We've not written anything for a whole month! But we have been far from idle.
First of all, we just sent all of the uECGs to Indiegogo backers (finally!). That brought closure to a large period in our lives and we're really happy that we did it.
A LOT of crowdfunding campaigns do not deliver to backers at all, and we were determined that we don't only deliver, but do it on time. That didn't go exactly as planned (if you've been following us, you know that the Indiegogo platform didn't release funds for two months after the campaign was finished). Still, we were determined to ship them as fast as possible without compromising the quality and really tried to do our best on every step.
This is some of the packages shipping on Ukrposhta:
In the following weeks, we - among usual news - will write separately about the packaging and PCB production, cause there's a lot of details that won't fit in a usual log!
Second, we were actually going to send the devices to backers at the start of January, but we've, ugh, been writing a grant application for two weeks straight - from around January, 8 to 23rd.
Basically, we ran out of money (AGAIN), and as a team we're in one of those situations when freelance projects are kinda hard to start, because there's not much time anymore, and sales of our own devices aren't profitable yet. So around New Year, we stumbled upon a brand new state-sponsored grant program for small tech companies, and it didn't look so bad. In fact, it looked very inspiring and was led by a team of professionals. The grants were seed money only - $25K-$50K instead of throwing around thousands and millions - and you had to show lots of numbers and write a good application for that, so that's how we knew they meant business. In Ukraine, we have a lot of historical baggage and Soviet legacy infrastructure. Now, after long years of stagnation we have a new government which is much more efficient, but before that, the market here was very limited for professionals. For most people, it was mostly freelance/outsource programming, and not many people started tech businesses. So if you wanted a startup, or if you were a small tech company, you had to pitch at one of the startup challenges or hackathons with investors and the startups were all the same - lots of digital and blockchains and big data. Tangible stuff wasn't pitched or valued, and we considered participating and changing it, but we knew it could cost us a lot of hope in humanity and we probably wouldn't go for it anyway: it was all very cheesy, the mentors and investors weren't usually very professional, sometimes rude, and a lot of strings was attached, so we never did any of that. Long story short, for some years, there was generally an atmosphere of despair on the startup scene here, and it was even worse when you're in hardware development. There's almost no manufacturing in Ukraine. Even the hardware community itself is almost non-existent. We aim to change that and have lots of plans, so we ourselves never despaired - but that's the current state of affairs.
Basically, we decided to try and write a good grant application. This took two weeks and we were so exhausted doing it - though we learned a lot in the process and liked the result. Lots of things we just didn't know. We didn't have proper CVs, even, or didn't know how to write about market research and products and how to count financial stuff.
But in the end, we even managed to do a 5-year financial projection that didn't look too crazy. Well, at least to us. Maybe the professionals will have a laugh reading it, but we really tried. After we were done with the application, we had a couple days of rest and returned to packing and preparing the uECGs for shipping.
On January, 28 we finally sent them and now it's time to direct our attention to the future of uECGs that are left, because we promised they'll be in stock. But this was a long one, so we'll write about that in the next log on Monday! :)