March 2018 came and went without the influx of money we were hoping for. We are still here and still optimistic about the path forward, but the pressure is intense and the glacial pace of some of our funding sources and sales leads is challenging. We’ve had to rethink our burn rate and get extremely focused on building our core business engine, which is getting our Herkimer Industries sales channel up and running. On the good side, things are progressing nicely with the Herkimer Industries team and I’m still hopeful that we will pull the trigger on the first build in April.
Herkimer Industries Update
With much less funding than we were shooting for, we’ve had to rethink the scope and objectives of the 100 unit build that The Foundation has offered to fund. We are going to start with boards and commodity components that OGD already has on hand and we can purchase quickly for this round. We are going to pilot NY manufacturers for the covers and stickers. The goal of this project, in addition to producing inventory that Herkimer Industries can sell ASAP, is to start really figuring out the who, what, and how of getting as many components as we can in Upstate NY.
We’ve had a series of meeting and calls to dig into what assembly by the disabled folks at Herkimer ARC will look like and what support we will need from OGD and our other suppliers. We’re working on new brochures and sales strategies. We’ve added UL certification as one of the near-term objectives based on Suzanne’s feedback on her state customers’ value drivers. We have suppliers lined up for the first build and ideas about what we might be able to do in the next round, depending on how much we are building (based on the NYSID sales pipeline we create with Suzanne’s initial push).
We feel like everything is ready to go, and now we are just waiting for The Foundation’s grant process.
The Next Generation
In parallel with building and launching the existing design, we are looking at cost-optimized electronics that would allow us to source more of that locally. We have found a great partner in Z-Axis and Ethan has started working with his dad on a cost-optimized redesign compatible with Z-Axis’s design and manufacturing capabilities. It could still be a long path to develop this second generation, but it’s nice to know there will be options for controlling our costs and still making it here.
While I admit that this sounds like a distraction from our current focus on the Herkimer Industries launch, it was set in motion initially in hopes that it might support the pilot build. It was only through this process that we confirmed that the current design probably won’t scale for NY production. And it has also been important to our mission and purpose to learn that there was an alternate path ahead with a little more engineering. And I’ve previously written about the additional development we want to do to support a product platform and a variety of versions supporting different retrofit applications and interfaces.
In other news, we have received some really positive feedback on the sample unit we sold to SUNY Oneonta and confirmation that the hundreds of units NYS OGS bought from OGD a decade ago were regarded as a success. We are very close on two more sales, so hopefully we will have more to share on those soon. Full disclosure, Ethan did most of the real work in March, since I had a bunch of other stuff going on, including a family vacation to the Bahamas for the kids’ spring break.
Good People March 2018
Following up on sales leads and trying to close some stuff
Continued work on new marketing and sales collateral
Multiple meetings and calls with Herkimer Industries to move the pilot project forward
Follow-up with The Foundation on the grant process and supporting Herkimer Industries’ grant application
Met with Z-Axis regarding cost-optimized redesign work
Worked with OGD and housing supplier on terms for first build
Good People March 2018 Core Metrics
Transparency & Engagement: 196 Contacts, 70 subscribers, 52 unique visitors to the website, monthly update
Sales: 0 new sales, ? new leads, ? sales calls
Finance: $0 sales, $0 grants, $1,337 expenses, Net -$1,337
Energy Savings: still a placeholder until we figure out how to track and calculate
Community: didn’t really do much outside of the work with Herkimer Industries
Human Potential: team at 2 (see above), partnerships in development
Let’s hope we can move the needle in April. We know some more of our direct grant money finally showed up and if The Foundation comes through we should be heading in the right direction.