Beta.MN / Byte: Chicken Scoop

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Beta.MN/ Byte is a series underwritten by Bust Out Solutions and published in collaboration with Beta.MN for the early-stage founders between idea and execution.

 

What is the name of the company and/or product?

Our product is called the Chicken Scoop.

What distinct problem does this solve for who and how does this create value for them?

We connect people to chicken coops and backyards through an innovative (and hilarious) chicken leaderboard with monitoring and alerting. The Chicken Scoop brings the joys of chicken ownership to you while helping you manage your flock, identify high/low performers and isolate specific behaviors by bird. As we grow, we will provide concrete metrics on chicken and flock productivity by region, species and age while keeping it fun and engaging.

How did you come up with the idea?

Beta-Byte-BustOut

After my wife and I got chickens a few years ago I found myself constantly asking what the “girls” were up to that day. A few months later, one of my friends forgot to close their coop and all their chickens were lost to a predator. The practical needs of part-time chicken ownership triggered this product but the virtual connection to chickens is something I didn’t expect to be so compelling. There are now many members of my family keeping an eye on my chickens from afar!

What is the full launch/release date planned?

We plan to sell our first several Chicken Scoops this summer. While we have a number of individuals and schools using our technology now, we are taking a phased approach to the sales process to ensure we work out the kinks with a smaller number of users.

Who is on the team?

Andrew Ralston (that’s me!)
Minh Anderson
Joe Lane
Paul Conlin

What is the specific technology or combination of technologies is used?

The hardware is based around a few different microcontrollers and custom boards with the data going to a mix of AWS services. We are using the AWS IoT platform, as well as Lambda and Kinesis for event stream analysis. We have a Rails web app with a React front end and a React Native mobile app coming next!

Who is the customer and what is your revenue model?

We are currently focused on the needs of the backyard chicken owner. There are also opportunities to help larger operations manage their flocks. We are especially interested in operations where producers are trying to encourage a connection to the end user.  We are selling the hardware in various bundles with a nominal monthly fee for the ongoing services.

What is the size/scope of your market and how will you scale?

The backyard chicken market is approximately 3.5-4.5 million households in the USA and growing. The software platform is designed to facilitate scaling and we will have to start buying larger quantities of custom circuit boards!

We are also working with schools to help them make their chickens more accessible to students/families – maybe even coop-competitions! You don’t have to own chickens to get an account on the platform and see what they are up to – there are lots of possibilities.  We are interested in either funding or acquisition to ensure we have enough resources to bring this product to market swiftly and effectively.

What is your greatest strength?

We have a compelling story for our customers where we can provide concrete value from day one. Our team is technically strong and we have a great market to sell into. We’ve found that backyard chicken owners are a great group of people to work with and are excited to grow our footprint with them!

What is your biggest weakness?

Our team is heavy on technology but light on marketing and sales. We don’t have the resources to grow the team yet. It’s the whole chicken/egg conundrum!

What is one resource you could use that would take this to the next level?

We would benefit most from time – development and sales will accelerate quickly once we are able to work full time on the Chicken Scoop. Hardware design, manufacturing and packaging will be critical in the next year as we scale up production.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Go to the https://www.chicken-scoop.com and sign up for an account to see the dashboard for the original Chicken Scoop! Email me (Andrew) with any questions/comments at aralston@chicken-scoop.com or cell at 303-619-8462.

BetaByte_2

 

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