ISU students develop tracking app for seed companies

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Twin brothers at Iowa State have big plans for SeedView, an app that will help seed companies become more efficient.

Adam and Austin Fichter, third-year seniors in agriculture business, are the twins responsible for the app.

"I was working for Monsanto last summer as an intern and the inventory process seemed low-tech and everything was done on paper," Adam said. "I was surprised when I realized there was no resource to help benefit the process."

Austin also worked as an intern for Monsanto in a different location last summer.

"I had a similar experience with the inventory management, and it seemed like the warehouses were holding back the process. The app [we developed] will help increase efficiency and allow for real-time locations," Austin said.

SeedView would be used to scan the GR code, something that looks and functions like a regular bar code, when it enters and leaves the facility. The employees will be able to enter the app data and check where all the seeds are at any given time.

Currently, everything is done on paper and it takes time for the paper to get processed into the computer, and sometimes the data will show up a week late.

"We decided to work together and come up with a business proposal to help the medium-sized seed companies," Adam said.

The brothers are currently trying to partner with a software company to design the app, though finding a company to partner with is difficult due to the high risk and upfront cost. The developer needs to understand agriculture and the importance of the app. Similar apps have found partnerships in other countries.

"If we were to create the app with out-of-pocket money, then it would be a $1 million platform," Austin said.

Economics 334 and Management 313 are two classes that Adam and Austin are currently taking, and the two classes have given them the tools to build a business plan and have helped them to know who to contact.

"The business idea has really come together with the guidance from the two classes," Austin said.

The business plan will target medium-sized companies who do not have the resources to be efficient. The app would be contract-based, and there would potentially be an upfront cost and then an annual fee to renew the services.

The value proposition of SeedView would be to reduce payroll expense by $50,000. There would be an increase of sales by 5 percent, and the approximate value added to the customer would be around $4,050,000.

"We think SeedView has a lot of potential, but it will probably not take off until after we graduate, and we do not have a set timeline of when things will be accomplished," Adam said. "We recognize that finding a software company will take the time and process to create the app."

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