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Ragna Landgren & Christina Halstead - Farmazing

Ragna Landgren & Christina Halstead - Farmazing


Describe yourself and your project. How did you get the idea?

Farmazing offers urban dwellers an opportunity to enjoy organic fresh fruits and vegetables that have been produced sustainably within the local community. By implementing high-tech hydroponic systems on city balconies and rooftops we offer only the best quality produce while also caring for the environment and our customers’ health. Christina brought the idea from the U.S. and now we’re trying to capture the European market.


Who are you? Previous education/jobs/ experiences etc.

Ragna comes from a technical background, having studied Engineering in England and has experience in prototyping from fieldwork in sustainable hydroelectric technologies while abroad in Uganda. Back in the U.S., Christina studied Economics at UC San Diego and worked professionally as a data miner and business developer. We met in our Master programme in Entrepreneurship at Lund University where we connected over our passion for sustainability and the environment. Since January we have worked together as co-founders of Farmazing.


What will you do during these three months? How will you spend the time? 

During the coming three months we will focus on understanding the needs of our target market and develop a user experience platform that will meet these needs. Understanding how our customers behave and how they want to interact with the our system is key to our success so a lot of effort will be spent on getting it right. We will then translate this information into prototype development.


What do you expect to achieve during Leapfrogs?

With the help of Leapfrogs, we will test the market. We expect to carry out significant market research and meet with potential partners to start prototype development. We also aim to establish a limited company by the end of the three months. 

Ragna Landgren & Christina Halstead - Farmazing #2


Tell us what you have done on your project so far during the Leapfrogs time. 

We have used the first half of the Leapfrogs time to research the market and strengthen our underlying business case. An important part of this has been to identify our stakeholders and map out the different values we offer them. This has helped us improve our value proposition and also understand how our different stakeholders interact with one another. Based on the market research and feedback from talking to potential customers we have started compiling the technical specifications for our prototype. We have also started the development of our new website in order to get traction and start building a Farmazing community.


Has everything gone according to the plan? Has anything unexpected occurred? Has something been easier/harder than expected? 

So far nothing unexpected has occurred and most of the work is going well. However, we are currently in the process of changing names and have realised that coming up with a good name that fits our brand yet has not already been taken, is harder than it sounds. We have now come up with a name that we both like and is well received by others. Our next step is looking up possible existing patents and trademarks before making the official change.


What will you focus on during the remaining time? Will you follow your original plan or has anything changed along the way? 

We will continue with our original plan. Ragna will focus on prototype development and the technical requirements of the product and Christina will focus on the business side of the firm. We aim to have a first prototype ready by the end of the project to start test-growing vegetables, which can also be used for our planned crowdfunding campaign. We also plan to do our first business trip before the end of the summer as we have been presented with an opportunity to do field visits to larger scale farms that use similar technology to learn more about how they operate.

Ragna Landgren & Christina Halstead - Farmazing #3


How did you experience the three months?

These three months have been both a lot of fun and a lot of hard work. At times it has been very challenging, yet most of the time it has been rewarding. It is something special with being in charge of your own work and taking full responsibility for getting things done. We have both learnt a lot of valuable things about ourselves this summer, particularly about what motivates us and keeps us going. It is fascinating to see how hard you really work when it is something that you are passionate about.


What has been hardest/most enjoyable?

The most challenging thing this summer has been something very simple: deciding on a new name for the company. Although it sounds very easy it has taken long nights of brainstorming and researching trademarks or patents. We are still investigating certain legal aspects in different countries to make sure we don’t get into trouble with our new name and can therefore not reveal it just yet. The best part has been to build something for ourselves. Working so intensely on a project truly makes it your baby and the sense of ownership you get is what keeps us going every day. 


Did it go as expected? Will you continue working on your project in the future?

Most things went as expected this summer, although we quickly realised that things were going to take longer than anticipated due to the holiday season. However, this has helped us set up more realistic time frames for future work.  We will continue to develop the company during the fall, although we are aiming to move everything over to London where we see our biggest market.


What would you say is the most important lesson learnt while working on your project?

An important lesson learnt this summer is that everything takes longer than expected, especially during the summer. When trying to start a business you need to build connections and get and work together with other people, and you must take into consideration that these people might have other things going as well. Sometimes it can take weeks before they get back to you, so it’s important that you plan ahead and have something else to do in the mean time.


Do you have any tips to other ”new” entrepreneurs?

The best advice we can give other aspiring entrepreneurs is that things never turn out the way you planned, but that’s not a bad thing. There are so many opportunities when starting a business so it is inevitable that ideas and plans change along the road. Be open to these changes and try to make the most of them. The uncertainty is part of the beauty of the entrepreneurial life.