The prospect of most of the planet being on lockdown within the next few months is a strong one. COVID-19 round two has arrived and if you’re still riding the morning train to get to your distant office and/or industrial destination then hopefully you’re bundled up right and keep clear of nasty germs, because the disease is back and if the numbers are any indication, it’s not taking prisoners this time.
But we’re better prepared. We’ve learned the lessons taught by the first few months of quarantine, and while there’s an entire segment of the population out there making new mistakes, culminating in new numbers, the majority of us are ready to get back to curve flattening. One of the key ways we’ve been doing that is taking stock of the apps, the opportunities and the companies doing deliveries and participating in e-commerce. Curbside pickup a must.
And there are a lot.
Let’s consider PlantX (VEGA.C) for a moment.
Studies in Japan have found a correlation between mental health improvements and plantlife in the office. Researchers told 63 participants who worked full time jobs to take a three minute break whenever they felt fatigue setting in to water and stare at a desk plant. The most popular plants chosen were Japanese kokedamas and succulents.
So if you’re working from home over COVID-19 like I am, then just stare at a cactus for a bit and you’ll feel better. We have some wilted lettuce growing on the balcony, but I got nothing from that so maybe it’s in the needles. I don’t know.
Regardless, the specifics on VEGA’s business is that they’re an e-commerce site that deals with plants. They’ve had their first acquisition in Bloombox Club UK, a UK based indoor plant and natural product shop and subscription company that uses plants to help folks with their health and well being. They find, curate, and deliver natural products to people in their homes. They’ve spread this out to include plenty of other plant based uses, like meal delivery as well.
Bloombox Club UK will continue on as a subsidiary with all of its management intact, but it’ll have access to the e-commerce and technical experience offered by PlantX in order to produce more conversions while they expand into Netherlands, Germany and the rest of Europe. Bloombox UK, in return, will give PlantX the benefit of its knowledge in the house plant vertical to enable the company the opportunity to grow in the North American market.
PlantX sources its plants from Geoponics, but also look to grow its own selection by tasking Bloombox find other sources for both availability and also for the e-commerce site.
If there’s one red flag it’s the founder and spokesperson for the company. He’s none other than Sean Dollinger, the former CEO of Namaste Technologies (N.V) who was ousted in 2019 for breaches of fiduciary duty and evidence of self-dealing regarding the sale and transactions from Namaste’s U.S. subsidiary Dollinger enterprises U.S. where Dollinger and Namaste’s head of marketing David Hughes had an interest.
We at equity guru spilled enough virtual ink in 2018 on Sean ‘Manbun’ Dollinger to make him something of a buzzword around the office.
If you’re not familiar with the saga—Dollinger took Namaste from a promising cannabis junior with a $1 billion market cap to a trainwreck that ruins major deals and ultimately ended out on his ass as the adults took over and are still trying to clean the mess leftover from Dollinger’s ridiculous excesses and fraud. They’re presently sitting at an $80 million market cap, if you’re wondering.
“It is quite exciting working with Bloombox Club UK who have created this amazing subscription service and platform for plants. If our brief time together is any indication, I know we will have a very bright future together,” said Julia Frank, PlantX CEO.
But maybe Dollinger’s learned his lesson. People get stupid when the markets are racing and they think they’re responsible. Also, he’s not sitting in the CEO’s chair this time around. Social media will be his litmus test.
He made something of an unsavoury reputation for himself through his social media offerings with Namaste, and seems to have gotten on the podcast bandwagon with PlantX. If you’re so inclined you can watch his latest company-based podcast below in which he details this merger. If you can get through more than five minutes, then I commend you on your stamina.
Now if you’ll excuse me that lettuce isn’t going to stare at itself.