Concerns with Grobo


#1

Pricing concerns:

  • Constant changes in prices
    “When we opened our 1st round of orders, way back in August of 2016,
    you could purchase a Grobo for $899 for a short period, then $999.” No it’s $1699 U.S.D. Over $2200 CAD

  • Made in Canada, but charging in U.S.D

  • High Cost for a concept that hasn’t been proven by users

Evidence of product working:

  • Only “evidence” of it working is from the Grobo Team

  • Usually when companies introduce a new product, they are given to users to test out the product. Has the product been given to any growers? If so where can we find the documentation?

“Recipes”:

  • Multiple seedbanks offer the “same” strain, so “recipes” will be
    different. Any grower knows that there could be multiple phenotypes within the same strain and breeder pack. GroBo suggests that this is the reason for data logs so that they could dial in the recipes. It would be extremely difficult to dial in a recipe as there are too many variables. Could this be a marketing ploy?

Privacy:

  • What type of data is kept on GroBo Servers?

  • How long are these logs kept?

  • Can logs be traced back to growers? Are I.P addresses and or M.A.C addresses logged?

Contradictions:

  • You’re okay with purchasers picking up Grobo. But if
    there is an issue with it, you want them to ship it to you. “Please do not hand-deliver your product to the addresses provided, even if you are local. These locations are not set up to receive visitors.”

  • “Grobo One uses an organic growing medium made primarily of dry coconut husks”

  • The medium might be organic, but are the nutrients organic?

Technical concerns:

  • “Grobo is able to function for multiple days without a wifi connection”

  • If Grobo, is able to do this, why can’t a whole grow cycle take place without Wi-Fi connection?

  • What happens if the servers go down and Grobo is unable to get them back up in a timely manner?

A few other concerns:

  • How can Grobo justify the high cost without any hard evidence, other than the testing done by their own employees?

Breakdown

$1699 U.S.D. Over $2200 CAD
From seed: approx. 2oz in 4 months.
From cutting: approx. 2oz in 2 months
Auto flower seeds: approx. 1oz in 2 months

Best case
scenarios:

From seed: approx. 2oz in 4 months.

  • High grade cost of oz: $300 CAD x = $600 CAD for 2oz
  • 3 seed grows yearly. 6oz in one year = $1200 CAD
  • Almost over 2 years to break even
  • Does not include drying and curing time

From cutting: approx. 2oz in 2 months

  • 6 grows a year. 12oz a year = $3600 CAD
  • Most cuttings don’t save you 2 months. Unless you put them straight into flower.
  • 8 months to pay off
  • Does not include drying and curing time

Auto flower seeds: approx. 1oz in 2 months

  • 6 grow a year. 6oz a year = $2400 CAD

  • Most autos don’t finish within 60 days. Usually 70+ days

  • 1 year to pay off

  • Does not include drying or curing time

  • This does not take the cost of hydro, water (distilled), nutrients, seeds and other costs involved to run the system

Return policy concern:

  • Is there a return policy? If product does do what it states, are buyers able to get a refund? If not, does that mean Grobo doesn’t believe in their product?

There are several
more concerns. But with the ones listed above, how can GroBo justify the high cost without any growers actually testing out the product?

If the market for these types of products is a big market, there will be lots of competition, which will drive down the price. This also means, there will be many Do It Yourself documentation along with open source software. Being first doesn’t mean best in certain areas.

I want to believe in this product, but there are many concerns to justify the price.


#2

Hi Outdoorsman,

Thank you for the great questions!

Pricing Concerns:

  • You are correct that our pricing has changed as follows:
    $899 USD - This was an initial launch price which was heavily discounted as a “thank you” to customers for believing in us early on. After a few weeks, the price increased to $999 for those who supported us later on. Both of these prices were discounts from our estimated MSRP of $1,299 and that was listed on our site throughout the reservation campaign.

1,699 USD - This is our current price. Over the past months we have made numerous changes to make Grobo function better and it now costs us significantly more to produce than we initially expected. Although we will honour our initial selling price, we had no choice but to increase our price to ensure that we remain a sustainable company.

USD vs. CAD - Although we are a Canadian company, and many of our parts are made here, 90% of our customers are from the US and around the world so we have elected to use USD which is a global standard.

High cost - We understand this concern but there is a massive amount of technology and development that goes into Grobo One. Competitive products are currently ~$2,500-$3,000 and we will be the first to ship.

Evidence of a product working:
You are correct that we have not yet shown external grow results. We do have Grobo Ones in customers’ homes right now and over the next few months we will begin to release more data from those trials. These users have shared invaluable feedback with us regarding how to install, use, and maintain a Grobo One and we will slowly begin to share their grow results and testimonials.

Recipes:
These recipes are core to what we do and certainly not a marketing play. A significant portion of our team are software developers with a variety of backgrounds including degrees in Economics and Machine Learning. With the Grobo One, the main variable is the seed itself and we are actively working to develop responsive recipes which change throughout the plant growth cycle based on how it’s growing.

Privacy:
This is something we take incredibly seriously. At the moment, anonymized grow data is kept indefinitely on our servers but is not linked to a system, IP address or user. Although this ensures complete privacy, it makes support difficult since we cannot easily connect a user and their Grobo. We are currently investigating multiple solutions where users could grant our support team temporary access to view their grow data while helping to solve any potential issues.

Contradictions:
Returns - Thank you for bringing this to our attention! Originally we were not planning on having any pick-ups since our manufacturing and testing facility is quite tight. We are now looking into larger production facilities which will now have space for units to be set aside for pick-up. We will remove the text you quoted shortly to reflect this change.

Nutrients - Although we have spent months working with nutrient companies to develop a clean organic nutrient, we do not yet have a stable, approved product. As a result, our nutrients are not currently organic. In short, organic nutrients contain decomposing organic material which has a rotting smell, they are prone to separating, and they can be quite thick which cause problems for our pumps.

Technical Concerns:
To keep costs down and avoid building a full computer into Grobo, all computations are completed on our servers and the updated grow recipe is then sent back to the system. If your internet connection or our servers go down, the unit can store multiple days worth of data and will repeat the current growing recipe for multiple days. Although it might not be perfectly optimized, your plants will continue to grow and be healthy.

Other concerns:
Cost - Like any company, our selling price is based on the development, manufacturing and material costs. For our customers, Grobo One is a premium product which can:

  • Allow new growers to start growing
  • Be a talking piece in a home
  • Produce a special strain that a medicinal cannabis patient can’t buy elsewhere
  • Give people piece of mind by knowing how their cannabis was grown

In terms of the economics, we have been consistently pulling out 2oz+ from seed in 3 months > $2,400 CAD. Your other calculations all show that Grobo One can pay for itself in less than one year which is a fantastic ROI.

Return policy:
We strongly believe in our product but there is currently no return policy. Due to the size and nature of Grobo One (it takes many months to grow), a return policy is not simple to develop.

Similarly to Tesla and Apple, our focus is on building the best possible product and not simply selling the cheapest system. I understand your concerns about wanting to see more grow results and I truly believe you will be impressed by the results we begin sharing over the next few months.

Please let us know if you have any other questions or concerns and get ready for an exciting few months ahead with great updates as we begin shipping!


#3

Thank you bjorn. I appreciate the quick and professional response. But I still have a few concerns as I’m sure others do as well.

Is there documentation that states the numerous changes made to allow the Grobo to function better?

Evidence of Grobo working

  • Is there a reason why external grow results haven’t been posted so far? Not that I’m doubting you or the company, but why the wait? Wouldn’t these results and or feedback help promotion?
  • How were these external users selected? Are any of them completely new to growing? Do you have a number of new growers and veteran growers who have feedback of the product?

Recipes: Is there a reason why prices of recipes hasn’t been posted?

Privacy: " it makes support difficult since we cannot easily connect a user and their Grobo"

  • Is it possible to place a “chip” with unique number which is not associated (linked) to a user and connect to that unique number through the back end?

Technical Concerns:
"all computations are completed on our servers and the updated grow recipe is then sent back to the system"

  • I understand that there isn’t a “full computer” that comes with the Grobo, but isn’t it possible to release updates on the Grobo site, which users can install onto their Grobo? Instead of being connected constantly connected to Wi-Fi? With the amount of Malware out there, intrusions can happen at any time.

Break even point
Regarding break even point, those are based on best case scenarios. A lot of strains take more than 60 days to flower. Growing cuts in some cases would be hard to obtain specially in non-legal areas. Cut’s also require space. If a user would want to grow from a cut it would have to be at a certain height/age to obtain 2oz+

Returns: I understand the cost of shipping is not cheap for such a big item, specially with Canada post. But $2300 CAD is a lot of money for a product that hasn’t proven itself in the market, other than the initial testing phase. If the product doesn’t perform as the company stated, are the customers left in the dark? To avoid customers who would take advantage of a possible return policy, you could always have a “restocking fee”, which states they can use it for a set amount of time and return the product if it doesn’t do what it promised it would, but a restocking fee will be charged.


#4

Hi Outdoorsman,

Change Documentation:

  • We continue to update our customers on these changes through our newsletter. If you have not signed up yet you can do it on our website and you will be kept up to date!

Evidence of Grobo working:

  • Please bear with us on this one. Unlike most tech products, completing a grow takes months and we continue to refine our hardware and software throughout that time to improve on each grow. Clear results will be shared prior to shipping this fall and every customer has the ability to request a refund prior to their Grobo One shipping if they are not happy with the results. By the time orders open again for Grobo One you will have significantly more information on the product.

Recipes:

  • Our recipes are not public because they relate directly to the Grobo One and are not useful elsewhere. For example, our LEDs use 8 unique wavelengths so sharing our exact mix is both proprietary and not useful since no other LEDs have these capabilities.

Privacy:

  • Absolutely, this is one of the options we are currently investigating!

Technical Concerns:

  • Grobo One is actually more secure right now because there is no operating system which can download any malware. We have the ability to push updates to each Grobo and they only can only receive very specific data and are not able to download anything.

Break even point:

  • In our Terms of Service we require that all users follow their local laws so our customers should not have trouble finding cuttings. We have seen an increase in growing speed and you will see those results later this year.

Returns:

  • Our customers are able to request a refund for their deposit anytime before we ship. As I mentioned, we will ensure that additional information on grows is available prior to purchasing. At the moment, if customers are concerned about how the product will function they can certainly wait to see more grows and success stories shared from our early adopters!

  • Bjorn


#5

Thanks Bjorn.
Great information. Looking forward to growing.:+1:
Bob👴🏼


#6

Hi Bjorn,
Once again thank you for the quick prompt response. I think I might not be making my points clear.

Evidence of Grobo working and return policy:

  • What I’m getting at is, the feedback and testing that’s been done so far is essentially behind closed doors until later this year. I understand that customers have the option to cancel their order before it’s been shipped out. They also have the opportunity to view feedback/reviews and the system being used by growers.

But that doesn’t sound comforting to buyers, as they still don’t know if the product works as stated until they use it. There are many products out there with great feedback, but users don’t know where the feedback is really coming from and if the feedback is “legit”

Grobo is a new product, that hasn’t built trust within the market. Having a no return policy on a $2400 will not help. As buyers can be left in the hole for $2400

Technical concerns:
Since Grobo works through Wi-Fi, intrusions can occur wirelessy. Malware can be well hidden in phones and computers, information coming through the Wi-Fi can be intercepted.

As I mentioned before. I really hope Grobo does what it claims. But there are claims being made and the evidence of it working hasn’t been put out yet. With the first batch ready to be shipped soon, this is very concerning.

A lot of companies in the cannabis industry are in it for the quick buck, making claims but never follow through on these claims.


#7

Hi Outdoorsman,

Thanks, I totally get what you’re saying! We certainly understand there is risk in purchasing Grobo and that risk exists when purchasing any new product.

We never want anyone to purchase a Grobo if they feel uncomfortable and we would advise that prospective customers wait to make sure they have enough data and validation before buying the product. Not everyone is comfortable being an early adopter which is perfectly okay!

For our early adopters and for all customers what I can say is that we’re not in it for the quick buck, we are really working to build a sustainable company for the long haul. We have some incredible investors and every day I’m lucky to work with a brilliant team that is turning my dream into a reality.

Please bear with us and I think you will have a lot more clarity and confidence over the next few months!


#8

Thanks Bjorn. This made me feel even more comfortable with my purchase. @Outdoorsman I appreciate you asking such well thought out questions.

Can’t wait to get my unit!!


#9

I personally feel that the GroBo and all the other “automated grow systems” are not worth it. Companies such as GroBo rely on people’s lack of knowledge

If you break if you down, you could build one of yourself for less than 1/5 of the cost. You don’t need software or “recipes”. Only thing really proprietary is the software anyway. If you do research there are other companies with pretty much the same product and almost a exact description.

  • We have created a “light” specifically for growing. It’s just be honest it’s low wattage made in China L.E.D lights
  • You don’t have an automatic pH adjuster. Instead you either use Advanced Nutrients pH perfect nutrients or similar nutrients that allows the roots to uptake the nutrients in different pH levels

For those of you those of you who are thinking of purchasing this. Think again!

  • You can build a box (or pay someone who built one for you) with the same specs
  • Purchase an L.E.D light from a hydro shop or purchase from sites such as AliExpress
  • Purchase a nutrient system such as Advanced Nutrients which allows the plant to uptake nutrients in different spectrum of pH
  • Purchase a carbon filter
  • Water + air stones + airpump and you have a GroBo for a lot cheaper

Recipes will not work, as all plants are different, unless it’s a clone and that exact pheno/strain is in their “database”

  • There isn’t any evidence of this working. So far only promises. The smart thing would have been to give out testers to actual growers.
  • Prices haven’t been set for nutrients. carbon filter etc.
  • No return policy. If a company believed in their product they would have some sort of return policy

Looks like they attempted to build hype but failed.

Guys please think twice


#10

thanks for the “warning”. Now when you perfect and produce your own brand of grow unit, give me a shout out and I will be your first customer. If you are looking to troll the Grobo company, its probably time to go and get working on that ultimate growing system you described in your most recent rant. hurry time is wasting


#11

Hi Outdoorsman,

As always, we appreciate your concerns and we certainly understand that Grobo is not a fit for everyone. If you have the time to invest in designing, building, and maintaining a growing system on a daily basis then absolutely you can save some money. Many people simply do not have this time which is why Grobo exists.

To address some of your more specific concerns:

  1. LED Lighting - My co-founder Chris designed our lighting system from the ground up based on an extraordinary amount of research. We have summarised our knowledge into a blog post which is viewed hundreds of times per week. With off the shelf LEDs you simply don’t have the control required to create all of the colours we showcased in one of our latest Facebook posts which means that you can have a very limited effect on plant growth.

  2. pH - Grobo does contain a pH sensor and we actively measure and adjust the pH based on a deep understanding of how it affects the plants. You can learn more in our blog post here.

  3. Recipes - Our grow recipes will take time to perfect but they currently work quite well for the beta customers using Grobo. As an example, the basil shown here was grown in my Grobo from seed. Within 6 weeks I had massive basil leaves and all I had to do was add 1L of water after 5 weeks.

Happy growing,
Bjorn


#12

Thanks Captain I appreciate sarcasm. I can tell right of the bat, there is no point of debating with you. As you have your mind set and you are the perfect person for such products.

If you have read my earlier post you would see where I am coming from. I broke down the concerns, you on the other hand have not even attempted a rebuttal, just a simple “go away troll” response from you. :slight_smile: If you had also read the link I posted, you would also know where others are coming from. I’m assuming it was probably you who posted that thread. Must of hit a nerve.

I am not aiming at Grobo. These concerns are for all products similar to Grobo. Business is business, so far there hasn’t been any evidence from outside sources.

@bjorn, I appreciate the prompt response.

  1. How many iterations were made before the final design of the LED light? I’m asking because research and development is not cheap!

  2. pH: But why does the Grobo team suggest R.O or distilled water with the system, but others will “work”

  3. I understand these recipes may work for some veggies/fruits. But I am addressing cannabis. Even if you were get the same seeds from the seem breeder not all of them would be uniform. Some might require more or less nutrients. That’s where the human interaction is important as they can tell what is required.

I haven’t seen any journals of the Grobo from start to finish with a cannabis plant. It’s concerning that these will be shipped out and with no return policy makes it difficult to believe that this will work. Even if it does work, it’s very overpriced. I understand there is overhead and employees. But you and I both know, if products like this become big in the market, they will be “cloned” in no time for less than half the cost.


#13

I am very serious when I say if you build a better mouse trap, I will be your first customer. now as for your ability to judge me and my motives. you have failed miserably. You are the one attempting to find something that isn’t there (or is it?). I have asked questions and have gotten satisfactory answers. I didn’t feel the need to ask the same questions over and over and then after I didn’t like the answer go about trashing the product (that was you… look at your rants, I don’t have the desire to quote all of them).

So it comes down to this… you are satisfied enough to purchase… or not, but doing the repetitive passive aggressive Q & A is way past tiresome.


#14

I also asked questions, but didn’t feel the answers wasn’t satisfactory. Think what you like. It is not a rant these are concerns.

The concerns are valid. I’m not trashing the product. I ask you to read first post again and tell me why the concerns aren’t valid.

If it works for you, great. These concerns are for people who are on the fence about it. It’s a new company claiming all the things the device can do, without any outside evidence.

No one asked you to come to this thread and respond. Questions are “repetitive” because answers are not satisfactory.

How can you debate for a product that you haven’t received?

Good luck to you.

P.S the questions aren’t meant for you, they’re meant for the Grobo team.

So unless you have something valuable to add, I would appreciate it if you didn’t.


#15

Since you put it so politely…

adios and enjoy your conflicted life


#16

Hi Outdoorsman:

  1. How many iterations were made before the final design of the LED light?
    R&D is definitely not cheap but it’s possible because we are backed by some of the top investors and entrepreneurs in the world. We are now on our 9th complete iteration of the product.

  2. pH - Why does Grobo suggest R.O. or distilled water?
    This is the best horticulture practice since tap water varies greatly around the world. Unusually high levels of anything will require filtration. Hard water, for example, has high calcium and magnesium which can damage the plants, inhibit healthy growth and prevent absorption of some materials. Starting with distilled or RO water allows Grobo to add the right amounts of the right nutrients to ensure healthy growth.

  3. How do recipes vary across plants?
    You are entirely correct that every strain and even seeds from the same strain are different. The way our recipes work is that they create a “buffet” tailed towards each plant. The plant is then able to drink and eat exactly what it wants at all times.

Again, we understand that you are concerned about a return policy and in that case I would highly recommend waiting for more reviews on the product before you decide to purchase. In terms of price, Grobo is a premium, high quality product. We are laser focused on making sure it’s easy to use and consistently produces above average yields for our customers.