Neal Amrhein is the founder and CEO and Matt Erickson is the CTO of My Goat. My Goat is a subscription mowing service for commercial properties. They use robotic mowers and elegant software tools to make turf care easy, convenient, and affordable.
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CHAD: This is the Giant Robots Smashing Into Other Giant Robots Podcast, where we explore the design, development, and business of great products. I'm your host, Chad Pytel. And with me today is a couple of people from a company with actual robots. It's Neal Amrhein, the founder and CEO, and Matt Erickson, the CTO of My Goat. Gentlemen, thanks for joining me.
So tell me more about this idea that you are robot-agnostic? Are you helping people choose the solution that's right for them? Or do you have go-to vendors?
NEIL: We do. So my philosophy, having spent a number of years in technology selling hardware and even software solutions, is that one thing that my experience has held is that hardware gets better, faster, and cheaper.
And for us to invest in a hardware platform or have customers invest in a hardware platform, I liken it to my early adoption of high-definition televisions where in 2003, I was one of those guys that spent $2,400 on a 42-inch Sony Wega TV. And now you can get a 70-inch with a lot more technology and so forth for about $300 at Costco.
So my feeling about hardware is it gets better, faster, cheaper. It's really the software that makes the difference in terms of how you leverage it. So we engage about 6 to 12 different hardware manufacturers that make autonomous robots from robots that are 27 to 35 pounds up to 1,200 pounds and all different variations in between.
And then, we extract the communication tools so that we can help our users who are formerly the groundskeepers become technology groundskeepers. And they are now interfacing with the concept of autonomous robots that are mowing commercial properties 24/7, which we would actually call maintaining versus mowing.
So we use nighttime, you know, day, night, rain or shine. So that's why we're robot-agnostic and welcome the latest and greatest designers and developers of hardware. We've got some folks that are just totally focused on designing, and developing, and building awesome autonomous robotic mowers with solar panels or great things that are going out there. And we're the software platform that brings it all together.
CHAD: I totally get what you're saying about the progress of hardware and wanting to be in the business of creating value on top of that. How do you make sure that you don't take on the business risk of one of the manufacturers just providing the solution that you're providing?
NEIL: Chad, we don't look at a business risk if there's a manufacturer that's going and selling autonomous robotic mowers. We welcome that, in fact, because that helps us with the adoption process.
The idea of having, you know, Roomba is the de facto vacuum cleaner that goes randomly in your house. But there are half a dozen other hardware devices and opportunities, and they're all selling it. It's really how are you managing that Roomba? Which is also the subscription component of the Netflix part of our business, which is that Roomba may be a shark next year. It may be something else the following year.
For our customers, we select the best hardware for their particular property, whether it's a golf course. They may have an autonomous robot that's manufactured by XYZ for the tee box and another one for the fairway, and another one for the greens. They just pay a monthly subscription for access to the software to manage those particular hardware pieces and optimize that hardware. And that's something that Matt will talk a little bit about.
But we really have taken the approach that robots are just like cars. They'll sit in your garage 20 hours out of the week, but they're actually effectively useful 168 hours a week. So how do we maximize that and utilize the hardware itself? And that's what our software does. And of course, with that, we share that information with our customers and our users to continue to make it more efficient.
CHAD: Thanks, Neil. Matt, what does the software stack actually look like that you're all putting together?
MATT: So we got to talk about the technology so Laravel, PHP, MySQL. We host in DigitalOcean. And we have a WordPress front end, but the back end is all Laravel PHP.
CHAD: And so it's in the cloud for all the customers?
CHAD: And then how do you communicate with the fleet?
MATT: So we connect through APIs. The hardware generally has an API that can give us status updates at various intervals. So we aggregate that information back. And then, we present a web-based solution dashboard that includes different views.
We can get into the different users and how we've tried to meet their needs and drive workflow for them. But at a high level, we've got some graphical dashboards. And we also have some very tactical workflows for the guys. We call them shepherds taking care of our goats on the ground.
CHAD: I know that you said it's autonomous, but how do you communicate with the robots when you need to? Is it radio frequency locally, or is it cell phones?
MATT: So the robots actually come with…they have both GPS and cellular connectivity. So we have pretty good real-time connectivity with the robots. So we can remotely control them. We can park them, or we can send them back to their charging stations, different features like that. You can adjust cutting height, things like that, remotely. We also use just text messaging, SMS for communicating with shepherds. It's kind of real-time feedback.
So yeah, let me dig in a little bit, the autonomous idea of the robot. Yeah, we want them to be autonomous. And we work with our shepherds, groundskeepers so that each of the goats works in a pen, an area defined by that in the ground kind of like an invisible fence dog wire type thing.
But basically, we work with the shepherds, and we have this training certification process. But basically, they can get that pen to an area where really what we shoot for about 72 hours of the robot should be able to operate autonomously within that pen for about three and a half days.
And then shepherds will be instructed to move that robot to another pen for about three and a half days. Usually, one robot is taking care of…it ends up being about two and a half days. And that's kind of the way the software solution is driving that efficiency of people time as well as robot time.
The robots can mow 24/7. They take care of the grass. They maintain it, as Neil mentioned earlier. So it's not throw the robot out once a week kind of thing. You have to change your thinking. A lot of what we deal with when we go to a robot solution over that traditional status quo mowing we really have to help people through that thought process of this is not how it used to be. It works differently. But yep, that's kind of the solution.
CHAD: I feel like I need to ask, even though it's going to be a little bit of a tangent.
CHAD: How did you arrive at the name of My Goat and take the leap on a quirky name like that?
NEIL: Yeah, it's a great question. [laughs] First of all, I think that I first saw one of these robots through a YouTube video about three and a half or four years ago. And you may or may not know this, Chad, but there are about 3 million of these things that have been sold since 1995. So this is not bleeding edge technology in any way, shape, or form.
When I saw it on a YouTube video, it just kind of hit me that wow, these things are out there doing their thing day or night, rain or shine. And interestingly enough, the market, I guess the landscape market, the residential side, was somewhere in the neighborhood of $65 to $80 billion that we were targeting and looking at.
And as far as the goats, I had talked to some early folks who were marketing folks, and we just settled on Goat. And then we put my on the front end of it. And before we knew it, we had My Goat. And as we've evolved from just a cool robot-centric organization that's using software, we've evolved into an organization that's really teaching shepherds how to become interactive with the goats. And it's taken a life of its own. The blades are called teeth.
NEIL: And those are some of our…of course, the goats need to be brushed. They don't get washed, or they don't get sprayed down with water, but they get brushed. And there's the whole the operating system is the heart and all kinds of stuff that's been going on.
CHAD: Well, I feel like with a name like My Goat, if you're not going to commit and carry that branding through to everything, what's the point?
NEIL: Right. Yes, it has taken a life of its own. And it's interesting. I don't know that it's the most catchy name for a software technology company. But it's certainly gotten some folks' attention, and it's helped. Let's put it this way: our marketing team really enjoys everything about what they can do with it.
CHAD: Well, and there's something to having a brand and carrying that through in the naming that causes ideas to resonate with people and makes them special. At the end of the day, you're mowing lawns. And so making it special and communicating that you have something special, I think, is something that people can do regardless of what their product is thinking of ways of doing that.
NEIL: Yeah. And I would add that I think the only pushback we've received on the name is probably from some of our high-end golf course users and prospects who don't want to turn their golf course into a goat track, so to speak.
NEIL: But that's probably the extent of it. But overall, it's been well received without a doubt. And as we're focused on the software component of interacting with autonomous robots, our software development mentality and our vision is that it may be the same thing applied to 500 Roombas inside of a million square feet at a fulfillment center for Under Armour.
And instead of having 50 people cleaning the floors, you may have five people managing 500. And how do they do that effectively and efficiently? So there's really a business-focused component of the vision that I've had for the business. And that's helped me, along with many others, to get us to where we are.
MATT: I'm just going to jump in. You're right; the name sticks and people really adopt to the shepherd mentality. We get a lot of requests for shepherd crooks. [laughs] They all want a shepherd staff.
CHAD: So along those lines, when people are considering working with you, what are some of the questions or concerns that they have about a solution?
NEIL: Sure. So it's disruptive, Chad. I think I could probably start by saying the traditional way of maintaining or mowing commercial properties is that you have a big guy and a big machine, and how fast does it go? How much noise does it make? How many grass clippings get blown all over the place? You get in, and you get out. And then you start over.
So in the state of Tennessee, where we are here, it's about 34 to 36 weeks of mowing a year. In Michigan, it's 17 to 22 weeks, depending on where you are. In South Florida, believe it or not, I know there are only 52 weeks, but they're mowing 56 to 58 times a year. So it's the frequency of going and mowing and blowing, right?
NEIL: We're changing that by saying, why be worried about the weather? Why would you be worried about darkness? Why would you be worried about noise regulations when you can have the grass maintained all the time?
So that mentality of maintaining essentially two football fields a week up to three football fields a week with less than 35 minutes of labor. There is nothing in comparison. There's nothing you can compare with the traditional what we call the status quo to make that happen.
So the labor efficiency and improvement in labor productivity is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the cost savings and the financial payback. So because we are so disruptive, a lot of what we do, and a lot of the time we spend, and one of our core values is being educators.
So back to your question about manufacturers selling their own proprietary hardware; absolutely, the more the merrier. We welcome. To me, the sign of success and progress is not the small city block that has one gas station but has four gas stations on the corner. It just now means there are cars that are driving around. And so, I embrace that level of competition. I believe iron sharpens iron.
And folks who are traditionally in the landscape space who have made trimmers and blowers and chainsaws are now finding a little bit of competition with folks who are now solely focused on making unbelievably efficient autonomous robotic mowers, or cleaners, or robots in general, which is, again, we're not crashing giant robots although that's the name of your podcast. [laughter] We're not trying to crash them or break them. But it is certainly the foundation for where we are.
MATT: Hey, Neil, you've got a good analogy. I think analogies help explain concepts. So you want to run through your airport analogy with the runways and the different airlines?
NEIL: Yeah, I could share that with you. Thanks for reminding me. So my philosophy about…we sell subscriptions that are based upon a geography, Chad.
CHAD: Size of geography, you mean?
NEIL: Yeah, the size of the geography. So it's about a football field, give or take. Based upon some limitations with technology, we put invisible dog fences in the ground, and we charge our users, our subscribers by the particular pen or the number of pens, and then there's a ratio.
So much like in an airport, we're not selling flights; we're selling runways. And those runways are accessible by all kinds of…you may have 30 terminals at the gates, and you may have five different airlines. And each of those airlines has a different brand and name, but they're using multiple hardware components. Those jets are maybe McDonnell Douglas, or maybe they're a Boeing or whatever it may be. All of that is fine by us.
What we do is we have the software that runs the gates, the terminals. So you have Southwest in terminal two and Delta in terminal 32. And they're using our software to figure out how to get the baggage on the planes and get those planes off the ground so they can make money for their businesses. So we look at it that way.
And that's kind of where our IP rests is in that spot in that place. And, again, there'll be other airlines, whether it's Allegiant or whomever buying more Boeing planes. But ultimately, they'll all need a runway, and the software that manages the process and the workflow is what we're focused on.
CHAD: So, is the total cost of ownership of autonomous solution typically lower than what they are doing today?
NEIL: It is, specifically, the labor improvement is generally about 3x in terms of improving the efficiency of the labor. So if you talk about an average groundskeeper who may be responsible for mowing, if it's a perfect day outside mowing nine acres a day and they are out there five days a week, they may have efficiencies of maybe up to 40 or 45 acres a week. With our solution, that is increased to about 135 to 145 acres a week where they can maintain about 70 mowers, 70 autonomous robotic mowers, or 70 goats as we call them. They'll herd 70 goats with the same full-time employee. So that's one aspect.
With that, the immediate reaction is, well, you're eliminating jobs. We're actually redeploying jobs. I'm a builder. I'm a job creator. I've had 4,800 folks work for me in my home care business over the last 12 years. And so, I'm a big believer in improving and deploying folks in areas that we don't have robots.
So, for example, there's no robot right now that's pruning trees or making up a sand trap, robots that are planting flowers or putting mulch in a flower bed. So those kinds of jobs are still out there. We're just making the traditional idea of throwing somebody on a mower in the middle of a cemetery or golf course or open space and having them manage that through our software platform sitting in their F150 pushing start and stop or pause and doing other things.
CHAD: Instead of riding on the mower.
NEIL: You got it.
MATT: A lot of our potential customers come to us because (we kind of touched on that) there's a labor shortage. It's hard for folks to find people that want to ride zero-turns. So to Neil's point, we're not about deploying robots, kind of one for one replacing jobs. It's basically we're taking the labor force that we can get, that we have, and we're retraining them to be more efficient through these robots. Pretty age-old story when you're talking about industrialization.
But the idea is we haven't displaced workers. They're not hiring fewer people. They're taking everybody they can get. And they're doing all of that value add. The groundskeepers now have time to go out and do the mulching and the landscaping, trimming, improving the property.
A lot of these groundskeepers have a lot of pride in their property. And they would rather be doing the items that to them are a value add and beautification projects rather than just riding a Back 40 or a zero-turn. We had one shepherd say, hey, it's really helped his back. Riding a lawnmower is kind of rough. And walking around every now and then helping out a robot is a whole lot easier of a physical life for you.
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CHAD: So I saw on the website because of the kind of solution and the scale that it's at, it seems like you have a few different key customer bases. You want to talk about that and whether you knew that going in, or did you find them along the way?
NEIL: Yeah, that's a great question. So we came out of the gate initially with early investors. We were focused on what we considered was the low-hanging fruit in the residential space. So we had designed and developed the operational and financial template to actually have shepherds who were employees of My Goat. And we would have the Goats sold in a subscription model to residential customers. And then we'd have the goat stay on a property and then get moved, et cetera.
But we learned very quickly that business to consumer and residential customers it's not that impossible; it just was not as low-hanging fruit as we had thought initially because folks leave rakes in the yard. And anytime a goat comes upon a rake, it's going to get trapped, and therefore it needs to be rescued. And you have to send a shepherd out, et cetera. Or somebody decides to put a new vegetable garden, and they break the wire that's in the ground. They're just a bunch of…, or there's a dog chasing the robot or a little kid out there, or somebody stops it. So those required a lot of…it didn't make the robot autonomous.
So we pivoted in late 2019, early 2020 into the commercial space. We expired all of our subscriptions to residential customers and went completely into the commercial space. And we had had some success with some golf courses and some cemeteries. And we've gained a lot more momentum now with cities and counties, regional airports. But large open areas that are a minimum of five acres, typically we would run a pilot or a preview with at least 12 to 14 acres.
But the biggest restriction, of course, when you get into those large open areas is electricity because they've been traditionally maintained or mowed by gas-powered machines. So back to your other question about where the savings is and the payback period, and how we have an immediate impact. There's an operational savings that is pretty quick in terms of the return because we flatten out a lot of the ups and downs that a traditional landscaper has.
So let's take a golf course, for example. The average golf course spends about $80,000 per hole per year and depending on the course, 45% to 60% of that is spent on mowing, mowing machines, and people involved. And we're able to take that, and they're hiring temporary people in March here in the south, and they have them here until October. So they're having to go through that cycle every single year.
So if they can flatten that operational expense out by redesigning the golf course and having…and maybe it's not 100%. Much like a Roomba, you still have to get the corners and the edges, maybe with a broom if it doesn't get into every nook and cranny. So it's not a 100% solution. It's not for every application.
But as we moved into the commercial space, we found a greater payback period not only on the cost of the gasoline is...you know, take a zero-turn mower. And again, I say that's probably our greatest competitor is institutionalized thinking to say, this year we're going to buy a big green, big red, or big orange machine for $16,000 or $18,000, Kubota, Toro, or John Deere. And we're going to do the same thing we did last year. We're going to find a guy who can operate it. We're going to put gas in it, and we're going to run it around.
Well, you put hours in those things, and they're very costly to maintain if you hit a root. So you've got to make sure that you can't run a 1,800-pound mower when it's been raining for three days. So what do you do with a fairway when it's soggy or any other commercial area that could be…or a hill that could be dangerous. So we've found a lot of application and then, of course, the environmental part of it, Chad.
So the average zero-turn emits the equivalent of a carbon footprint every hour it's running about 300 miles of a Toyota Camry running. So they haven't become more efficient. And then you've got noise regulations and so forth in a lot of communities.
And even in California, they're moving in the direction of I think it's 2024 where gas-powered and oil-powered landscaping blowers and tremors, et cetera, are not going to be allowed, or you'll be fined for using them. So that's the third component of where My Goat has seen some opportunities in the commercial space.
CHAD: You mentioned that they can run at night. So they must be quiet. They must be.
NEIL: Yes, they are. And it's not the traditional…you're not making as much of a mess. Some of our cemetery customers have mentioned that the fact that their trimming has been reduced by up to 50% because they're going up and over markers because they only weigh 27 pounds. They're mostly plastic and rubber. They're not doing any damage to vases. So they're having a cost reduction in that regard but also with the uprights.
Folks have their family members in a particular private estate area where they may have an upright, and if you have a zero-turn mower out there throwing and splashing grass clippings, you're likely having to go out there again with more labor and take a blower and clean up the mess that the mower made. So these little small operational components along with the experience.
Again, back to the cemetery, you're asking about why we're there. We know that industry very well. And we know that the experience that loved ones want to have when they're out there celebrating life and grieving across a 40 or 50-acre property. They don't want to hear a zero-turn.
So you're turning those things off three or four times a day for those services, and you're having that individual parked a quarter-mile away. No longer is that an operational challenge or a concern because all of these robots are being controlled, start, stopped, and programmed through our software.
CHAD: That's really cool. So you mentioned investors and the early pivot away from residential to commercial. What does your funding story look like? And what phase did you get to when you took on investment? And let's start there. How did you find your initial investors? And what phase were you at when you did that?
NEIL: Yeah, that's a great question. So we went through the traditional friends and family and moved into an angel round, but really I started my first company…bootstrapped it. And so, I wasn't really proficient in raising money in the traditional sense. I had an idea, put a business plan together.
And I talked to a couple of folks and just told the story. To be honest with you, Chad, I wasn't really asking for money. I was more or less asking for advice. And then a number of folks were like, "Are you taking money? I'd like to take an equity position." And so, we structured the business and the shares on a pre-revenue valuation. And then, within 14 months, we were able to double that valuation.
And we're now opening a new round here and a Series A with a valuation that's nearly five times our initial valuation. So we're making a lot of progress because we have, again, it's an annual recurring revenue stream. It's a subscription model.
And what we did with our investors in the early rounds is many of them came on, and they just wanted to be silent. They were not interested in having an opinion. They wanted me and my team to run it. So that's been very helpful. So that's where we are in 2022. We'll be opening and closing a Series A. And I certainly can get more specific with others about that if your listeners or audience are interested.
CHAD: So when you think about a Series A, what will you be using that for? What are your next scaling goals?
NEIL: My commitment to my investors in the previous two rounds has been to sales and technology, so sales, business development, and technology enhancement to the software, so hiring more developers, scaling that team. Matt's leading the vision, and we've got a number of other folks who are involved in the user experience. But again, because we're a software company, it starts with a demonstration that's usually 15 or 20 minutes that can be scheduled through our website at mygoat.co. And it goes from there.
On the sales side and business development is telling the story. In those verticals, we're interested in building out potentially even reseller markets with other industries that are aligned with us. We've had some very high-level conversations with folks that sell electricity for a living. The Tennessee Valley Authority we became an early preferred partner with them and because they have carbon credit that they can offer and sell to their customers, their local power companies. And they're in the business of selling power. And we're in the business of providing subscriptions that require power.
CHAD: What are some barriers to continuing to scale? Do you have geographic barriers?
NEIL: I have self-imposed geographic barriers, [laughter]
So it's a Neil Amrhein barrier. But overall, our barriers, our challenges really are; I’ve never heard of these things before. Do they actually mow? So we get through those conversations fairly quickly. But depending on who we're talking to, it also becomes a fear. People fear change and especially things that are disruptive.
So our barriers, once we get through the fear, is we don't have any electricity here on this golf course, or this city park, or this regional airport that there is unlimited electricity. So we can pull whatever electricity is necessary there. So it is really the barriers of education, just like anything that's truly disruptive in an industry that's been doing the same thing for 45 or 50 years.
CHAD: So you already talked about how you view potential competition from manufacturers, but how do you view competition in general? Is there other competition out there?
NEIL: The biggest competition we have is institutionalized thinking, which is doing the same thing we did last year. So that's a battle that we have every day. I like competition because I think it makes the end product, and the customer is the one who benefits the most from having lots of people in the market no matter what their angle is.
We like our position because, again, we're not the hardware manufacturer. We're able to work with others. We're the financial advisor that gets to work with the insurance guy and everybody else, where all your money is with your college buddy who's managing it, et cetera. We're agnostic. We're putting it all together. So it benefits everybody.
And those who make and manufacture these robots get the benefit as well because it's part of the subscription process as far as that's concerned. But the more, the merrier. A lot of people come to me and say, "Well, I saw an autonomous robotic mower out on this lawn or in the neighborhood here." And that's good for us.
CHAD: Matt, I assume that being robot-agnostic means that you need to integrate with the different systems. Does that have challenges?
MATT: You know, not really. Robots are, as far as the autonomous robotic lawn mowers, they're pretty much telling us the same thing. There are status updates; there are battery updates; there are GPS coordinates. It does tend to be a pretty common data set that we're seeing. So it's been a lot easier than I thought. When you think about…data integrations are always the top challenge you have. It's worked out a lot better than we thought initially.
CHAD: Well, that's great. Has there been anything surprising the other way which was something you thought was going to be easy turned out to be a lot harder?
MATT: Yeah. We've had a manufacturer that actually had a tiered concept in their data availability. They weren't giving us all of the data that they had. They were saving it because they were running their own kind of hey, you can use home automation techniques to integrate with your residential autonomous robotic lawnmower. Hey, if it's raining at your house, we could park your robot. So they were kind of hiding some of the API from us. We were able to work through that.
But I think that goes to one of your questions about concern around competition from the manufacturers. They're really not looking at this from that niche that we're hitting, that commercial perspective.
Maintaining one Roomba in your house is the analogy I use. You kind of know where he gets stuck, and you go find him. And that's okay. You don't need a lot of software for that. But that analogy Neil mentioned, if you have 500 of these guys running around a warehouse, or for us, we have property with 50 robots on. How do you know which one right now --
CHAD: And the space that that takes up.
MATT: Right. Right.
CHAD: You can't see them all necessarily even.
MATT: [laughs] Exactly. You can't. You can't just walk around and see everyone and visually check. You need that software to be efficient to know; oh, there are three things I need to do today with the robots. Let me plan that out, and let me take care of it.
So I think, like Neil said, the manufacturers out there they're making lawn equipment. They're making lots of different hardware. And to them, fleet management is really where is my hardware right now? [laughs] That's the extent of it. And they can't think about a property that needs maybe two or three different manufacturers of hardware because properties are not one homogeneous set of type of grass. There are always different needs, different features on that property. So there's always that idea that we're going to need a couple of different manufacturers, maybe.
So, yeah, it's really interesting. For me, I think it's we're really hitting a home run in an area that there really aren't any other competitors exactly in our niche. And if there are, I think the industry for us what we do is at a place where we need more adoption out there in the world. [crosstalk 34:03]
CHAD: Do you ever hear from early adopters? People who say they've either already bought autonomous mowers and they're struggling to manage them, or they really want to, and they're coming to you to do it?
NEIL: That's a great point. I have a couple of thoughts here because you guys are going in a lot of different directions here.
NEIL: Chad, the short answer is when people buy anything early on, they're going to have the proverbial challenges of who supports it when it breaks? Who do I call? What happens next? It just goes on and on and on, whether it's a hardware platform, and that's mostly the case, or it's something else. It's what does that support look like?
So the early adopters when we talk about their experiences, and this is one of the things I would say is probably our biggest challenge is that we have created a learning management software platform, a video library of how do you work with robots? We know that they're going to get trapped.
There is no doubt that a 27-pound autonomous goat if there is a lightning strike like there was here in Nashville last night, they're going to be tree limbs that are down. And there'll be goats that are trapped. And it's going to take a human being, a shepherd, to be notified via SMS alert to proactively go to that spot on that property across 50 or 100 acres and rescue that goat. And it's just a matter of these kinds of things happen environmentally.
So we talk about, when we talk to customers, about their utilization of the goat. And we talk about optimizing their property. It's not really that the goat doesn't graze or the robot doesn't work. It's what are the restrictions and the environmental challenges that are in front of it? If there are erosion issues around a marker or in a large open field, and if it's a really well-groomed practice field or intramural field, it's likely going to be aerated. It's going to be very flat, et cetera. But most commercial properties are not that way.
So the goats actually have a tendency to go out, and they're going to find all those environmental challenges. And it requires a human being to go out there and fix them. Because if the environmental challenge is that there's a hole and on a horse farm, it's going to be there until somebody throws some dirt in it. It's just the reality. And that goat is going to find that environmental challenge every single time. So there is a learning curve that goes with it. There's a level of patience.
And I think you mentioned what's our challenge? Our challenge is letting folks know that it's an evolution, not a revolution, as far as what your property is going to look like. I spent a number of years at the Ritz Carlton Hotel Company, and we talk about property health as is it a two-star property, a three-star property, four-star property, five-star property?
We recognize that a lot of commercial properties are going to just be a two-star. But potentially, they could be a three-star property. Or if it's a cemetery and you've got a goat that's maybe found environmental challenges on a cemetery, it also becomes a liability or risk for family members who go visit their loved ones.
So now we're using the robot proactively to improve the status of the property as opposed to saying, well, it just gets trapped every time it finds a hole or every time there's a situation that goes on. So it does require an active level of engagement and maintenance. And the philosophy has to be changed so that groundskeepers are now checking their phones or being alerted at 7:15 in the morning. And they may go rescue Billy, the goat, because a lot of folks name their robots. [laughter]
They're going out there, and they're in pen 34,27, 31. And then at lunchtime, they may have another two or three of the same goats that were trapped, need to be rescued, and then again at 4:00 o'clock in the afternoon. So it's a maintenance mentality as opposed to a mow and go mentality. So that is philosophically a big change in terms of their mindset.
CHAD: So what's next for My Goat then? You mentioned the Series A. Is there anything in particular on your radar that you're either worried about or are looking forward to?
NEIL: Looking forward to more folks like your audience and listeners hearing our story. I'm in the business of telling our story. And I welcome, again, the competition because that means there's validation for what's going on. I don't think we're going to stuff this genie back in the bottle, so to speak.
It's going to be hard for me to believe that five, six years from now, folks are going to be out there firing up a push mower that they just bought at Lowe's when they can buy something at Lowe's that's $250 for a residential robot that they get to use.
Same thing on the commercial space. I don't know what it ultimately looks like from a vision perspective. But I think our challenge is continuing the messaging, the adoption, enhancing the payback period. It is really just like any good technology, artificial intelligence, robotics, et cetera. I mean, that combination.
I hold the position, Chad, that I don't really think any technology is being developed or new per se since the invention of the internet. It's the application of the technology. It's what are people doing that they weren't doing before?
We have the communication tools with 5G or what have you that we didn't have five or six years ago that we can now ping our goats every 15 minutes and find out what their status is. And then we can report that back to the user and say, "Hey, your optimization or utilization on your hardware and your subscription is X, Y, and Z. And your return on investment is six months to 16 months." That's where I think it elevates the conversation of efficiency and changes the game.
So our next steps are continuing to get the message out, embrace not only users but industries we haven't thought about. I mentioned horse farms that just came on my radar screen not too long ago. We've had some success with cities and counties. You can imagine…everything one of our core values is green is good, and time is a number.
So you just drive down the interstate, and you can see so much green everywhere as far as opportunities ahead. And there's plenty of room for lots of people to play in this space. We welcome more and more of probably the designers and developers that you got on this podcast to come up with the latest and greatest hardware and make those APIs available for Matt and his team to integrate and continue to grow.
CHAD: That's great. If folks want to reach out to you to either learn more or see if you can work together, where are the best places for them to do that?
NEIL: Sure. Let me first direct them to www.mygoat.co. And there are a series of areas there where it's either click on a demo now or information. Our phone number is listed there as well.
I'll also give you my email address, which is Neil, N-E-I-L firstname.lastname@example.org, so email@example.com. And Matt's is just firstname.lastname@example.org as well. And those are probably the fastest way to connect with us. And if they put in a quick subject line your name and your podcast, it'll bubble everybody to the top a little faster.
CHAD: Wonderful. Thank you both for joining me. I really appreciate it.
MATT: Absolutely. Thank you, Chad.
NEIL: Thank you for having us.
CHAD: And I wish you all the best.
You can subscribe to the show and find notes for this episode at giantrobots.fm. If you have questions or comments, email us at email@example.com. You can find me on Twitter @cpytel.
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