Tampa native Garyn Angel has forged a reputation in the cannabis community with his product Magical Butter, an over-the-counter botanical extractor allowing people to make marijuana edibles at home, and now he is debuting his newest invention – a mobile grow house that manages a plant’s entire lifecycle.
Inside a distribution warehouse in Tampa that serves as Magical Butter’s HQ, several black fridge-sized boxes housing everything from jalapeño peppers to eggplants line the walls.
Unlike the typical mobile grow houses Angel describes as “cabinets with lights,” his 450 negative-pressure units feature hydroponics, controlled lights and a nutrient-dosing system powered by artificial intelligence.
“We solve hundreds of engineering problems to make this work. There’s never been a box this advanced or controlled for this environment,” Angel said. “This allows you to grow an entire garden – strawberries, lettuce, basil, tomatoes or cucumber all in the same box.”
The units can also grow marijuana and hemp. Marijuana cultivation remains illegal in Florida unless the grower has a state-issued license; however, some states have legalized the personal growing of marijuana.
Consumers, which would ideally be wellness enthusiasts and affluent families, would be able to select from a handful of programmed “recipes” of certain crops to grow in the essentially hands-free grow house unit.
The units collect 300,000 data points per day, measuring nutrient intakes and humidity. The data is stored on Amazon Web Services (AWS) and is analyzed. Through machine learning, the software can determine what a plant needs based on its consumption.
The only responsibilities that fall on a human user include changing the water once every one to two weeks, and replenishing the nutrient containers that Angel refers to as the “ink cartridges in a food printer.”
Angel has been simultaneously working on the design and implementation for seven years, as he was selling over 500,000 of his original Magical Butter machines. The grow house units were initially marketed as “Magical Bloom”; however, the units are undergoing a rebrand and will now be called “Magical Grow.”
“We are agnostic to what we grow. For us, growing high-value crops is what provides the greatest ROI [return on investment],” he said.
Marijuana is one of the focused specialties, as harvesting consistent strands of cannabis can be challenging.
“If you are a patient with PTSD [Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder] and you find that the Blue Dream strain works incredibly well for you, but the next time you go to buy it from a dispensary, odds are it’s going to be a completely different strain. It’s easy to grow strains on a lab scale, but the challenge is growing them on a larger scale,” Angel explained. “The units can actually meet certain biomarkers to avoid deviation of the strain, so you have the same plant every time.”
The units, which are manufactured in China, have a $3,500 sticker price.
After testing the product over the past two years with 150 beta users, Angel has officially started the soft launch of the Magical Grow units.
He said the product is currently being used to grow cannabis for veterans in Canada as the country offers an insurance reimbursement model.
He is in early discussions with homebuilders that are interested in featuring the units in newly built homes. Angel has also engaged with schools as they can incorporate the units into STEAM programming.
Magical Grow has operations in Washington, the UK, China, Australia and New Zealand.
Angel self-funded the company with $3 million and has received outside investments from family offices serving as the primary backers. Angel is currently raising an additional $3 million capital round. He secured a $1 million investment last week. He expects to close round in the next couple of weeks with funding from Tampa-based investors.
Angel plans to package the Magical Grow units with his oil-extracting and infuser products.
“My idea,” he said, “has always been to empower people to grow their own medical-grade cannabis, mushrooms and foods in their home.”