Cultivating a Startup – From Seed to Harvest

by Taivara, Technology Innovation

Planting an Idea

A design student at The Ohio State Unversity planted an idea in her professor’s mind through her senior thesis project.

She wanted to design an app that would coach amateur gardeners through planning, planting, and harvesting.

She and her professor started sprouting ideas on the potential of the application and came to Taivara to see how we could help them launch.

Sprouting a Company

We worked with them to define a business case. This app would be more than just a fun tool for gardeners. We could use it as a platform to help promote lawn & garden care products from partner companies.

We coached them through validating the idea with potential partners. When partners were in place, we stood up a company and helped the startup raise venture capital.

We proved that the business could be profitable so we were ready to move onto the product build.

Pruning the Product

To start, we needed to trim the product down to its essential feature set for an MVP.

We whipped up a few product designs and user-tested them to determine which features were most important to consumers. We observed how users interacted with the designs. When we found the ideal feature set, we went on to build the MVP.

We were working with a startup budget, so we suggested starting the product as a web-app. Not only was it a smaller cost to launch but it allowed for quicker iteration, shortening the time it took for our MVP to lose the M.

Once we launched and the product started to bring in sufficient revenue, we moved the platform over to iOS.

Fertilizing our Features

To guide our product decisions, we built in heavy analytics tools to give us insight. We learned where our customers were dropping off, what areas of the app they had trouble with, and how they were navigating through the app overall. This insight allowed us to tweak and perfect our product.

A Whole Farm of Information

Gardening strategy isn’t the same from place to place, year to year. Things like geographic location, weather patterns, and types of plants all play into consideration on how and when you should plant and harvest your garden.

To provide proper advice, we needed an intelligent system.

We collected information from users’ devices, analyzed weather patterns, and ran it all against a vast database of documents and research articles from industry experts. As information changed, our system would learn and adjust to give the most accurate advice back to users.

Ready for Harvest

The startup grew for about 3 years before being acquired by a Fortune 1000 lawn-care company. The product still exists under a new brand.

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