Cincinnati native, Nikki Ridenour, is no stranger to co-founding a startup. Before starting Plantalytics, Nikki’s career in UX design included being a founding member of a prominent startup here in #StartupCincy. Her journey with her first company began on the Startup Bus in 2012. She got on the bus with a bunch of strangers, built a startup over three days and nights while headed down to Austin, Texas for SXSW. They built the product, hustled it around SXSW, raised funding and were full-time on their new startup a month after coming back to Cincinnati. That company has gone on to raise over 14MM in funding.
Plantalytics was created from Nikki’s experience with her own farm. Nikki and her family live on 5 acres in Cincinnati and grow cut flowers for sale and vegetables for her family. She found she was spending a ton of time planning and maintaining records for her farm, so she tried to find something to help. When she couldn’t find anything much more than spreadsheets, she decided to create her own system and ran it off a server in her basement for a few seasons. After hearing other farmers running into the same problems, Nikki felt compelled to redesign the software as Plantalytics.
Plantalytics creates digital tools for small farmers that helps them manage tasks and recordkeeping and leverages their unique data to improve operations and customer relationships.
Starting a new startup from scratch is difficult, even for experienced founders. So what is Nikki looking forward to most about going through UpTech? Collaboration.
I’m most looking forward to collaborating with all the people involved in the program. It’s a smart group of people from all over the country with really interesting backgrounds and experiences.
While she’s not working on her farm or Platalytics, Nikki loves spending time making bread, spending time with her family, trying new beers/wines and keeping a bullet journal. Her farm, Pith & Petal, has been put on hold since she decided to go full time with Plantalytics, but she still grows for her family and works on some experimental projects. Currently, she is experimenting with native plant varieties for cut bouquets and dye resources as well as installing a native perennial agriculture area, restoring a woodland edge and converting lawn into meadow.
Nikki credits her husband Chris as her biggest motivator. Saying, ‘He’s incredibly supportive and brutally honest at the same time. Our personalities and opinions balance each other really well.’ Having a partner that understands what she is going through and can tell it like it is is instrumental in keeping her on the right track and motivated.
We always ask our startups, what, in their opinion, is the biggest myth about entrepreneurship. The responses are always different, but very helpful for individuals who are thinking of taking the leap. For Nikki, the biggest myth is that the idea is everything. An idea needs great execution and should be flexible enough to change and evolve.
‘One of my favorite things I’ve heard at UpTech so far is to get attached to your mission, not your idea. Because lots of ideas can fit your mission, but if you get attached to one idea, and it’s not what people want – then you miss out on your mission as well.’
Plantalytics main goal is to provide small farmers with useful tools to run their businesses. Small farmers and local farms keep us connected to our food and Nikki is deeply driven to see them succeed.