Farm.ink is a tech startup with big ambitions to support small-scale farmers across the globe. As a team we've lived and worked all over the world. Our first users from East Africa have helped improve the product through 100s of hours of user tests. We're honoured to serve farmers, and we're not happy unless farmers are delighted by the features we release. That's been our simple secret of success.
Learning and Trust are cornerstone principles that guide what we design. They're also foundational to a prospering farmer. We aim to offer the most delightful digital training platform for farmers, coupled with a platform for farmers to join together and form trusted networks. We also believe in a collaborative, joined-up approach. We aim to amplify the impact and effectiveness of organisations that can positively impact farmers by building an open platform that any partner can easily plug into.
Why farming? Why smartphones? Before founding farm.ink we worked with many different mobile tech companies across the world. We saw a huge shift take place as smartphones hit the mass market across Africa and Asia. These sophisticated devices give users a much more powerful means to solve problems, they also give us an exciting technology stack to work with. Farming is the backbone of many developing economies and small-scale farmers, in their turn, are clients with big problems to solve.
We quickly found that chatbots (i.e. conversational-style apps) are a hugely effective way of getting information to farmers. We designed chatbots that offered mini courses and news updates crowdsourced from large social media groups we formed. We quickly gained 100,000s of users across these highly conversational approaches. In a survey of our users we found that over 90% said that information they had received had changed the way they farm. Our latest web platform combines everything we learnt from these early prototypes. Packaged in a way so other organisations can also build on this success quickly.
We involve farmers at every stage of the design process: from post-it note sketches through to detailed user testing of a final release. Farmers help define the road map for us. They also define the roadmap for partners who are keen to work with small-scale farmers across the globe.