Team Meeting (March 2019)
Almost as soon as I arrived back to India mid March we held our first (of many) annual team meetings with the core team in attendance in Baddi. It was a great opportunity to recap on the year past, and to plan for the year ahead.
The essence of the 3-day meeting is that we have a great team in terms of customer reach, communication and problem solving in the field, but we are now ready to bring in some admin and management professionals to help us grow and organise our systems. We mapped out a clear plan for the year ahead, and (I have to be honest) its looking both massive, and achievable!
And The Winner Is…
Abhishek and I were in Bangalore last week to compete at an event hosted by ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) called IShow, featuring hardware solutions for social impact issues.
We picked up one of the top prizes (3 winners out of 160 applicants and 8 finalists) with a grant of $10,000 USD, 15 hours of design support, a trip to New York City in October for additional design support and exposure… and lots of exposure to the various sponsors and funders at the event.
Apart from the obvious rewards above, the most gratifying aspect is the recognition that what we are doing is having an impact and deserves to be scaled. They are very proactive in that sense, so we are looking forward to a booming year ahead.
Scale Them Mountains…
Speaking of scaling, the final figures for the last season are in (conveniently the end of Indian financial year coincides with the end of the Himalayan season – March 31) and we have achieved our goal of a 3x growth in revenue from first to second season.
This is important for 2 reasons. It demonstrates both the viability of our business model, and the fact that the market wants what we’re selling. In fact, we often faced the issue of not enough stock on hand to meet the demand over the winter, and the challenge this coming year is to produce more than enough stock before the season commences.
As part of our process to scale up, we have needed to find new and better factories that can make the volume and also improve on quality. As luck would have it (we seem to be on a roll) we just found that factory within 30 mins of our current operation. Now I feel especially confident of being able to deliver a 3-5x growth in sales with a better quality product. This also means we can start responding to the various international requests we have been getting.
Rocket Man Designs
As part of preparing to grow the company to international markets, I have registered an Australian company that will allow me to do several things.
Initially, it facilitates payments between India and Australia in both directions, as company to company payments are far easier than other options with regards to India.
Secondly, it will allow me to apply for Social Impact funding from Australia. There are various organisations in Australia that will only accept applications from an Australian entity.
Thirdly, it will become the owner of the IP (intellectual property) that I am continuing to develop around clean efficient combustion processes. There are so many applications for this technology, particularly in terms of solving pressing issues in various parts of the developing world, that having an Australian entity own and license these ideas is much easier than doing so from India.
Finally, it will be much easier to commute to work from my Byron Bay home than flying to India several times a year (slightly better carbon footprint riding an eBike to work than jetting all over the place).
Rocket Man Designs is also looking for funders… but that’s a different story. Contact me if you want to know more about that.
The most likely scenario now is that one of the potential funders we met at the event will contact us with a proposal. Having said that, we are determined to maximise our ability to move forward quickly and are ready to talk to anyone who is serious about getting involved with a high impact social venture that has incredible potential to scale.
We crunched the numbers, and we are confident of achieving our goals over the next 12 months with only $200,000 capital / line of credit / loan / investment… as long as we can access that by end of May this year.
If you are interested to know more, please get in touch with me as per the email below.
Director – Himalayan Rocket Stove