It looks like I missed quite a bit of discussion, so I'll try to address a few things in this reply.
First, Kickstarter and Crowdfunding. I did quite a bit of research into using a number of crowdfunding models, including the newer equity/stake models and the even newer ICO or Initial Coin Offering via minting a cryptocurrency. Here's what I learned from that research:
Traditional crowdfunding (Kirkstarter, Indegogo) success has very little to do with the product or the business plan, and has everything to do with bringing a large social following to the program BEFORE you even launch on the platform. Thousands of followers, huge social reach. In short, it's a marketing challenge. Though we're growing our social presence daily, with the numbers I see today, I still don't believe it's enough to drive a successful crowd funding effort. Another huge component is video. As this thread alone demonstrates, the power of seeing something for yourself is huge. And right now what we have to show is 4 things: a bench-top pair of "modules" that can interact with each other, and I use quotes here because it's proto-boards, a collection of 18650s and a mess of wires that honestly doesn't look much different than you'd find from any other battery tinkerer online. We also have another collection of boards and hardware emulating our battery to car interface, again, a spiderweb of components. We also have a "LEAF" that we used for testing, that has no car around it. just the electronics, for testing the above with. And finally we have our prototype service, essentially a cluster of virtual servers that we're working on the service portion of the product. Since we're relocating to Charlotte, showing these things off is a challenge, I've left the battery and interface hardware in the hands of one engineer in Seattle, the "car" is in a shipping container waiting for a physical facility here, and the software, is just code at this point. As mentioned above, it's all proof of concept, and currently only tested against a 2011/24kWh "car' if you can call it that.
So yes, if you want to call what we have "vaporware" I can't completely disagree, And when I started this business 4 years ago, I didn't want to even consider showing, let alone asking for a reservation, until not only we had a full vehicle on the road, but several, tested, built, with polish and finish fit for production. But the reality is, there's only one way to pull that off, you already have millions of dollars to spend. Every investor I spoke with 3 years ago said to come back when I have customers. I learned a very important lesson from them, their concern about the technology is surprisingly low. They want to know it's possible, sure, but it takes a much lower priority than two other things: Do I understand the market, and do I have real, paying customers who want what I'm building. "Go get deposits, prove the market is there."
Now I've spent the last 4 years talking to very literally hundreds of people about what we're doing, mostly LEAF owners, many other EV owners, and quite a few who've never driven an EV in their life or even considered one. I've done interviews, I track dozens of market metrics, growth, age, spend, problems, etc. I've got good data, but even with that, without even a single deposit, conversations with investors are a non-starter. Prove it, I kept hearing back. When I had one customer, I asked, not enough, can you get 10? I got 10, ok, some people want it, but that's just a hobby, can you get 100? As mentioned above, scale is extremely hard. Every doubling or order of magnitude changes the challenge, the questions, problems, and costs are all different. So right now, the zeros on the deposit mean much less than the number of people that placed one. But the deposit has to be meaningful. If I asked for $10, I could have 500 by now, but when you get over $100, people have to really consider their choice. And considering the above and the state of where we are in development, asking for the full $1500 is frankly absurd.
Now, I also see in the posts I missed, that there's a question about talent. Do we know the right things to pull this off? I believe we do. Ok, so what do we need? We obviously need to know battery, but also embedded software, distributed applications, managing thousands or millions of devices and their communication, manufacturing, and dozens of other business challenges.
Battery: we have an ME/MBA from Dell who spent 20 years beginning in laptop design in the 90's and progressed through managing their battery supply chain. We have an EE with 5 years building battery systems, including time with a startup focused on fast charging innovation.
Software: we have the previously mentioned EE who has built BMS from the ground up, and we have an amazing talented systems architect who has developed from machine code and FPGA through massively distributed and mobile applications in the cloud and knows blockchain like I've never seen before, including a project that manages GPU power supply for higher mining efficiency.
Manufacturing: We have a semi-retired MS executive that ran their hardware division for 10 years as an advisor, and I studied manufacturing systems and process engineering during my ME studies with 5 years of practical application at Reynolds Metals and Boeing.
Communications: Well this is where I get to brag, I've been involved in cellular/wireless data since 2000 beginning with engineering of CDPD solutions for businesses through engineering and building consumer cellular data from 2.5G/GPRS through EDGE, 3G, 4G and early 5G working from handset/device through core network architecture. I've helped Apple, the Pentagon, UPS, RIM, and hundreds of other businesses deploy wireless data solutions. I've also published 3 papers accurately predicting the explosive growth of both smartphones and mobile applications while they were still early-adopter technologies.
I could go on, but I think that might help to understand our talent pool a bit more. There are of course others, marketing and business folks that we're talking to but haven't hired yet as they come after the funding round. But they're anxious to get on board. For example, while I'm currently acting as CEO, that too will change as my skills are best applied in a CTO role, and we're actively seeking someone for that role with successful startup exits. I'm a very fast learner, but I know my limits and when to step aside.
Finally there was a bit of discussion about the funding piece. Unfortunately I can't address how much we're raising, how we're raising it, the terms we're seeking, who or how many are interested, or if we're aiming for IPO. SEC rules prevent me from discussing anything related to that. However when we complete this round, you'll likely be able to find out on crunchbase, or other similar sites. What I can say is we're engineering our solution to be adaptable to a large variety of applications, LEAF is just the beginning. So outside funding is a very necessary evil to get there.