TNQ Hone 2023
8 May 2023
Custom Enzymes founder, Steve Booton, is an experienced transformational and driven leader with more than 30 years’ experience in technology, distribution, manufacturing, and e-commerce sectors. He has led high-performance teams whilst creating a reputation for delivering and exceeding revenue and profitability in highly competitive markets.
Custom Enzymes are a manufacturer of high grade biologicals, with a key focus on providing growers with the knowledge, and practical solutions to develop soil performance and transition away from conventional methods for a cleaner, healthier soil system. Their key solution focus for this program is their Agri PGP biostimulant product, which is a blend of macro and micro nutrients that provide the necessary balance required to stimulate a crop’s absorption, growth whilst increasing the amount of stored water. This delivered producers with increased organic matter which more effectively holds water, nutrients and biology.
Through the further work done in Hone, Steve has been able to more clearly articulate the value proposition for Custom Enzymes: “Organic matter in soils has declined to unacceptable levels. Land benefitting from active soil biology, with our plant growth promoter, is the key to unlocking vital soil activity, health and drought resilience.”
Furthermore, the challenge of a very broad industry focus continued. Steve worked hard in the TNQ Bootcamp to narrow his focus down and distil action plans into a realistic and do-able go to market strategy. Steve plans to continue to focus his efforts in the viticultural space, mainly in South Australia at this early stage, working with customers he has already identified. He is focussing on further refining his customer discovery process, validating assumptions and developing his Value Proposition Canvas to ensure product + market fit. Concurrently he is focussing on field trials to provide the evidence required to gain traction in this market. He had a bit of tidying up to do with some of his corporate governance, IP and brand identify and has a well defined plan to progress these actions.
The biologicals market was valued at more than $11B in 2022 and forecast to be on par with the chemical inputs market at a whopping $29B per annum by 2029 (source: Upstream Insights).
Steve’s key learnings from the program were the ability to redefine Custom Enzymes goals, value proposition and key metrics for scale and growth.
Key achievements for Steve and Custom Enzymes were a greater understanding of the customer journey, refining the questions in the primary research process in order the garner key insights into problems faced, at a much deeper level.
Over the course of the Hone Program, I have gained valuable insights on bringing our product to market and provided me with an opportunity to learn from valuable people within the industry and collaborative opportunities with the program cohorts.
Custom Enzymes have developed a go to market strategy and roadmap to scale their business. They are currently focussing on field trials to garner data to support case studies and data relating to quantifying ROI. Steve plans to incorporate the field trial data into his sales and marketing strategy, over a staged growth plan. Steve is collaborating on the trials with Shalabh Gupta, a fellow Hone participant and founder of Scorekeeper, a unified platform to manage on-farm testing, trials and field staff; collating and analysing the data.
Steve is keen to secure a place in a future program, such as Harvest to further support the scale up of Custom Enzymes in Australia.