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Our Startup Semester

The Challenge

We were assigned to a team and tasked with creating a startup in one semester. We all wanted to make something that would help people and were interested in healthy food. From there we came up with the idea of a crop share where I might grow tomatoes and you might grow zucchini and another friend might grow basil and together we could make marinara! We were geniuses….or so we thought.

The Solution

First we had to find gardeners in Boulder in January. I went to urban homesteader meetups in peoples garages in subzero weather. We talked to people on the phone and by email. We discovered that people wanted control over the food they ate and would be hesitant to sign up for a swap. What would happen if my tomatoes don’t grow? Do I still get zucchini?

Based on this info and the discovery that an experienced gardener cannot fathom how little a new gardener knows, we decided to pivot. We changed our name from neighbor’s gardens to crop crcles and focused on helping novice gardeners get a few plants under their belt. We would limit their choices and focus on the most important parts of growing a plant: sunlight, soil and water. At the end of their selections, users would be given a shopping list so they would know exactly what to buy in the garden center.

Alas, we were not a technical enough team to build the software.

Our Process

We sketched

5 minutes sprints followed by more 5 minute sprints.


We Tested

We bugged everyone by asking them to look at, poke and review our sketches. We took notes.


Then We Sketched Some More

It was back to the drawing board, literally.

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