The update is a bit late this month. I’m going to blame it on the snow.
So, what happened with The Foundation? That has to be the question you are asking. I mean, there was so much build up, an investor pitch that was more than a year in the making and a watershed moment in local impact investment in the Mohawk Valley. So, how did it go? I would say Ethan and I did pretty good job on the pitch, but apparently Suzanne from Herkimer Industries nailed it. (She did do a great job and we are so thankful for her support at the pitch.) Did we get the $100K we were looking for? No. Did we come away empty handed? No...or yes...or not really.
We didn’t get what we asked for, but we did get a critical piece of support that could really get things moving for us. The board of The Foundation still wasn’t comfortable with making an investment directly in us. And I admit that I get it, from a pure investment standpoint we still don’t have the sales traction we should and my financial projections don’t yet tell the story an investor wants to hear. I hoped our social mission might carry the day and, in a way, it did. So, they won’t invest in us, but they can provide a grant to Herkimer Industries to purchase the materials for our first 100 unit build with them and unleash Suzanne on the NYS building managers who can buy the Phoenix through Herkimer Industries’ NYSID (New York State Industries for the Disabled) preferred sourcing.
For us, this should amount to a 100 unit sale, hopefully in the next month. That’s big. But perhaps even bigger, it has really provided us with some strategic clarity.
All In on NYSID
Since we started Good People, we have struggled with figuring out what market should be our initial focus.
HVAC contractors or energy services?
The result has been a more fragmented approach to pretty much everything. But a customer ready to purchase 100 units provides a clear signal for where we should start.
We want to be the best channel partner Herkimer Industries has ever had and we want to help Suzanne rock all sales expectations for the Phoenix (as well as growing LED sales and any other energy saving products in their portfolio). We know Suzanne already has a NYSID customer list and after our joint sales call with U. Albany, she sees how people who get building energy respond to our upgrade for small fan heating and cooling systems. We have a number of other SUNY schools interested in next steps, which are ready opportunities to bring her in to close the sale.
Having Herkimer Industries up and running with product in hand should also be a game changer for the meetings we are working on with NYS Office of General Services and other state authorities responsible for NY’s estimated 5,000 buildings. It also inspires me to dive deeper into lead generation for state and municipal building managers and decision-makers.
Struggling to Grow the Team
Folks who have watched my TED Talk know that I am pretty big on the importance of people and teamwork to build anything, especially new ventures. It has been my greatest frustration with Good People that it is really still just Ethan and I.
Without funding, we have missed our chance to hire our Syracuse engineer. He’s wandered off to other opportunities. We thought we had a new sales lead. She was an amazing fit and ready to hit the ground running. She’d signed on the dotted line. She had a gdpplnrg.com e-mail address. And then she got an offer from a pharmaceutical company that we just can’t touch. She’s got a family. A steady paycheck and benefits are nice. We get it and we’ll miss her.
Attracting good people to join a team with no money is a really hard sell. Interns, temps, and contractors sound great, but it’s just not real until you can get someone on the payroll and in it for the long haul.
So, we are again back to the co-founders. But with our renewed focus and a strong partnership with Herkimer Industries, I’m confident we can push ahead and get to a place where we can offer money to go with the passion and purpose. We won’t be stuck here forever, but it’s sure a struggle right now.
Good People February 2018
Following up on sales leads and trying to close some stuff
Continued work on new marketing and sales collateral
Attended TEC Tuesday event at Tech Garden and met some other cool clean tech founders
Started work on FuzeHub grant with Herkimer Industries, then decided to wait for next cycle
Met with potential energy services/contractor partners
Pitched The Foundation for $100k investment (see above)
Courted, hired, and then lost our sales lead (also see above)
Renegotiated our patent license with better terms and an option to purchase
Started preliminary talks for redesigning the board for cost-optimized local production
Attended our monthly Clean Tech Center meeting
Good People February 2018 Core Metrics
Transparency & Engagement: 193 Contacts, 70 subscribers, 60 unique visitors to the website, monthly update and one other blog posts
Sales: 0 new sales, ? new leads, ? sales calls
Finance: $0 sales, $1,500 grants, $74 expenses, Net $1,426
Energy Savings: still a placeholder until we figure out how to track and calculate
Community: promoted B Corps on blog
Human Potential: team at 2 (see above), partnerships in development
Now is the time to show what we can do with Herkimer Industries and NYSID. There is still some setup to be done, so I’m not expecting a lot in March. But let’s set the stage for an amazing second quarter.
If you’ve got ideas on how to build the team without having a lot of money to spend, we’d love to hear about them.