#IMakeApps: A French farmer helps kids develop healthy digital habits
Editor’s note: To celebrate the hard work, creativity and entrepreneurial spirit of app makers around the world, over the coming months we’ll celebrate our Android community by featuring founders, product managers, designers and developers from around the world. We’ll showcase their passions and also hear about what they do when they step away from their computers. Meet our next app maker—Gregory Veret, a French organic farmer, co-founder and CEO of Xooloo—and check out more #IMakeApps stories on g.co/play/imakeapps.
When he was 29—while leading his tech startup Xooloo—Gregory went back to school to learn agriculture and bought a 65-acre island to start a farm. His passion for helping children grow is consistent throughout his life—both through his app that helps kids become good digital citizens, and his farm that provides food to Paris schools and daycares.
We caught up with Gregory at his farm outside of Paris.
When and why did you get involved with technology?
I got into technology when I was 19. I thought new technologies will dramatically change the way children grow, learn and interact with each other. I created Xooloo to give super powers to children through technology. I chose to be an entrepreneur because I want to make a difference and I genuinely enjoy working with other like-minded people that carry the same sentiment.
How did you get into farming?
I worry about the world that we’ll leave behind for children, and as an extension of what we do at Xooloo to help kids with their digital lives, I also wanted to do something that would have a positive effect on their physical lives. While leading Xooloo, and without telling anyone, I went back to school to study agriculture and bought a farm. In the beginning, I had no clue what I was doing; now every year I grow 100 tons of organic vegetables, mainly potatoes, that feed children in more than 500 schools and daycares in Paris. Xooloo and the farm have both the ambition to bring something positive and different to children, by allowing them to grow, both in their physical and digital lives.
Why did you create the Xooloo apps?
At Xooloo, we believe technology is an opportunity for kids and not a threat. That’s why we've made it our mission to create digital services to help them transform the world. Parents are scared and sometimes clueless when it comes to enabling their kids access to the digital world. Our apps empower children to guide parents in their kids’ digital life, to access new technology freely, and remove their parents’ fears.
What has been your experience with Android and Google Play?
Android’s openness provides great opportunities for our service. We get access to APIs that work across many device models from many OEMs, which enables us to reach many potential customers. On Google Play we can also use whichever business model we like, which is particularly important when working with partners, like mobile operators.
How has your app business grown since you started?
At first it was just my sister and I. Now we’re 13 people and have signed a distribution agreement with Orange, the largest mobile operator in France. We’ve also won several awards, including the “CES Best of Innovation Award” in Las Vegas, which brought a lot of traction for the app; for example, we were invited by the French President Emmanuel Macron to accompany him in his first foreign state visit to show how we’re using technology for good. We’re looking forward to continuing to enable a better future for children.