Welcome to our ridiculously late April 2018 update. (I hope everyone had a relaxing Memorial Day weekend.) I suppose our theme should be running behind schedule. But as the saying goes, better late than never. We are still truckin’. The big news in April was certainly that Herkimer Industries was officially awarded the grant from The Foundation to purchase materials for building (and selling) 100 Phoenix fan controllers. So, we are finally off to the races with Herkimer Industries and Ethan is working hard with Mike and Suzanne to get the first build off to a great start.
Getting Ready for NYSID Sales
With the added resources from the grant purchase, the next step is really getting ready to sell that batch of units with Herkimer Industries and trying to find a sales model for kick-starting and growing sales. We need our product brochures finished and spec sheets and installation guides that we like. We also need to look at lead generation. Suzanne has existing contacts and actively attends trade shows across the state for state buyers who might be interested in NYSID purchasing. We are interested in developing online channel to support and supplement those efforts.
Suzanne has submitted the NYSID application for the Phoenix fan controllers that are being assembled by Herkimer Industries and we are hopeful that we will be officially on the NYSID list soon.
While we certainly can’t look past the challenges of building our first 100 units with Herkimer Industries and making sure we help them sell them out as quickly as possible, we have started thinking about what comes next.
In April, on my birthday actually, we attended our monthly Clean Tech Center meeting in Syracuse (as well as having a celebratory lunch at Funk n’ Waffles). Several folks from NYSERDA were their, including their new CEO, Alicia Barton, for an interesting discussion about their programs for supporting entrepreneurship. We walked away from that meeting with a better feel for what NYSERDA is working on and some encouragement to consider responding to their Next Generation HVAC PON. So, we submitted a concept paper and hope to hear soon whether they will want the full details. The big picture is a three year plan to both cost-optimize our NY supply chain and develop an Internet-of-Things (IoT) enabled product platform for small fan control. We’ll see whether they find the idea interesting.
I may have previously mentioned our failure to apply for a FuzeHub grant to help fund some design for manufacturability work. We are going to partner with Herkimer Industries to take a shot at the next round of that program to see if we can have money lined up by Fall for starting to scale our production with them.
One of our pilot customers really wants Underwriters Laboratory (UL) certification for the product before he buys more and Suzanne echoed that it would be very nice to have to help state buyers feel more comfortable with the product. So, we are also looking at several paths for getting UL certification as soon as possible for the Phoenix.
And I mentioned the importance of developing sales channels. We are continuing our voice-of-the-customer and pilot sales efforts, but with a focus on finding a niche that is actively looking for a solution like ours. We need a sales template that we can repeat over and over to establish baseline cash flow and sustainability.
Not So Good for a B Corp
And a confession. I missed our deadline for filing our 2017 annual benefit report with the state. I’m going to remedy that as soon as I can and will, of course, post it to the website and share it on the blog. Sorry everybody. It’s not going to be a stellar report, given that our slow start isn’t exactly delivering the impact we are shooting for. But we are still headed in the right direction and believe in the transparency the report represents.
We also pushed back our start on official B Corp certification. While we probably can’t wait until we add employees to start the process, the folks at B Labs did recommend that we wait until we had a bit more sales and supply history before trying to make it official. I’m really hoping that the work with Herkimer Industries over May and June will leave us in a good place for starting the process come summer.
Good People April 2018
Received Ignition Grant money from CenterState CEO and The Tech Garden
Completed pilot sale to Springbrook
Followed up on sales leads
Continued work on new marketing and sales collateral
Multiple meetings and calls with Herkimer Industries to move the pilot project forward
Attended Clean Tech Center meeting with NYSERDA CEO and team
Received official notice of The Foundation grant to Herkimer Industries
Submitted concept paper for NYSERDA PON on Next Generation HVAC
Good People April 2018 Core Metrics
Transparency & Engagement: 198 Contacts, 73 subscribers, 50 unique visitors to the website, monthly update
Sales: 1 new sales, ? new leads, ? sales calls
Finance: $900 sales, $11,825 grants, $10,817 expenses, Net $1,008
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 (+2 with Mike and Suzanne, and even more with the Herkimer Industries team behind them)
Since May is almost over, there should be a new update coming soon.