Alex Newell & Xav Phyland
Ideas Program 3
31 Aug 2020
Broadacre Farmers, Alex Newell (Sea Lake, Victoria) and Xav Phyland (Yerong Creek, NSW) came together to form a new business, ‘Broadacre Tech’.
They applied to the program with an idea to apply precision agricultural principles and IOT (internet of things) technology to the chemical preparation process required in broad acre farming as a means of delivering peak efficiency and ultimately returning greater profitability to farmers who operate in a lean margin context. We are working to create an ultra-fast, safe and highly precise remote-controlled chemical batching system with a fair price point.
The team joined the program for guidance, access to resources and networks to improve the quality of the project and its prospects for success. They identified an opportunity to explore precision fill systems that are remotely controlled by deploying technology readily available to improve on farm efficiencies whilst chemical spraying.
Through the program Alex and Xav undertook customer interviews with broadacre farmers they believed would benefit from the solution. This process allowed the team to really test their assumptions about how ‘painful’ this problem was for this customer segment and uncover new insights they had not expected. Similarly, it allowed the team to develop a much deeper understanding of the potential customer and how to communicate the value proposition effectively.
The market research and creating materials such as the website to cost-effectively test the idea. It also drove home the importance of actually speaking to individuals to find peripheral information you didn't realise you wanted/needed that provides great new insights, learnings and directions to take the project.
A positive outcome for Alex and Xav, was that they decided to not pursue this particular idea and have now pivoted to exploring a new concept. The process and tools delivered in the program allows teams to progress with ideas over and over again.
“If you've been thinking about an idea and don't know where to start, or what to do next, give it a go. The structure will help a lot.”
Alex and Xav remain engaged in the F2F methodologies and, given challenges with their first idea that they realized during customer discovery, have pivoted to a new idea: a spray weather forecasting mobile app called "Spraymate." They have developed a MVP as well as marketing collateral (brochure, website) that they can use to test the app with customers. They are currently finalising a feedback questionnaire which they will use to run small focus groups with potential users to solicit feedback on the MVP.