I remember the day we launched on Kickstarter. 6 months of R&D and 1 month of pre-campaigning and now we were ready. Or were we? I was so nervous as I pressed the launched button, what if nobody likes it?
Then the campaign was live and... nothing happened.
There was a large group of us staring at the Kickstarter web page projected onto the wall. Someone suggested we hit refresh. That refresh button was one of the most exhilarating experiences I have ever had. They liked it! We already had over £1,000. We stayed up all night watching a servo motor hitting the refresh button again and again. We answered questions from people across the world and when dawn came we hit our target of £20,000. Just 11 hours after launch. We did it, we had been successful and could relax through the rest of campaign. We went on to reach £64,369 from 363 backers. 286 of the backers had bought a Strooder, our plastic filament maker. We were happy and celebrated.
After the Strooder Kickstarter
Our troubles almost immediately became apparent after the Strooder Kickstarter. Strooder was built for OmniDynamics originally. We had not appreciated that so many people would 'get' its benefits. As a result, we had logistics prepared for 50 Strooders to be built be ourselves. In the face of having to deliver to so much more people, we decided to have Strooder manufactured outside of OmniDynamics. The Strooder now needed to be designed for manufacture. This took a few months making us already late in delivering on our Kickstarter backers. I felt bad, I felt I had made a personal promise to have Strooder delivered to each and every Kickstarter backer. I still feel bad but am more happy to know that through the redesign we were now going to be providing a much better product.
We chose a UK based manufacturer so we could oversee progress and help them if problems arose. We didn't have space or the resources to manufacture the quantity of Strooders we got from the Strooder Kickstarter campaign. Strooder now looks very different. It has a host of improvements which I could go into on another blog post.
Lack of funding
Now we had a redesigned Strooder. A plastic filament maker ready to be shipped to anyone anywhere. The Kickstarter money had made this possible, it gave us the funding we needed to make Strooder ready to ship. We are so grateful for the support they provided but the money had now dried up. We have to deliver to our earliest supporters but without the funds to have them built we didn't know what to do.
Where are Strooder and OmniDynamics now?
The team at OmniDynamics have been working for over 2 years on this problem. We have tried several things including seeking investment and loans and even trying to attract new sales. With all of our efforts, we have only successfully shipped a small handful of Strooders.
Despite the difficulties we have faced we are still honouring our promise to our backers. We hope to deliver on each of the Kickstarter pledges by raising the money through sales. We believe there are people who need Strooder to empower them to print more often, to print more awesome and to print more sustainably. We have reduced our monthly outgoings considerably and have increased the price of Strooder. This means that if we sell just one Strooder we will be able to deliver it. We have done this by setting up new suppliers who can give us parts for just one Strooder at a time. Our hope is that as we sell more Strooders per month we will raise the money needed to fulfil the Kickstarter backers pledges.
The Strooder was OmniDynamics' first product. From developing this product from concept to ready to ship we have learnt a lot. We thought we were ready when we launched our Kickstarter. This time we have a product that I am proud of and able to deliver.