When we realised there was a market for Strooder, we thought we would only sell 50 Strooders through Kickstarter, and so we planned to hand build them ourselves in the lab.
Strooder was more successful than we expected.
Looking back, it’s hard not to laugh. Our undoing was our success: we raised £20,000 within 11 hours, and went on to raise £64,000 by the end of the campaign. This came to a grand total of 286 Strooders – not something that we could build in a lab. The idea seemed unfeasible, especially with our facilities.
Trying to cope with demand.
So we decided to partner with a manufacturing company that would enable us to build the Strooders at speed, and at a higher quantity. Of course, this had its own problems, as we then had to redevelop the Strooder so that it could be manufactured in bulk. These developments improved Strooder in design and function, and created a product that extruded six times faster than originally planned, this redevelopment understandably cost money.
We have never raised funds for a product before, and this product development phase ended up being far more costly than we predicted. Since then we’ve had supplier issues to deal with too, but the biggest roadblock has been financial.
Throughout the redevelopment process, we were accepting pre-orders through our website, with the intention of being able to fulfil the Kickstarter orders and the pre-orders in one large batch. This required a significant sum of money, and although we tried several methods – grants, loans, and investment – we didn’t get what we needed. 3D printing is still a new concept, and desktop filament manufacture is breaking new ground. Investors weren’t confident to invest in an industry they didn’t know.
Strooders shipping out in December
Throughout it all, we kept building Strooders ourselves and shipping them out, but we had to raise the price so that we could build to order – and yet we still had the problem of raising the money to fulfil the Kickstarter orders. And so we did what any trustworthy start-up did: we contracted some of our time, experience, and skills to other robotics start-ups who needed a helping hand. This has created enough finance to build the next 100 Strooders, which the parts for are arriving in November, to be built up and shipping out by December.
This has been a wild journey for us, discovering the complexities of manufacturing and shipment. We are so grateful to our Kickstarter investors and our supporters who have been patient with us, and we’re gutted that things have taken such a long time to get moving – but they are now moving. We will continue to do everything we can to get Strooders to you and keep you updated with the progress.