StartIn: Welcome on our Spotlight series! Can you please give us a quick introduction about yourself and your team, please?
Felix: My name is Felix Watson, and I am a 1st year Material Science and Engineering student at Imperial College London. My team was made up of me and three other masters students at imperial.
StartIn: Could you share a quick overview of your start-up? Your product, your market / target group, and in which stage are you currently in (MVP, funding, scaling, etc.)?
Felix: Right now, we are aiming to offer quick and easy revenue predictions for farmers in the UK who are interested in building renewable energy systems on their farms. We find the optimal system set up for the famers based on local solar irradiation and wind data; then we break down the initial costs as well as the potential returns, they could achieve. For now, our target market is smaller, family held, farms as we had identified these farms as being most at risk to financial instability. So far, the only funding we have received is through the Climate Entrepreneurs Club Pre-Accelerator program where we won the “Audience Prize”.
StartIn: Starting a company can be challenging. What were some of the major hurdles you faced during the early stages of establishing GreenFields Energy, and how did you overcome them?
Felix: One of our biggest hurdles was performing a proper customer discovery to fully understand the issues that our target customers face and where we can fit into that. As you can imagine, farmers are not exactly the type of people that like to sit in front of a computer and respond to emails! We tackled this issue by going through family connections initially, where the farmers were much more interested in chatting with us. We then contacted bigger farming communities such as the East of England Agricultural Society and the Royal Agricultural Society of England. This allowed us to reach over 100 farmers which gave us a great understanding of our target customer.
StartIn: What sets GreenFields Energy apart from other players in the energy industry? Are there any unique approaches, technologies, or strategies that differentiate your company?
Felix: Our unique approach is that farmers are our focus point. Many other predictive modelling start-ups are focusing on the solar developer side of things. However, we focus on catering for the farmers. We want to build these sometimes very isolated farmers into their local community ecosystem and give back to help fight the climate crisis. We want to help farmers who may be worrying about their income in the current energy crisis and offer them quick and easy consultations for alternative revenue streams that they may not have previously considered. Offering a helping hand at every step of the way from the initial openness to having something different on their farms to installing the systems and applying to government schemes.
StartIn: Looking ahead, what are your long-term goals and aspirations for GreenFields Energy / yourself?
Felix: Unfortunately, recently we have made the difficult decision to completely pause all operations based on 3 out of 4 of our co-founders moving to further education and other opportunities around the world.
StartIn: What advice would you give to students who are interested in joining a pre-accelerator programme?
Felix: Having a great team is key to any start-up, although an initial idea can help, if you have a great problem-solving team, you can navigate anything that comes your way. Often your value proposition will pivot and you need a team that can adapted to that.
StartIn: Thank you for sharing your story!
## personal LinkedIn link: https://www.linkedin.com/in/felix-r-watson/
## company LinkedIn link: https://www.linkedin.com/company/greenfieldsenergy/
## Are you currently hiring / looking for investors?: Hiring