The mushroom forest provided todays break from studying. The trip yielded apart from two full baskets an idea.

2014-10-04 16.06.07

The idea is quite simple: To move the classical mushroom guides into your phone as an app. The app would perform the following tasks

  • View mushrooms, very similar to the traditional book
  • Identify mushroom, a tool for identifying an unknown mushroom. Is the mushroom agalic (skivling) or bolete (sopp)?
  • Save your location, the ability to save your location together with the time and mushroom you’ve found.

The mobile format has several advantages to a book:

  • Easier search
  • Possible to update
  • The possibility to provide several alternative pictures of the same object without the cost of printing.
  • No need to bring the book with you to the forest, just your smartphone which most people would bring anyway.

How would be our target customer for this app? I think it is families living in cities with several adults ages 20-50 that owns a country house.

How would we generate revenue? We could make it a paid app but this will probably make many users think twice before downloading. Instead I propose that mushrooms are added to collections which can be brought as an in app purchase (with the basic collection free).

The venture would except for design and programming skills require extensive Mycology knowledge. Knowledge which I do not possess…. And how will create the actual content? To write texts and take good pictures of the 50-200 mushrooms is a daunting task. A partnership seems needed.

How has access to this kind of material? The authors of the classical mushroom guides of course!

How does the classical mushroom guides fit in? I propose that we collaborate with, initially, one author currently writing a new book in the field. We offer him/her to bundle the app along with the book. When a customer buys a book they also get a code unlocking the contents of the book as a collection inside the app. We provide extra value to the book and take a royalty each time a code is used. If the collection is brought inside the app without the book we pay royalties to the author.

The author would not only provide us with content but also provide domain knowledge during development. Once released we could offer other authors to create their own collections.

What about competition? Coming home from the forest I was of course curious to see if this has already been done. A search on Google Play and the appstore reviled one Swedish app with the same basic offering but a simpler business model and not quite as feature rich as I envision.

What do you think? Is the idea worth further thought? … or is the competition to strong? … or is the market to small?



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3 Thoughts on “An entrepreneurial idea straight from the mushroom forest

  1. Avatar Angius on October 5, 2014 at 12:17 pm said:

    As you have written, there is the one Swedish app. But since it is not free, they have limited their market to a fraction of what it could have been. I believe that most people, when having the choice, will try the free one first.

    My thoughts: Go for it, even if the app is not better than “Svampguiden”, you will own the market because of cheap people.

    If you are able to mark your location, you will be sure that you do not forget your favorite place or go there too often.

  2. Avatar AxelHeumannBauerWerin on October 7, 2014 at 10:05 am said:

    First of all, the app has one problem. It might be large but it might be an advantage as well. The app data needs to be available offline due to the forest usually lacks good wifi (or edge, 3G). This might be an in-app purchase. You get several mushrooms you can download but if you want them all it costs.

    Another revenue idea is that you can have the geography tagging as an in-app purchase as well. You can show other peoples tags (I don’t know if that usually is a secret for people).

  3. Avatar svesjo on October 11, 2014 at 9:11 am said:

    The collections will of course have to be saved to the device… however I don’t think selling peoples mushroom secrets would be a great move :/

    And about “going for it” i’ll just need to find the time some where 🙂

    The app should bundle the locations with time and type of mushroom so that the app can remind you to come back if you in the area following years

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