Tell us about Fresh4cast
Pentalib (lit. ‘Five Freedoms)’ helps academic researchers explore animal welfare, using fit-for-purpose technology with the potential to scale sample numbers up for maximum impact and minimal researcher effort. We get involved in projects that encourage the highest welfare standards, to solve real-life business issues. Borne from an award winning post-graduate equine thesis in 2016 by founder and Director, Sharon Smith, our first patent-pending product ‘Define’ assisted in several student studies from nutritional supplements to sports horse energy expenditure, while at prototype stage. In 2018 we were asked to apply Define to research cattle behaviour in-vivo at Rothamstead Research, and IdealCow was the result. What makes us different is we understand the scientific method and want the answers for our 4-legged friends as much as you do. We sample our sensors at a validated frequency, and the safety and comfort of the animal is top priority, so there is no unwanted behavioural influence or physical discomfort from our technology. Researchers have access to the raw data, downloadable to examine over and over again, which could facilitate student studies for years after the initial experimental data collection phase.
When did you start your business?
2010 (initially as Horse Logic, equine behaviour consultant).
What's been your biggest highlight?
The Eagle Labs / Commonwealth Ventures trip to San Francisco and the incredible encouragement, advice and learning gained there.
What's been your biggest challenge?
Being patient and getting to MVP.
Advice for entrepreneurs starting out
Think of yourself, your product(s) and your business, separately. Why? You are worth more than your business, or product. Nothing happens without you. But whatever else you imagine your job to be, in this business your only job is cashflow and networking. If you have no product to sell on Day 1, then you have to be more creative about financing your product, but I would suggest not at the expense of your values, and paying the bills. Listen to potential customers with humility and you won't have to be first to market because your product will be better. Pay your bills while doing that, you have a business. And if you've not neglected yourself, you will still be healthy enough to enjoy it and want to do more. It's not easy, so good luck!