In May last year, Happy Cow went into liquidation, which seemed to end Herud’s dream of re-inventing dairying, with ethical farmers supplying milk to local consumers.
The dream has been reborn, however, with Happy Cow having transformed from a milk company into a technology company with support from 779 people making regular donations through the online Patreon patronage service.
“Hopefully we will be on farm in February making sure the technology works, and we hope to do an equity crowd-funding campaign in March,” Herud said.
And he expected those who had supported him would be among those buying shares in the company.
Cantabrian Herud founded Happy Cow Milk Company in 2012 with the aim of creating a more ethical and sustainable dairy model than that of the large dairy companies.
At the centre of its appeal was the idea that there was a growing niche of consumers willing to pay more for their milk, if they were convinced of its local and ethical credentials, including that the cows were well-treated.
But, while Happy Cow’s original business model failed, Herud has been developing milking and pasteurising units that could be placed on existing dairy farms and lifestyle blocks.
The units would allow the creation of a network of smaller ethical farmers to supply pasteurised (but not homogenised) milk to be sold through dispensing machines in places as varied as supermarkets, cafes, and dairies, and maybe one day, even schools.
Buyers would refill their own bottles at the dispensers.
Cutting dairying’s plastic footprint was a big part of the sales appeal of Happy Cow to conscious consumers.
Herud said the technology, which would be remotely monitored and managed by Happy Cow, was in the process of being patented.
“The existing technology doesn’t really suit small-scale operations,” he said.
“The existing equipment is quite expensive, and it requires a lot of maintenance, and labour, to keep it running.”
Herud had followed the principles of Apple in creating the units, with the focus on creating technology that was easy to own, and easy to use.
The Happy Cow technology could be operated by a 16-year-old with some basic online training, he said.
Herud was thankful for the support that’s kept Happy Cow going, and said he had been striving not to repeat the mistakes that led to the liquidation in May.
This included recognising the need to bring in outside advisers and professionals to help him develop the technology, and take it to market.
Founder of the Happy Cow Milk Company, Glen Herud is developing a business model that allows small farmers to process their own milk for local customers.
“We are not trying to repackage the same old broken system,” he said.
“We are building an advisory board, and getting some professional people to make sure I don’t muck this up because you don’t get a third chance.”
He believed technology could find a global niche, as the units could work anywhere in the world.
Happy Cow founder Glen Herud plans to raise money to develop the company.