TheUC 039: Selling Innovation with CEO John Kawola of Harvest Automation


CEO John Kawola of Harvest Automation discusses the challenges of selling innovation to a traditional marketplace that is generally slow to adopt new technologies. John Kawola talks about the need to invest in building face-to-face relationships with the customer and utilizing ‘old school’ sales techniques such as product education and trials to convert sales. Selling innovation is key to generating long term venture value.

  1. Introduction of Show Topic: How High Growth Ventures Can Bridge the Chasm from Today to The Next Major Milestone Toward Building A Venture of Significant Long Term Value – Highlighting Harvest Automation with John Kawola and Discussing Selling Innovation
  2. Brief Recap of Venture Series
    1. Making Prudent and Informed Decisions Given Time & Resources…Knowing True Costs (hard costs and opportunity costs)
    2. Key Challenges for Ventures:
      1. Gaining Critical Mass of Customers…the Right Customers
      2. Getting Adoption of New Innovation from Notoriously Slow Industries (e.g. Health Care and Agriculture)
      3. Inventory Management…Balance of Investment in Inventory & Operations versus Investment in Sales and Business Development
  3. Brief Review of Previous Shows & Lead into Harvest Automation – CEO John Kawola and Selling Innovation
  4. Introduction of Harvest Automation
    1. Overview of Opportunity…Give market size & growth potential of the pie that Harvest Automation is looking to take a slice
    2. Story of how/why Harvest Automation was founded
    3. Story John Kawola’s role in company
    4. Current Status of Harvest Automation…Give metrics (if willing) to indicate current status such as revenue size, number of consumers, funding history
    5. Next Major Milestone for Harvest Automation
  5. Key Challenge(s) for Growing Harvest Automation
    1. Selling Innovation in an Industry that is Generally Reticent to Innovation
    2. Balancing Product Evolution with Building Long Term Consumers
      1. Early stage customers who are willing to be part of the product evolution process
      2. Mass market customers who aren’t generally tolerant of any tweaks or changes to the product and user experience…Who are these customers for Harvest Automation?
    3. Measuring Success
      1. Metrics…what are they and are they aligned with investor’s expectations?
      2. Timing…what are the expectations? How realistic are these expectations?