CIT GAP Funds Invests in BloomCatch to Advance the Next Generation of Horticultural Expertise

Startup connects plant parents with plant experts and local retailers to keep their plants alive and happy

Richmond, VA, Aug. 25, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) today announced that CIT GAP Funds, the direct investment program of the Virginia Innovation Partnership Authority (VIPA) Investment Division, has invested in Centreville, Va.-based BloomCatch. BloomCatch is a versatile mobile plant identification app that combines cutting edge machine learning with live human experiences to connect plant parents to plant experts and local retailers. BloomCatch will use this funding to expand marketing efforts to increase awareness and gain traction, with initial efforts focused in Virginia.

Today’s apps for horticultural expertise are limited in terms of their capabilities. Many of these apps only offer image recognition coupled with machine learning or crowdsourced identification, which is good for basic plant identification, but has the potential for high errors. BloomCatch goes above and beyond by leveraging plant recognition technology in a user-friendly package to connect plant parents with plant experts and local retailers creating a unique shopping experience for each user. Plants are essential in many ways, providing nourishment, medicine, and even fuel which is why BloomCatch’s goal is to help its users gain the confidence needed to take care of their plant babies and support local plant shops.

“A few years ago, I was walking through the marsh with my kids and was curious about what plants we were looking at. I downloaded several apps to try and help, but none of them really worked well. As a result, I decided to build my own app,” said Ray Magee, President and CEO of BloomCatch. “BloomCatch was born out of a desire to deliver accurate, horticultural expertise to plant lovers looking to grow healthy plants and find the best local deals around for them. Whether you’re an avid plant grower or on a walk with curious kids, BloomCatch is here to help. We are excited to have the support of CIT GAP Funds and look forward to our next phase of growth.”

BloomCatch combines cutting edge machine learning with live human expertise. For one low monthly subscription fee, users get access to BloomCatch’s extensive database and unlimited questions from the startup’s plant experts. Users take a photo of the desired plant and in seconds the app can tell them what the plant is and where to find it at local retailers. Additionally, by signing up, users join a community of local garden retailers, plant lovers, plant conscious clubs, and other environmental groups that share the same passion for plants. The startup is also dedicated to supporting organizations that make conservation, environmental education, and sustainability a priority. Ten percent of every user subscription that BloomCatch earns goes to a local charity of choice that aligns with this philosophy.

“The BloomCatch team has recognized that plant lovers desire a more intuitive and interactive app for identifying their favorite plants, and even where to find them for purchase, in order to build more unique and sustainable gardens. Ray’s unique background in computer science and business administration, as well as his previous experience at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, makes him a well-rounded founder who is primed to lead BloomCatch,” said Tom Weithman, Managing Director of CIT GAP Funds. “Not only is this company helping plant lovers learn more about their favorite plants, but we are pleased to have CIT GAP Funds portfolio companies dedicated to supporting organizations that prioritize conservation, environmental education, and sustainability. CIT is happy to be a part of their journey and look forward to following them as they continue to grow and make a positive impact on the industry.”

About BloomCatch
BloomCatch is an app that allows users to easily connect home gardeners to plant experts and local plant retailers, to achieve vibrant and healthy gardens. Combining cutting edge machine learning with real human interaction, in just three simple steps you are able to learn more about plant life, and become an expert in nature. For more information, please visit:

About CIT GAP Funds | Investment Division | Virginia Innovation Partnership Authority (VIPA)
CIT GAP Funds makes seed-stage equity investments in Virginia-based technology, clean energy, and life science companies with a high potential for achieving rapid growth and generating a significant economic return for entrepreneurs, co-investors, and the Commonwealth of Virginia. Since its inception in 2005, CIT GAP Funds has deployed $32.4 million in capital across more than 240 portfolio companies, including 17 companies in designated Opportunity Zones. CIT GAP Funds' investment decisions are guided by the CIT GAP Funds Investment Advisory Board (IAB). This independent, third-party panel has drawn from the expertise of leading regional entrepreneurs, angel, and strategic investors, and venture capital firms such as New Enterprise Associates, Grotech Ventures, Harbert Venture Partners HIG Ventures, Edison Ventures, In-Q-Tel, Intersouth Partners, SJF Ventures, Carilion Health Systems, Johnson & Johnson, General Electric, and Alpha Natural Resources. For more information, please visit

About ​the Virginia Innovation Partnership Authority (VIPA)
​The Virginia Innovation Partnership Authority (VIPA) was established in 2020 to support the life cycle of innovation, from translational research; to entrepreneurship; to pre-seed and seed-stage funding, as well as acceleration, growth, and commercialization, resulting in the creation of new jobs and company formation. The Authority provides a collaborative, consistent, and consolidated approach that will assist the Commonwealth in identifying its entrepreneurial strengths, including the identification of talents and resources that make the Commonwealth a unique place to grow and attract technology-based businesses. The VIPA, with CIT as its operating arm, brings together components of existing and new program activities in an approach through which the whole is greater than the sum of the individual programs. VIPA's design includes governance and management capabilities to ensure that programs generate transformative and measurable results. For more information, please visit

About the Center for Innovative Technology (CIT)
Investing in Virginia's Growth | CIT, the not-for-profit operations arm of VIPA, accelerates next-generation technologies and technology companies through commercialization, capital formation, and market development initiatives. Programs include | CIT GAP Funds | Commonwealth Research Commercialization Fund (CRCF) | Commonwealth Commercialization Fund (CCF) | Virginia Founders Fund | Smart Communities | Cybersecurity | Unmanned Systems | SBIR/STTR Support (Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) & Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs) | Virginia Research Investment Fund (VRIF) | University Partnerships | Startup Company Mentoring & Engagement. For more information, please visit You can also follow CIT on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.


BloomCatch | What started as a search to distinguish local foliage on a family hike is now BloomCatch, a versatile mobile plant identification app and our team of tech and plant enthusiasts. Every one of us is devoted to providing reliable, useful, and thought-provoking information about plants along with an exceptional customer experience.

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