Shwetha Srinivas is a young and enthusiastic entrepreneur. She embarked on the entrepreneurship journey after a good 15 years with a top-notch technology company where she honed her skills in developing software used by several enterprises to run their critical business transactions. As a product manager later, she traveled extensively and often worked directly with company customers helping solve problems on the ground and gained deep respect from customers and her peers. Her acumen, insight and technology prowess won her many accolades within and outside the company. Soon, the entrepreneurial bug bit her and she moved on from the company with the urge to “do something on my own”.

As she explored ideas and brainstormed with people she met, Shwetha narrowed down her focus to address the space of a growing demand for fresh and organically grown vegetables and fruits, direct from farms to tables of discerning and aware urban population willing to pay a premium for reliable, fresh and cleanly grown produce.

She found a set of partners who liked her idea and were ready to join her venture. They called their business EatWell Produce, based out of Bangalore. The group now began to brainstorm ideas and led by Shwetha, they soon had a plan outlined with some supporting market research. They spoke to a few friends they knew who were conscious of the produce they bought, and a supplier to  understanding both ends of the supply chain.

Shwetha and her team used all their technology, marketing and product management expertise to craft a pitch and plan, and even had several mock-ups of an app ready. Their pitch to investors had all the right ingredients in it, a well thought out business plan and model along with a solid technology platform that enabled delivery of fresh produce to consumers.

Just before the scheduled demo to investors, the team of EatWell Produce had a chance meeting with a friend who had a fresh produce shop in one of the upscale neighborhoods of Bangalore. As they stood there talking to him about their idea, he asked them a few questions that had them stumped –

  • Why would consumers choose your app to buy vegetables v/s coming into my shop where they can see, touch and feel vegetables before they buy?
  • How are you ensuring that your consumers will trust that you will supply fresh and organically grown vegetables?
  • Who are your suppliers and how will you deliver these vegetables all over Bangalore city ?

The team then realized that they had gone along with their understanding of a solution and all the planning and mock-ups had been done with a few assumptions only. They had missed several key facts like most people in the city of Bangalore or any other town, like to touch and feel vegetables before they buy them, besides other demographic, supplier and delivery network and many more.

The good news is, EatWell Produce has 4 weeks before they make their pitch to investors. What are 5 things they can do in this time to get a better understanding of their customers and suppliers?