts, and initiatives tying gardening to mental health, Gardenuity aims to make the activity achievable and rewarding for all.

Gardenuity CEO Donna Spafford Letier recently led a gardening session on self-care with the Dallas Police Department Wellness Unit. The startup called it an honor and shared its perspective on “connecting the restorative powers of gardens to people coast to coast.”

In a social post, the CEO said, “it was an honor to talk about selfcare, well-being, why getting dirty is good … at Gardenuity, we say “it feels good to grow.”

Gardenuity’s customized pink gardening kits  [Photo: Gardenuity/Business Wire]

Earlier this year, Gardenuity announced a new partnership with Travel Nurse Across America, timed with National Nurses Week in May. The collaboration launched a year-round program providing customized pink gardening kits to TNAA’s traveling nurses and allied healthcare professionals.

Gardenuity said the initiative aims to let nurses reap the research-backed wellness benefits of gardening, helping nourish mental health. When assignments wrap up, nurses can pay it forward by gifting the transportable gardens to take root in new locations, according to a news release.

For each gardening kit, Gardenuity also donates a portion to the breast cancer charity Susan G. Komen.

“Getting dirty for good’

Gardenuity works with leaders nationwide to provide employees with gardening experiences, bringing the regenerative power of plants wherever teams are planted.

Letier said the TNAA program specifically “helps heal the body and calms the mind for the nurses on the front lines.”

Through tailored products, community support, and emphasizing gardening’s restorative impact, Gardenuity says it aims to demonstrate that gardening is about more than just harvesting plants. It’s about nourishing overall wellbeing.

CEO Letier points to neuroscience research showing the wellness benefits of gardening continue to grow. A 2023 study from the University of Colorado, funded by the American Cancer Society, found gardening helps decrease stress and anxiety. “No matter where you go, people say there’s just something about gardening that makes them feel better,” said researcher Jill Litt, adding that evidence shows community gardening could play an important role in preventing cancer, chronic diseases, and mental health disorders.

The study confirmed even “novice gardeners can reap measurable health benefits” in the first season of the pastime.

“It’s a great reminder about the restorative powers of nature,” Letier said in a post. “Going out to your patio garden or tending to your desktop garden, you recognize what nourishes us on every level — it’s an activity that nourishes the brain.”

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