We AutoMicroFarmers have gone a month without any updates. However, we had a rather significant event occur that we could not talk about until now.
The fact is, we got invited to Y Combinator for an interview, and spent the two weeks leading up to the interview preparing as much as we could. (Special thanks to AnyVivo, ViaCycle, and Double Robotics for giving us advice when we cold-emailed them.) We thought the interview, which occurred on December 1st, went really well; we didn’t really have any questions catch us off-guard.
However, a few hours after the interview, we got the following email from a YC partner:
I’m sorry to say we decided not to fund you. We liked you guys and were impressed with your ambitious ideas for aquaponics. In the end, it was difficult for us to see how this product would generate the kind of growth startup investors are looking for. We would not want want to dissuade you from pursuing the idea however, and think something like this could be quite effective on a crowdfunding platform like Kickstarter.
We can see where YC is coming from. After all, there are currently several tens of thousands of aquapons in the US , and in the near future, we hope to be able to sell that number of AutoMicroFarm products annually. Thus, we hope to single-handedly, as it were, expand the aquaponics market by offering convenient, inexpensive, easy-to-use, and eventually automated aquaponics systems. Perhaps that’s a bit too naive and ambitious…
However, we genuinely believe that if we can accomplish our objectives and offer systems that are both high-quality and inexpensive, every kitchen would benefit from an AutoNanoFarm, and every back yard from an AutoMicroFarm. That’s what we want to see: an AutoNanoFarm in every kitchen, and an AutoMicroFarm in every back yard .
We definitely plan to run a kickstarter campaign in the near future. However, before that occurs, we would like to custom-build several (perhaps up to ten) AutoNanoFarms, and have interested customers in the Triangle, NC area buy them. To those customers, we offer free and unlimited support and troubleshooting, in exchange for extensive feedback about our product. The things we will learn from such an initial effort will help us achieve the high quality that we need.
Please let us know if you’re interested in being a trial user of the AutoNanoFarm, and you reside in the triangle. We would love to work with you!
1. This is our rough estimate based on several facts we were able to find online. If anyone has a more accurate or precise number, please let us know.
2. Or at least, in every third kitchen and back yard :).