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Topic # 161928 23-Jan-2015 15:21
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Hi guys,

Just looking for a bit of advice/feedback etc on my startup - Agri-Track. 

I'm the founder of the company, and I have two other directors who invested back at the seed investment stage. The company is currently run by just myself, and we use a Wellington based software company for most of our development. The company outsources most of the software to Vietnamese developers. 


What it does

The software is made for Large Scale broadacre farms. 
Our products base feature is its "Live Tracking", which allows our customers to see where all of their vehicles are currently working, in real time across their farm(s)
It also has Speed Tracking, a syncable notepad, sharing of location specific information/areas, Area measurements etc built in.
It's built natively on both Android and iOS (main software runs on Tablet devices (usually ~10" tablets), supplemented by a small tracking app on both Android and iOS phones)
In most cases, we sell the hardware with the software preloaded onto it directly to the customer
A customer usually buys a device per (important) vehicle on the farm. E.g 3-15 devices/farm
Currently have over 100+ vehicles being tracked across Australia's large farms.


(Screenshot of an earlier version of the software running - with 8 vehicles being tracked)   


Quick timeline of milestones so far:

 

  • Saw potential for product that didn't yet exist
  • Created MVP with the help of Wellington/Vietnamese developers (headaches)
  • Tested and demonstrated software in target market (large scale broadacre farm in Australia)
  • Sold product to first customer for 80% of MVP development cost
  • Gained investment with business family friends
  • Created V2 of MVP (headaches!)
  • Ran out of funding, flew back to Aus with money borrowed off my Aunty
  • Bought a small tent from BCF to live in for 2 months
  • Sold ~100 units with revenue of $XXXk
  • Produced our own hardware component to allow us to have stronger internet connection in rural australia
  • Created V3 of software (headaches!)
  • Had massive software problems which stopped sales over a key sales period


Harvester
(Unit installed in a Harvester in Australia)


Questions:

 

We have had a lot of software problems along the way, in my opinion these have been mostly caused by the poor performance of our developers in Vietnam. If there was one thing I would like to do over the next 6 months - it's to bring development back to NZ. I've had the Java side of the code evaluated from a reputable NZ software company - just to see how it looked and report was good. Code was well written. Does anyone have any tips on what the best process would be - moving from outsourced software to NZ?
Should I just use a development company in NZ to take over the development?
Would I be likely to find an experienced developer with (most of) the relevant skills to come on board for share equity + retainer?
How about finding a new grad and bringing them onboard as a co-founder/shareholder?
Anyone on here interested? wink



Thanks


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467 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 1221062 23-Jan-2015 19:49
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Good devs are hard to find in any country, but I definitely agree with bringing it back to NZ. As for getting a grad student, there's nothing wrong with that, but they will tend to make more mistakes than someone with experience. We only hire senior devs for that reason, but pay a bit more for it.

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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 1221104 23-Jan-2015 20:32
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Just one thing confusing me slightly, if the code has been evaluated and is good, how is it a code problem causing issues? Is it just difficult to work with the Vietnamese Devs? Have there been timing and delivery issues? Can the reputable software company in NZ you have already made contact with take on the work? 




Try Vultr using this link and get us both some credit:

 

http://www.vultr.com/?ref=7033587-3B


 
 
 
 


gzt

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  Reply # 1221327 24-Jan-2015 12:23
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Given your problems temporarily stopped sales (!) it appears that you have a lack of basic quality assurance and pre-production testing. I'd be happy to have a chat to see where you are currently at, how these issues are usually dealt with, and where some low cost improvements can be made. I have around 10 years experience in this area with large and small enterprises.



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  Reply # 1230852 3-Feb-2015 23:27
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paulmilbank: Just one thing confusing me slightly, if the code has been evaluated and is good, how is it a code problem causing issues? Is it just difficult to work with the Vietnamese Devs? Have there been timing and delivery issues? Can the reputable software company in NZ you have already made contact with take on the work?



Yeah, the feedback said it was good, but seems like a number of the issues stem from the server side of things, something I haven't had checked over. Working with the vietnamese devs is bearable, but timing/delivery issues are constant. 



gzt: Given your problems temporarily stopped sales (!) it appears that you have a lack of basic quality assurance and pre-production testing. I'd be happy to have a chat to see where you are currently at, how these issues are usually dealt with, and where some low cost improvements can be made. I have around 10 years experience in this area with large and small enterprises.



Hi gzt, that would be great, I'll send you a PM with some contact details and we can see where we get.



One question I have - (assuming I have a convincing proposition) what do you think my chances are of finding a semi-competent dev to take on the Android/Server side for a % of the company, plus payout after the next sales season with performance targets met (3-5 months)  

Thanks, Andrew

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 1230992 4-Feb-2015 10:31
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himynameisandy: 
One question I have - (assuming I have a convincing proposition) what do you think my chances are of finding a semi-competent dev to take on the Android/Server side for a % of the company, plus payout after the next sales season with performance targets met (3-5 months)  

Thanks, Andrew


You'd need a good freelancer who thinks investing 3-5 months of lost income into your company would be a good investment, and worth the risks involved.  Working on the "why we are a good investment" story (and associated numbers) is crucial.

And you really do need someone good.  A freelancer friend of mine used to be the sole developer for a tiny NZ startup.  They shifted their software development to a small NZ dev shop, everything broke, and six months later my friend is once again doing development for them...

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