ABOUT FARM DOG
Farm Dog has developed a comprehensive, standardized system for pest and disease management that includes an in-field workflow tool and web dashboard supported by data analytics. Farm Dog’s app enables users to track pests, diseases, weeds, trap counts, and other findings. It provides geo-reference and photograph findings; keeps track of field visits and sets reminders for special checkups; reminds farmers to return to past hotspots and visit neglected areas; and sends external reports from the field.
Michael Hermon is the co-founder and Chief of Product at Farm Dog. After serving in the satellite technology unit of the Israeli Intelligence, Michael studied mathematics, philosophy and economics at Tel Aviv University. Since his graduation, he has started four companies as well as held a product manager role at Wix.
CAMELTARY (Camel Commentary)
Don’t Pity the Pivot.
There is no greater example of pivots and change than what can be witnessed in the startup world. Michael Hermon, Co-founder and Chief of Product at Farmdog, is the perfect example of embracing the journey of entrepreneurship and expanding goals outside of a single idea. The first episode of Startup Camel’s new season also welcomes a pivot, as new host Adir Freilich sits down to discuss the company.
Today, Farm Dog is a platform that helps farmers track pests and diseases in their crops. Currently, it maps them and is heading towards building algorithms on how to predict future infestations. According to Hermon, 30% of crops get contaminated, which results in a 30% loss in revenue.
Did Hermon always view himself as the savior for farmers across the US? Not quite. “Originally, we built a network that told farmers what parts needed water and how to manage irrigation. This idea came about after purchasing a drone, a cool toy he used to view all the beautiful scenery of the US.
Noticing that the agriculture industry could use an additional tool outside of pitchforks and spades, he appealed not to the farmers themselves, but their wives.
“Farmers don’t see Facebook ads, but their wives do. We spent under $100 on adverts that appeals to local communities with a localised message.” It resonated, and they reached 13k people who saw the benefit in the service.
Indeed, entrepreneurs are early adopters to new tools and gadgets – but how would the farmers react? “They are way more competent than the average person with the app – they work with tools and are looking for more ways to use them.” Another pivot, another revolution. Today, Farm Dog operates largely in Florida and is planning an expansion into California before reaching its goal to becoming the known pest and disease app in the US.
Season two of Startup Camel starts with a pivot in host who talks to a co-founder who pivoted in business. Don’t follow one initial idea: listen to the people, read the data, and learn how to give customers what they want. “Forget about ‘an idea’,” Hermon advises his listeners. “Just start a journey, because the idea WILL change.”
As someone who once dreamt of becoming a famous artist, he paints a pretty inspirational portrait of disruption.