A Pivot by Any Other Name

Wow! A lot as happened in the last few weeks. After getting back from our Christmas holiday we have constructed a new greenhouse on a piece of land which we've recently leased in an area with hundreds of farmers. Most of them are members of the Palmhouse Dairy Ltd. who we have signed an MOU with in order to sell our products to their customers and gain access to their data in return for helping their farmers increase milk production.

Our swanky new greenhouse, though we are making a lot of modifications, this will work till we get up to scale. 

Our swanky new greenhouse, though we are making a lot of modifications, this will work till we get up to scale. 

But, above all that on Tuesday the 9th of February, we launched a new product on the market. Taking from a lot of learnings that we gathered from our previous customers over the last nine months of selling hydroponic barley fodder to smallholder dairy farmers, we have decided to formulate a complete feed solution and sell it on a subscription basis in order to help farmers overcome many of the challenges they are facing.

All the different pieces to the concentrates we add to the fodder for the complete solution. The bucket on the scale is 920g of mixture, enough for one cow for one day. The coke bottle has molasses, not coke in it. 

All the different pieces to the concentrates we add to the fodder for the complete solution. The bucket on the scale is 920g of mixture, enough for one cow for one day. The coke bottle has molasses, not coke in it. 

The challenges faced by smallholder dairy farmers today are oriented around education and understanding as well as access. By building a product that is a complete feed solution and selling it to the farmers in a controlled and measured way we are overcoming the challenges of understand what types of feeds to use for what type of cow and when or how. Let alone determining which brand to use or which types of feeds go best with what other feeds. It's enough to make one's head spin.

Charles, an enthusiastic farmer and friend, is helping me introduce the product to some of the other farmers. 

Charles, an enthusiastic farmer and friend, is helping me introduce the product to some of the other farmers. 

I spent five days walking around and introducing myself and our new products to customers around the Nyamuthanga area (Just north of Githunguri town). Of the 20+ customers that I visited, without ever having seen or used the product, five of them decided to put money on the table, and buy it. That number would be higher but five customers with 13 cows is the most we can currently feed with the capacity of our greenhouse. This represents almost 650 USD of revenue for the company or 70% of the revenue that we've generated during the previous nine months we sold our old product.

The company is growing in other new and exciting ways as well. We are hiring an accountant in order to tighten up our books and prepare for on-boarding investment. We are also hiring a sales manager in order to manage new and existing customers and to manage follow-up service. They will also be responsible for doing the marketing and educational components for our services.

While we are currently conducting our baseline survey, it was with one of the candidates for the sales and marketing manager that I spoke with our very first client Bebe ya (wife to) Francis, who has told us that her milk has been increasing since she started using our product on Tuesday the ninth, just 11 days ago. After a few leading questions she told us that her cow had been producing 6 L of milk prior to us feeding it and is now producing over 7 1/2 L of milk per day, almost a 25% increase. While this data is not substantiated, I do know that she is very very happy with the product and is excited to continue using it for a long time to come.

Graham, feeding some of the newly formulated complete solution to Bebe Ya Francis' cows

Graham, feeding some of the newly formulated complete solution to Bebe Ya Francis' cows

In other news we are coming closer and closer to closing around of investment in order to fund the company through mid 2017 and build out an additional 3 to 4 greenhouse systems. We hope to, by the end of March, have our first system fully operational generating between 3,000 and 4,000 USD each month.We intend to operate the system for an additional 1 to 2 months in order to appropriately assess the business case as well the impact that our systems are having prior to on boarding this funding.

Joris from HRSV measuring out 920 grams of mixture that we added to 6kg of fodder and then took down the road to feed to some hungry cows

Joris from HRSV measuring out 920 grams of mixture that we added to 6kg of fodder and then took down the road to feed to some hungry cows

Overall we feel that at this point in time with our new product on the market, our new hydroponic technology working very well, reaching yields appropriate to allow a business to take first steps toward scaling and providing us with ample revenue to meet the demands of our business, that LishaBora is at a pivotal moment in its young but aspiring life to launch from here to a much larger, more impactful and industry-disrupting business. We are excited that you are continuing to follow us and are happy to share this wonderful news with you. Thank you!