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  • I am in over my head with my startup and need your fresh perspective and ideas

    updated 9 months, 3 weeks ago 0 Member · 1 Post
  • Christine

    September 13, 2019 at 4:33 pm

    Hello mentors and brainiacs, ​ As my title says, I am in over my head with my current endeavor and would appreciate any input and advise on pushing through the mud I am currently spinning out in. Thank you all in advance should you decide to read through my lengthy sob story. A bit about who and what we are and how we got to where are today. We are a new startup with aerospace engineering background and have provided computational fluid dynamic (CFD) for some big companies mostly in Germany and other western European countries. I myself live in the US and have made some unsuccessful attempts of finding new CFD customers here as our services cost drastically more than we get in Europe. Noticing how our new clients were looking for solutions in the electromobility field (mostly battery and electric motor cooling challenges) we began developing our own PMDC/BLDC motor. We designed a concept family of 9 air-cooled motors ranging from 2kw to 70kw which seemed to show much improved characteristics over the competition especially related to remaining cooler during operation. Naturally the next step was to produce a prototype and work out the steps towards mass production. Easier said than done of course, but we are finally getting close to assembly and testing of our 70kw baby. After exploring some options in China and the USA we quickly realized we do not have the financial backup needed to chose either as our manufacturing location without bringing and investor on and losing equity this early in the game. After some research we decided on a country in the eastern end of the European Union to start our manufacturing facility as taxes, labor cost, facilities open EU borders etc. are all favorable factors for our tight budget. Being in charge of finances and realizing our pockets a simply not deep enough, I had to find a way to generate additional revenue to reinvest in prototyping the rest of the motors, build up our motor testing and manufacturing capability and prepare for mass production, while giving our “idea” some credibility before exploring crowdfunding and later crowdinvesting. Laser cutting was a major production cost and hurdle to jump over during the initial prototype production. Research showed that it is a service in high demand and a possible way for us to bring needed revenue and have the machines for our own production needs. Upon some brainstorming and self education we decided to bite the bullet and purchase a brand new 2000w fiber laser metal cutting machine, 150W CO2 laser for nonmetals and a latest model 6+1 axis CNC press brake which combined allows us to manufacture a variety of products for a wide range of industries. Fast forward 6 months into present day and we now have our website up, renovated facility, top of the line machines with high precision capability and workers ready to perform. In addition all our machines have been branded and are available for purchase as well. Here comes the mud… We are having extremely hard time finding manufacturing customers to sell our CNC services to. We have done SEO, some cold calling, emails, facebook and ads locally with little success. Most people interested are small mom and pop shops, craft enthusiasts, hobbyists etc. We have been approached by what I would call middlemen who seem to be quoting everyone else as well and so far nothing has materialized. Your criticism of what has happened thus far is welcome, but I am hoping for expertise and advice on finding direct customers for our services or buyers of CNC equipment. I have heard of Thomasnet and Makers Row and will explore those further, but from what I can tell they focus on US manufacturers and service providers. I myself have professional experience in freight forwarding and supply chain management as well, so I am confident that we have the ability to deliver top notch quality internationally while offering savings and meeting deadlines. We are brainstorming for ideas for our own low tech products just to utilize the machines, but having mass production customers would be our best case scenario as it will allow us to stay focused on our high tech product goals, which are the electric motors we have developed. Some questions: Can you recommend venues or platforms that we can offer ourselves in Europe? What would be a good strategy to try and approach US manufacturers who outsource? Is there a platform where we can team up with experienced sales professionals in the US and have them secure business while earning commissions? What about one for the EU? What would you do better or more of? What mistakes you thing were made thus far? ​ Good luck to all who are on their own entrepreneurial roller-coaster and a thank you to those who take time to share valuable input and expertise. – by hq overview npeinc – –

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