E245 autonomow week4

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E245 autonomow week4

  1. Team Autonomow<br />Autonomous Agricultural Weeding<br />Presentation # 3<br />Customer Hypothesis Testing<br />Confidential<br />
  2. Weekly Update<br />Focus on weeding (drop the mowing)<br />Customer need is high, larger potential market, could make organic produce more affordable – can change the industry!<br />Farm Visits<br />Bolthouse Farms, Industrial Carrots, Salinas Valley <br />REFCO Farms, med-large grower, Salinas Valley<br />Interviews<br />Ag Services of Salinas, Fertilizer applicator<br />Heirloom Organics, small owner/operator, Santa Cruz Mts<br />Small Organic Corn/Soy grower in Nebraska<br />Maintenance Services for City of Los Altos<br />Colony Landscaping<br />Market Research <br />2008 Ag Census data<br />Initially targeting high-density crops (carrots, spring mix, etc)<br />Target market smaller than first estimated<br />Weeding solution not limited to organic crops – investigating applicability to conventional crops (20x acres)<br />“Spring mix – ya know, that crap you buy in the store that tastes like weeds” – Cliff, Farm Mgr<br />
  3. Autonomow has made a pivot …<br />Automatic Mowing<br />Mild customer interest – buyers are operators<br />Product replaces 1 or 2 workers<br />Entrenched existing players and distribution<br />Liability a big concern<br />“99% of engineering to solve 1% of the problem.”<br />Sven Strohband<br />Automatic Weeding<br />Hair-on-fire need from customers<br />Product replaces 10 to 150 workers<br />Relatively open distribution, no single tractor vendor<br />Autonomow is no mo’ … <br />
  4. Visit Highlights<br />Above: Organic Carrots, 7wks. <br />Top right: Conventional carrots<br />Bottom Right: Very weedy. Will require multiple passes of hand weeding<br />
  5. Visit Highlights<br />Carrot vs. Weeds<br />Due to small root systems, carrots have no chance against weeds <br />
  6. Visit Highlights<br />Organic Broccoli, closely cultivated. Weeds close to plants are hand-picked<br />
  7. Visit Highlights<br />State of the Art in Weeding Technology for Organic Crops<br />
  8. Customer Hypothesis<br />Pre-Test<br />Hypothesis Confirmed<br /><ul><li> Growers interested in own equipment
  9. Industrial (10,000s of acres)
  10. Large (1,000s of acres)
  11. Willing to pay $100k for one unit
  12. Smaller growers (100s of acres) usually subcontract the labor services or rent equipment
  13. All purchases through local dealers
  14. Customer service is essential</li></ul>Post-Test<br />
  15. Customer Map #1 – Industrial Growers<br />Example: Bolthouse Farms – Large Industrial Carrot Producer – 8K acres/yr<br /><ul><li> Equipment Operator
  16. Local Farm Mgr
  17. Cliff Kirkpatrick, visited
  18. Director, Ag Technology
  19. Justin Grove, interviewed</li></ul>Equipment Operator<br /><ul><li> VP, Growing Operations
  20. CFO, CEO (Jeff Dunn)</li></ul>Cliff, Farm Mgr<br />
  21. Customer Map #2 – Service Providers<br />Example: Ag Services – Service Provider, Salinas Valley<br /><ul><li> Equipment Operator
  22. Grower
  23. Service Mgr</li></ul>Me (left), Marty (middle, Service Mgr), Doug (right, Grower)<br /><ul><li> ?? (service mgr’s boss)</li></li></ul><li>What Resonates With Customers?<br />ROI<br />Trade-off between cost and effectiveness<br />Preferred time to recoup depends on the person<br />Customer Service<br />Must be local, attentive, and fast – solution within hours<br />Don’t like working directly with manufacturers<br />KISS!<br />Equipment must be very easy to setup and operate<br />Some operators have 6th grade education<br />
  24. Backup slides<br />
  25. Market Differentiation<br />Market Research (2008 Ag Census data)<br />Initially targeting high-density, organic crops<br />carrots, baby lettuce (spring mix), spinach<br />Not limited to organic crop – conventional crops do require manual weeding<br />Lower savings per acre (1/5-1/2) but many more acres (x20).<br />High-density crops are most difficult <br />Highest need<br />Successful technology can be expanded to mostly any other row crop<br />Researching use in grains – acres nearly double all other crops combined.<br />

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