A DESIRE to eliminate physical paper records and create a one-stop location for farm records led ag-tech developer Lee Coleman and Matt Higham to develop their cloud-based farm management software FarmSimple.
Mr Coleman said he got sick of collating the various paper records into one document on his Croppa Creek, northern NSW, property and decided there had to be an easier way.
"We came up with the idea of a software program with some very specific aims," Mr Coleman said.
"Firstly, we wanted something where you could do all the farm record keeping, not require one thing for crop records and another for seed and fertiliser and another for your livestock," he said.
"Secondly, we recognised that to push this out it had to be easy to use.
"We wanted something that a person who can open up the weather or social media or Tinder for that matter on their phone could work, we have really prioritised that ease of use as if it is too difficult to use it won't work."
Ability to work offline and allow the phone or tablet being used to cache information and not have to worry about synchronisation was another goal.
"We know there are blackspots and we don't want people to have to spend all their time manually synching the records, so we wanted to ensure we had systems in place to allow that to happen fairly seamlessly."
Mr Coleman said the business was expanding with clients extending from NSW into Victoria and Western Australia.
"There is a real desire for this sort of software that allow farmers the chance to get hold of their data and benchmark it and improve their business decisions as a result."
FarmSimple has been boosted by Mr Coleman and Mr Higham participating in the Farmers2Founders (F2F) bootcamp accelerator program.
F2F was set up with the aim of encouraging Australian agricultural start-up businesses and the accelerator program is one of the services the organisation offers.
Mr Coleman said the accelerator bootcamp was a game-changer for the business.
"They challenged our thinking, in a really positive way, and allowed us to think really clearly about how our business was going to work."
By the end of the program, FarmSimple saw a 35 per cent increase in clients and 67 per cent increase in revenue, and was awarded a $25,000 NSW state government grant.
Mr Coleman said FarmSimple also covered administrative record keeping, such as time sheets, with a move into financial records now being investigated.
Co-founders of F2F Christine Pitt and Sarah Nolet are upbeat about the hidden potential in the Australian ag sector the organisation is uncovering.
They say the results demonstrate that opportunities are more abundant than ever for food and ag innovators to push forward new ideas and techniques into a shifting globalised and localized market landscape.
F2F are now recruiting nationally for their next program. Producer-led startups ready to scale their business, whatever the field, are invited to apply for the 2020 Bootcamp accelerator program
Each team will receive a $10,000 equity-free grant to go towards company expenses. Applications close October 21, 2020.
The program is supported by AgriFutures Australia, Grains Research and Development Corporation and Meat & Livestock Australia, with the aim to get representation from ag businesses right across Australia.