Our Journey from FarmVille nostalgia to revolutionizing the vegetable supply chain

Our Journey from FarmVille nostalgia to revolutionizing the vegetable supply chain

5 min read
Our Journey from FarmVille nostalgia to revolution 1

Have you ever thought about starting your own business? What held you back?

Meet Sava and Lazar, the founders of farmit, a startup that allows urban users to have their digital garden cultivated in reality by small-scale farmers. The platform aims to bridge the gap between urban and rural areas, providing urban users with access to fresh, locally-grown produce delivered to their home addresses, while ensuring a secure market for agricultural producers.

What adds an inspirational narrative to this story is that they launched this startup in 2023 as students, and here's what their experience has taught them so far.

There's no such thing as a perfect idea

It all started with Farmville, the game that connects us to our childhood memories. We thought it would be incredibly innovative to have an app where people could have their garden and use gamification to water, plant, and take care of their crops. Meanwhile, a farmer would carry out the user's digital activities in the real world on their farm. The entire process would culminate in the user receiving weekly deliveries of produce from their garden to their home address.

In the first season, we launched a simplified web application that enabled users to track the progress of their gardens through pictures and progress bars within their profiles on the web app. However, as we engaged with users, we quickly realized that our initial excitement didn't necessarily translate into value for them. People craved convenience above all else – they wanted locally-grown vegetables delivered promptly to their homes, saving them precious time and effort.

If we had focused solely on perfection, we might never have launched our gamified app. We could have wasted time and resources endlessly improving our idea, only to discover it wasn't what our audience truly desired. Instead, we took action. We embraced imperfection, recognizing that it's through iteration and adaptation that true success is achieved.

This experience taught us a valuable lesson: there's never a 'perfect' time to start.

Waiting for ideal conditions only delays progress and stifles innovation. By taking the leap and launching our initial idea, we opened ourselves up to feedback, allowing us to refine and improve our product based on the needs of our users.

In the end, perfection isn't the goal – it's about meeting the needs of your audience and continuously evolving to meet their expectations.

There's never a right time to start

At the very beginning almost three years ago, we faced numerous failures, criticisms, "who needs this?" comments, rejections, as well as negative feedback from potential investors. The bright side of our business sector is that we are tied to the vegetable growing season. At the beginning of 2023, we realized that if we didn't want another entire year and season to go to waste, we had to implement our first activities by March. And here is where the old saying that fortune favors the bold is confirmed. Soon, the first conditions for starting emerged: support from a mentoring program at the university, shortly after, we won a competition where we received a cash prize that would later play a significant role in developing the business.

The entire concept was designed so that the agricultural producer would have their capacities filled for the entire season in advance, by users making reservations for their garden plots before the planting season begins. This meant one thing: we had to fill the capacities by the end of April. We registered the company and embarked on our venture.

Opportunities are not waited for - they are created.

Given that we were still students, we couldn't rely on extensive previous experience, especially not in large-scale systems. How do we attract our first customers? Trust played a crucial role because users were required to make upfront payments for garden reservations. The first video we posted on our social platforms went viral, allowing a large number of people to hear about our idea.

Yet, attracting customers wasn't solely about waiting for them to come to us. Instead, we adopted a proactive approach, reaching out to potential users, and articulating our concept in detail. We didn't shy away from seeking help and advice whenever needed, recognizing the value of collaboration and learning from others.

In May, we knocked on the doors of our customers for the first time and delighted them with vegetables from their gardens. The reactions were extremely positive. The best comment: "Finally, vegetables with aroma and flavor."

Was entrepreneurship the right choice for us?

Although the idea itself was crucial for us to embark on this entrepreneurial journey, certain advantages of entrepreneurial work came with it. However, the path to entrepreneurship was by no means easy. College prepares you to solve problems and be open to new things, but it doesn't fully prepare you for the intricacies of entrepreneurship. As we ventured into this entrepreneurial endeavor while still in college, we didn't have the opportunity to work in a larger system, and we started the whole thing with the experience gained from internships. What was evident was that we lacked concrete know-how and couldn't consult with colleagues who were only engaged in student activities at that time. The answer was clear: we needed a mentor. And we didn't hesitate to ask for advice. We built contacts, attended events, and most importantly, we didn't shy away from reaching out or asking specific questions.

What worked well in our case was utilizing our initial enthusiasm to the fullest extent. When you're young and entering the business world, you believe you can change it and contribute a lot. Because we firmly believe that we can change agriculture in Serbia for the better, we have an inexhaustible passion to succeed in that. Since we didn't have experience in a large system before this, we weren't rigid, which allowed us to be open-minded at the beginning of our business.

At this stage of life, we were willing to take risks, driven by a clear vision and unwavering belief in our ideas. We were acutely aware of our imperfections and areas for improvement, recognizing that our service and product were far from perfect. However, it was this acknowledgment that allowed us to utilize every criticism and suggestion for growth, continuously striving to evolve and refine our offering.

In hindsight, while the path of entrepreneurship may not have been easy, it was undoubtedly the right choice for us. Farmit is no longer just Sava and Lazar; it's now a team of young people who want to make a healthy change. A bigger team, but the mission remains the same!

Through Farmit, we want to empower the local community, help people who produce food, and give them the opportunity for secure placement. 

We're not afraid to say it out loud - the plan is to become the world's largest platform connecting urban and rural areas. We're aware that it's an ambitious goal, but we don't plan to stop until we achieve it!

P.S. Joberty and farmit partnered up and are doing a giveaway for you! 🫵

All you need to do is create your Perfect Match profile and you will get a chance to receive one month of free vegetable delivery through farmit.

P.S. Joberty and farmit partnered up and are doing a giveaway for you!🫵
All you need to do is create your Perfect Match profile and you will get a chance to receive one month of free vegetable delivery through farmit.

Winners will be announced at the beginning of May.

More info coming soon - follow our Instagram account!

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