Hatch Program 2022
31 Jan 2022
Miffy is a qualified horticulturist from Victoria and the current CEO at AusBerry Farmers.
Miffy has brought together a team of robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), technical support and three experienced strawberry growers to produce an app that will accurately forecast strawberry growing and be able to predict for growers the amount of saleable fruit and measure waste fruit.
Validating the idea
Miffy came into the Hatch Program to get knowledge and clarity on her app idea and continue to build her network.
The problem her idea was hoping to solve is: (1) predicting production peaks and troughs to improve pricing accuracy; (2) improve workforce planning in an era of reduced available labour.
Using the app to collect detailed data on fruit set and ripening timeframes and linking that to the prevailing weather conditions, with the help of AI the app will build knowledge on how the plant will behave according to the weather and soil temps. Once a farmer starts adding in the harvest data the app gets smarter. It will have the ability to “learn” more (via the algorithm) about the plant patterns on fruit set, ripening and impacts on saleable yields.
Miffy conducted 10 in depth customer interviews across two different custom segments - growers and retailers - with each interviewee rating volume forecasting as highly problematic and important to solve and would be willing to pay for a solution.
She was able to identify that the key benefits growers wanted from a solution was that it was easy to use and that it would either save them money or make them money.
Likewise, the key benefits the retailers wanted was a clearer visibility on volumes to inform supply and pricing, accuracy in supply and something that was easy to use.
Miffy solidified three key customer segments: (1) sales and marketing managers (growers) for accurate pricing; (2) workforce planners for production peaks and troughs; and (3) large volume produce buyers (Coles, Woolworths, Aldi etc).
Using the insights she gained through interviews and the use and application of the Lean Canvas, Miffy tested and refined her concept and found validation and confidence to more forward with developing an MVP.
The support of the Hatch Program gave me the confidence to move forward with my business concept. The rigour and discipline of the Program really helped me address some of the tough questions I had been trying to sidestep and the interaction with potential customers was so much more rewarding and motivating than I could have imagined. The Hatch Program pushed and prodded my business concept and I was so pleased to see it had grown and flourished as a result of the Program. Invigorated to get on with the next steps. Very grateful to have a been a participant in Hatch#2.
With the knowledge gained from the Hatch Program, Miffy’s next steps are to:
- Integrate produce buyers needs further into the app
- Re-visit interviewees and begin disclosing potential solution and get feedback
- Develop MVP app
- Commence commercial application trials with three growers (November 2022)
- Team development/consolidation
- Develop exit strategy