Hatch Program 2
31 Jan 2022
Vijeesh Sathyanesan, along with his co-founders Subeesh Sathyanesan and Jeni Mannanal, all hail from agricultural backgrounds and have built their computer science careers in IT system design and process optimisation. They believe strongly in empowering communities by building community collaboration tools and platforms.
Validating the idea
Vijeesh, Shabeesh and Jeni’s idea is a collaboration platform (PaaS - Platform as a Service) called ConnectOne Club, whose data-rich insights will help farmer groups yield better gate prices for produce, while reducing operational costs.
The ConnectOne platform helps farmer groups aggregate input services (fertiliser, pesticides, waste removal etc) enabling them to leverage better deals from wholesalers and save money on both administration and transportation costs.
The Digital Harvest Catalogue allows farmers to lodge their estimated harvest with location, grade, quantity, historical information and farmer details. This allows them to track the amount of produce available at a specific time and connected with other market insights, such as demand, global price and weather, provides a tool for growers to make informed decisions on their harvests.
Vijeesh and his team entered the Hatch program having already built and launched their MVP into Cardamom and Mango farmer groups. Their goals for the program included understanding the role of farmer groups in the supply chain ecosystem, validating their business idea and solution and identifying potential customers who would purchase their product.
During the Hatch program, Vijeesh undertook interviews with growers of grapes, mangos, apples, pears, fresh vegetables, honey, livestock, and grains. He identified that farmer groups found it difficult to aggregate their selling power and negotiate with buyers to secure competitive gate prices, helping to validate the market fit for the ConnectOne MVP.
The Hatch program was helpful in doing market research, especially formulating interview questions and which customer segments we should be targeting.
The Hatch program helped Vijeesh get a clearer idea of what sectors to focus on. His next steps include:
- Sharpening his sales pitch
- Deciding on the pricing model
- Organising meetings with key groups in the identified focus segments
- Getting his first paying customer