Arnaud Dugast, at the head of the Girondine company Covergarden, which has supplied large football stadiums and also sells to individuals, is investing despite the crisis. With the ambition to digitize the garden world
With Covergarden, Arnaud Dugast has made a name for himself in Europe for the quality of his rolled lawns, which grow in Gironde a few kilometers from his head office in Mios.
It has equipped the biggest football stadiums on the Old Continent and even won over the prestigious FC Barcelona.
Last year, he sold no less than 85 hectares of lawns to professionals and individuals with his 12 employees. Despite the crisis, it posted 5.4 million euros in turnover.
Why he’s investing so much in Garden Waze
Now, this trained agronomist has set himself a new challenge: inventing the “Waze” of the garden. For ecological reasons.
“The best way to prevent the appearance of diseases and to limit the use of treatments is to have a dedicated application, delivering advice and local information,” he explains.
In this sense, despite the crisis, he did not hesitate to create the Platform.Garden mission company.
To this end, it has hired 5 people since March 2020 and invested more than 700,000 euros in 18 months. Two or three additional recruitments are planned this year.
“Our green space sector is far behind compared to many other sectors. Even if the majority of professionals, suppliers and distributors feel that things must change and turn to digital in the years to come, few take the initiative to propose a new path “, regrets Arnaud Dugast.
What is it concretely?
Platform.Garden is a mobile application intended for industry professionals (landscapers, communities, sports grounds and golf courses) currently available on the Apple Store and Play Store, which aims to help them make the right choices at the right time.
“Our desire is to provide a tool that allows technicians to communicate health monitoring and vigilance for green spaces, to warn of the risks of diseases or pests. Via predictive models based on algorithms that define a risk for such or such disease depending on weather data, ”explains Arnaud Dugast.
For the application to be fully effective, each professional will be asked to declare a disease which will then be displayed on a map and therefore available to the entire community. In the same way as the famous application in the world of road safety.
“This does not exist anywhere in Europe,” he assures us.
A promising market
The prices will vary according to the size of the structure and the options: from 90 euros per year for a small landscaping company to 950 euros per year for the largest companies.
At the same time, product suppliers will have to pay between 1,500 and 3,000 euros per year to be listed in the digital catalog.
The context is promising. France and the European Union are committed to zero phyto, that is to say that no more chemical synthesis product will be authorized to treat a disease or a pest.
A transition, which will not be easy for golf courses in particular. This is why the association of greenkeepers of France (Agref) has chosen to participate in the platform.
Arnaud Dugast hopes to legally convince the professional federations linked to the garden. Convinced that the market is important, he plans to invest 1.5 million euros in three years in R&D.
Its ambition is to reach 4 to 5 million euros in turnover by 2023.
Soon an application dedicated to the individual market
In addition, at the end of March, he will offer a similar system on the home market with a connected probe specially designed for turf, connected to an application in which the amateur will eventually find all the advice to maintain his garden and water or put water. fertilizer at the right time and in the right place.
She already has her name: Myapp.garden.
One thing is certain, environmental constraints and global warming will bring about profound changes in the sector. And, in this matter, it is better to be one step ahead.