Back from OC2

Oculus Connect 2 was pretty amazing, great people, great demos, great food and great free drinks. The day before wasn’t the best time to pick up a 48 flu infection, but I struggled through.

Now I’m back in the UK and about to move into a state of the art prototyping facility so if you’re in London be sure to sign up for a future demo.

A spot of crowdfunding anyone?

As some of you know we applied to HAXLR8R in November, had several interviews in December and the first 2015 program started last week in Shenzhen, China. They had over 400 applications and had to whittle this number down to just 15 hardware devices. A lot of competition!

We got some great feedback, they loved the idea, they liked the team and they liked the traction they saw we were getting online. We’re now on over 4400 Twitter followers, which is pretty great for a six month old account, about a dozen people are signing up on our website each day and we haven’t really started any promotions yet. We’re hoping that lot of you guys are potential customers and not just hoping to win a free sim.

Now we know that not only is VR going to be huge in 2015 and the first affordable motion simulator that hits the market will be huge. Perhaps you know this too.

Sadly the guys at HAX were not quite as convinced, but they had a lot of applications and it seems we just missed out. They also had several re-applications that they rejected last summer, which were offered a place this time around, and the message we heard was to “keep working on the project” since they want to see it move forward. We’re still in touch with them.

Getting into the program would have been a huge shortcut and we’ve spent the holidays reassessing what we need to keep going. Some people have urged us to start an Indiegogo campaign and fund the project that way, but we think that would be a little premature.

Instead we’re thinking of heading to China anyway to prototype, recruit some more staff and begin looking at partnering factories. We may reapply to HAXLR8R for the summer program but this is yet to be decided, they give not only $100,000 for a 9% slice of equity, but provide mentoring and support. We’d like think that we can perhaps go it alone but we’re humble enough to know when a helping hand is a good thing.

Instead we’ve decided to try a small campaign with Seedrs, an equity crowdfunding site in the UK. We say ‘try’ because they vet every application, so it’s by no means guaranteed but we think we shouldn’t have a problem. This gives our friends, family and a few interested angel investors a route to show interest in the project, while keeping everything legal and easy to manage.

So we’re planning on trying to raise a small, quick round to take us forward to China and this also lets us show our neighbours at HAXLR8R something amazing if we decide to reapply. Nothing beats a pitch for a hardware device like being able to try it in person.

If our campaign is approved then there will a lot more information about the market and our strategy, plus you can ask private and public questions. You’ll also see a video of the team and be able to check our facebook/linkedin pages etc.

But like anything to do with investing money I urge everyone to do some proper research, and if you don’t understand something, don’t invest. Seedrs is a very transparent platform, and we picked them because they’re more concerned with protecting investors than entrepreneurs. Right now they’re limited to Europe but they’re also about to accept funding from the U.S., hopefully in time for our campaign.

If this sounds like something you’re interested in then head over to Seedrs to see what they’re about. If you sign up with our referral code : G5QBJMC8 you’ll also save 50% on any fees, instead of them going to us. It also lets them know that we have people interested in our project which might push our approval through a little quicker. We’ll be letting you know when the campaign is ready.

Even though you can put in as little at £10 be aware it might be years before you see a return on your money, and while we don’t anticipate any billion dollar acquisitions…. you never know 🙂 If you’re considering putting in a little more than that we’d like to hear from you, so we could plan a little better and hopefully keep the momentum going. Feel free to email us with any questions.

We think we’ve got a great project and we hope you do to. We’re still aiming to launch the Kickstarter this year and your name is still in the hat! Please remember to spread the word and feel free to forward our updates to anyone you think might be interested!

Chasing Laser cutting companies.

I just emailed 16 laser cutting companies in the UK. I really hope I can just find one place who could do the whole job but this might not be possible. The lead time for the quote I received today was 4 weeks, which means I get the uncut plates, send them to the laser place and they might have a similar wait… I’m quite sure if I show up in Hong Kong with cash I could probably hurry a factory along and get them made in 2 weeks for 1/5 the price…

Thankfully there are places that can point the laser in more directions than ‘down’, otherwise I would have a problem :p

State of UK business

Time to reassess the quest for my panels.

I’ve emailed 86 companies in the UK.

After 10 days or so only 35 replied.

4 bounced back as ‘I’m on holiday’.

11 said no, for various reasons after receiving my drawings or because they don’t do that kind of work.

4 quoted me some insane figures.

1 reasonable quote…

 

So either the economy is so great that 50 companies can just ignore customers, their email doesn’t work or something else is going on.

Surely it shouldn’t be this hard to get something made?

I have a better handle on how I can get the panels made now so I think I might send some more emails and then call some likely companies…. they can’t ignore the phone like they can email 🙂

Another UK reply

One went into my spam folder but at least they sent a decent reply

“Unfortunately your requirements are outside of our fabrication capabilities and would have to decline on this occasion.”

They advise me to look for a ‘pressings’ company, which I thought they were…. time to hit the google again!

The decline of British industry

After I uploaded my RFQ (request for quote) to Alibaba I went to bed and woke up to 10 companies in China asking for more information and giving me quotes.

I email 11 British companies and 24 hours later one couldn’t ready my dwg files (the standard file type), and after receiving my pdf say ‘this isn’t a job for us’.
Another replied that ‘Tooling is going to astronomical.’ but quickly followed by ‘Were going to decline to quote, sorry’ after I email them back saying that I realise that.

The other nine companies are presumably so swamped by business the person who checks the email is out hammering panels :p

I haven’t given up on making them locally just yet, but the enthusiasm of the Chinese companies is quite a big contrast to the UK…

Incidentally if you know somewhere that can make the panels please get in touch.