Hexagro Urban Farming
Explain your project in details:
Current practices to produce and distribute food globally represent one of the biggest sources of pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Indoor agriculture is a trending solution in dense urban areas to shorten fresh food supply chain while increasing accessibility to healthy food to consumers residing in areas with no fertile land, harsh environmental conditions, lack of farming experience and low incomes. Moreover, the rising number of people migrating to urban areas will inevitably worsen issues related to food security, creating the so-called food deserts. Hexagro Urban Farming provides scalable, sustainable and sharing-economy based solutions to enhance the production and supply of fresh and healthy food to everyone. Our first product, the Living Farming Tree (LFT), is an automated, modular and easy-to-use indoor farming system to grow food without the need of large spaces, complex installations or fertile land. It is entirely built with recyclable materials and includes an automated monitoring device that adapts the system to its environmental conditions through data analytics, and a dedicated software for crop planning. Its modularity allows the system to adapt to several crop types and any indoor environment, from households living rooms to restaurants, industrial warehouses and offices. The LFT lets the urban farmer scale up his configurations to boost the yield and increase profit. Its design allows an efficient eco-packaging in order to ship the system anywhere and be assembled easily on site, thus reducing transportation and installation costs. Moreover, thanks to the Hexagro Prime subscription, an all-included contract for the supply of various resources and maintenance services, and a dedicated Hexagro Urban Farming Network, our users will have the opportunity to generate profit by selling their organic production.
Impact of your enterprise on sustainable development
Our current prototype is the 3.0 version of the system design that was initially created five years ago. Our innovation proposal has always been guided by the feedbacks from potential customers and industry experts. We had the chance from the beginning to show our prototypes in many events and fairs around the globe e.g. San Jose (CR), Bogota (COL), Austin (TX), San Francisco (CA), London (ENG), Milan (IT), and we are currently presenting in Taipei (TW), Lyon (FRA) and Milan (IT) in permanent exhibitions. We recently presented the latest version of our product at DIN Design Exhibition (9-11 April), the 2017 edition of the Milano Design Week in which we invested our time interacting and investigating peoples interest in our system and Seeds & Chips 2017, side by side with industry leaders. Furthermore, we submitted several surveys trying to understand, prove and validate our assumptions about the target market that is willing to purchase and use our product. So far, we received positive feedbacks and many visitors disclosed their will to buy our product and, most importantly, to help us communicating it to their friends. We are currently beta-testing the new prototype with few of our collaborators to validate plant growth and the automation system. We will launch the pre-selling campaign in Milan at the beginning of 2018 and we count on embarking into the international market at the end of the same year. Our measures to evaluate success so far, are completely based on the satisfaction of our customers and the raise of awareness regarding our core values and brand: we want to deliver to people the most useful and easy to use designed system to allow anyone produce good food in their indoor environments.
Sustainability and future plans
Our business model is defined as follow: - Sales of the LFT and expansion kits: validated facts, surveys and market analysis. Thanks to our direct surveys we identified our target personas and we already have an accurate calculation of the costs and margins we will make by selling our LFT systems. - Subscription to the Hexagro Prime contract: based on the assumption that our clients will subscribe to a full optional service to grow at home with the automatic supply of the resources needed. This assumption can be analyzed and validated in the same market (other urban farming companies offer similar options) or similar ones (coffee capsules in offices, raise of food/grocery deliveries or the rent of plants in offices/private gardens). - Transaction fees in the Hexagro Urban Farming Network (vision for the future): based on the assumption that new and existing clients will use the urban network to exchange and market their products and services. This assumption is based on the raising sharing economy market and auto production trends. Our plans for future growth are initially in line and well-defined on our business model. In the long term, we envision to produce a wider range of products in order to target the different needs of developing countries, low-income populations and many more. As we are moving the first steps into this new and growing industry, the more we will develop and the more we will be able to lower cost of production, R&D and supply chain management in order to increase the accessibility of our products to anyone, everywhere. Moreover, our Hexagro Urban Farming Network will represent a great chance to spread even more our vision and empower new faring entrepreneurs to profit from the production of their systems.
Your profile as an entrepreneur
My name is Felipe Hernandez, 26 years old and I was born in Colombia but grew up in Costa Rica. I live in Italy, where I studied a master's course and work as an industrial designer and entrepreneur. My main field of experience is Design. I've worked for 6 years in companies from different sectors in Latin America, Italy, Germany and France. My goal is to continue gainning experience working on projects in different fields while developing my entrepeneurial project Hexagro Urban Farming, which is now a startup based in Milan. I have a Bachelor Degree in Product Design from Universidad Veritas, Costa Rica in which I had a successful trajectory achieving the first honorable mention for a graduate project in the school (Hexagro project) and subsequently received a scholarship to study a Master of Science in Design and Engineering at Politecnico di Milano. I was also accepted to be part of the Alta Scoula Politecnica, a parallel extracurricular course of 2 years to develop multidisciplinary projects. I attended lessons on different topics, from project management, to design methods and sustainability. My group's project was related to Additive Manufacturing of Metals, field in which Im working nowadays at Poly-Shape Italia (Motorsport Automotive, Formula 1 sector). Im passionate for design, sustainability and innovation, that's why I like to work hard and learn any kind of new things. I consider myself a team player and Im confident that design is the best tool to unify creativity with technical knowledge, which drive to innovative solutions.