Hone TEK Program 2
25 Sept 2023
Based in Melbourne, Victoria, KrishnaKumar (KK) Santhanam is founder of Farm
Automation and hails from a long lineage of dairy farmers. KK has more than twenty
years experience in digital marketing, social networking, and new media, and has
successfully established a tech based start-up, Robo Jedi. The team at Farm
Automation have a very strong tech capability with experience at global organisations
such as Microsoft, Yahoo and GoDaddy.
Farm Automation is an agronomy system powered by artificial intelligence which
improves dairy herd health and increases milk production. They do this by providing
advanced tools for dairy farmers to manage paddocks and herds more efficiently.
Utilising state-of-the-art technology like AI, drones and sensors, Farm Automation
provides detailed analytics for accurate feed management and herd health monitoring.
This approach minimises guesswork, ensuring optimal feed, healthier cows, and
consistent milk production. Additionally, their innovative, patented technology aids in
precise paddock measurement and grazing, efficient forage usage, and cost-effective
feed strategies through data driven decision making.
Over the course of the HoneTEK Program, KK was able to better understand his
customer’s pain points and drivers for decision making. He made numerous valuable
connections in the dairy space through both Dairy Australia, research organisations,
consultants and producers. KK used this validation to refine his value proposition
statement and was able to articulate it in a clear effective way.
KK’s pitch deck was quite lengthy and detailed when he came in, and like many agritech
founders, quite solution and tech driven. KK worked hard to understand the problem he
is solving for industry and find ways to quantify the impact of his solution for his
customers. A key challenge for KK is in generating revenue or runway to deploy MVP
into the market and he worked through several creative iterations of a revenue model to
land at a risk sharing model between early adopter producers and Farm Automation, in
the absence of alternative VC funding being realised as yet.
In the meantime, KK has done a good job of refining his investment pitch document and
pitch itself. During the course of the program and subsequently, KK has secured
numerous opportunities to pitch for investment, both VC and grant based and continues
to improve through every round. Farm Automation has developed a robust go to market
strategy with very clear, aspirational goals to be achieved. KK was a pleasure to work
with and is a very coachable founder.
The Hone program has given clarity on my business highlighting where I
was going right and wrong.
Farm Automation has very clear goals for the next twelve months or so; KK is seeking
$1M in investment and aims to onboard one hundred dairy producers in two key
Victorian production regions. This next twelve months is a critical period to getting the AI
component up to speed for Farm Automation’s solution in order to deliver tangible, clear
returns for producers. This will be an important piece to demonstrate value for
producers across their customer segments and in other regions and countries.