This week we’re celebrating our 5th birthday! I could not be more proud of our team for leading us through this incredible journey. While this year certainly feels very different than in the past, it’s more clear than ever that agriculture is going digital and I’m thrilled Artemis is at the forefront of this revolution.
Five years is a big milestone and I’d like to celebrate some of our big wins from this past year along with some lessons I’ve learned, like in previous years. Here are the posts from year 4, year 3, and year 2.
Launched Enterprise Platform
In Q3 we launched our new enterprise platform. When we started Artemis (FKA Agrilyst), we primarily worked with small farms. In 2019, we began working with much larger, multi-site operators who have traditional enterprise needs. We successfully went through a major refactor to our platform adding additional integration capabilities, enterprise-level security, multi-language support, and lots of additional functionality including our new advanced reporting. We also focused on our account management process to ensure customer success for the long-term.
All of the product and process improvements we made early in the year translated into fast growth, culminating in our best quarter (Q1) despite the global uncertainty. We have been doubling revenue quarterly and I’m so proud of our team for creating and supporting our explosive growth.
Expanded Presence in Canada
With the expansion of our product capabilities, we also focused on expanding into new markets. Canada has always been a priority for us and we were excited to broaden our Canadian presence this year and begin expanding in target geographies. We started working with incredible customers like Jamco Growers (part of the Red Hat Co-operative) and Sweetgrass in Alberta. We look forward to continuing our growth in the area. If you are based in Canada and want to chat with our team, you can reach out to Don at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’re still early
When you’re deep in the operational weeds, it’s easy to look at KPIs as a way to show internal progress from day to day. What feels like exponential growth in the short-term horizon of a year or two often only reflects a small change in the industry as a whole. Agriculture is one of the least digitized industries and there’s so much room for innovation. It’s important to watch for the signs of the shifts while also managing for the long-term.
Some things are still difficult. At the end of the day, farming is hard and margins are slim. However, some things are becoming easier. It’s clear there’s a digital gap. It’s clear how that gap translates into direct financial impact for farm operators — knowledge transfer is particularly important right now (what happens when someone has critical information and is sick or leaves the operation), compliance based infractions and audits are expensive, and profit-based optimization is critical.
I’m incredibly optimistic about the future of digital agriculture and am excited that we’re beginning to transition from early adoption into broad usage.
Why we focus on product led growth
We focus heavily on product as a driver for growth. In our industry, there are many options for software and a lack of existing infrastructure for decision making. This often means customers are inundated with products and evaluate based on factors that vary from customer to customer. Why? Without a set framework, everyone’s needs are different. As a result, a majority of the companies on the market end up trying to solve all problems for all users. We come from the industry so we know the flaws in this approach. What a grower needs is different than what a CFO needs for an organization.
We’ve always focused on becoming the grower’s best friend. Similar to how Salesforce became critical for your salesteam and how NetSuite became your operations team’s tool, Artemis is built for your growing team and this steers every decision we make. This year, that meant the major refactor mentioned above and the rollout of some brand new workflows to better aid in daily use.
Team & Transparency
Last year I talked about the difficulty in scaling culture. This year, I focused a lot on implementing better transparency across our organization. Our company celebrates feedback both up and down the organization. One of the things I heard last year was that feedback seemed to get stuck in the middle of the organization. Information wasn’t flowing freely from the top down or vice versa. This created a sense of uneasiness throughout the organization because it was unclear how management made decisions and if they were based on the things employees were seeing daily.
So, I changed our internal processes to unblock information as best as possible. We have open leadership meetings (anyone can attend and observe, like a Board Observer role), we have company-wide OKRs which are discussed at every all hands, we have cross departmental casual meetings (once every two weeks, employees are paired up with someone outside of their department so they can meet and learn about other initiatives), and most importantly I hold skip levels every week. I now have 1:1 meetings with every person on our team. It’s an opportunity to hear how things are going, answer any questions employees have about the company or strategy, and hear some incredible ideas from our team.
Your customers are your most important asset. They can become your marketing team, your product research team, and your investors if you treat them right. I believe in farmers and I believe the industry will continue to be hugely successful with technology and innovation. I spent a year on the road working with customers and prospects last year digging into their challenges and focusing on ways we could strengthen our product and our support to meet those challenges. Every founder can and should spend time with customers as often as possible. I’m so incredibly grateful for our amazing growers and forever in awe of the businesses they run. Thank you for letting us be a part of it all.
I also want to share a Virtual Grower Summit we did in partnership with many of our customers to help share resources related to COVID-19. If you want to see how some top growers are approaching the operational challenges brought on by this pandemic, I highly recommend checking it out.
Funny memory: this photo was taken the day we launched our website for the first time. We had stayed up all night getting our product ready for launch at TechCrunch Disrupt SF. At around 3am we realized we didn’t have a marketing website ready and over a few beers and pizza slices, we went live with this. I was so excited, I snapped a picture and immediately texted my mom and to my surprise, she texted me back immediately. There’s nothing better than the feeling you get when you’re building something new. And wow, we have come a long way in these first five years!
Thank you to #teamArtemis for jumping on this crazy train. Thanks to all of our investors for believing in us and supporting us over the years. Thank you to all the growers who trust Artemis to help them run their operations.