Solar Roadways® was the grateful recipient of over $2.2 million dollars after our first Indiegogo Campaign in 2014. We began our campaign on Earth Day with the goal of raising $1 million dollars to help us hire employees, create a manufacturing space and buy needed equipment. Thanks to the help of many, we more than doubled our goal. More about the importance of Indiegogo to our journey here.
The whole experience for us was a whirlwind of working 18 hours most days. Julie spent hours each day posting and responding to comments on Facebook, Twitter and Indiegogo. Scott was interviewed by journalists from all over the world. Both worked late into the night making “thank you” videos on the prototype parking lot for those who donated for that perk. It became a grassroots movement as people gave generously of their time and energy to let others know about the campaign. Journalists wrote articles. Supporters took to social media: sharing our posts, “liking”, commenting, and trying to win over the naysayers. Celebrities learned of our campaign. They wrote blogs, made videos, posted, and tweeted. The first was Julian Lennon, whose one word, “clever”, translated to increased interest and buzz. Many others joined in and helped tremendously.
Our wonderful supporter, Michael Naphan, created the video, Solar Freakin’ Roadways. It which went viral during the campaign, and has now had over 21 million views! We can’t begin to thank Michael for believing in SR enough to donate countless hours of his time to make that video. People generously donated for perks which they used to spread the word even more: bumper stickers on their cars, coffee mugs to take to work, t-shirts proclaiming Solar Freakin’ Roadways! Then friends and strangers would ask them, “What is Solar Roadways?” They would have the excitement of being the first to tell them about it.
During the last week of the campaign, Scott and Julie were invited to the White House, for the first ever White House Maker’s Faire. Later SR was chosen by Indiegogo to speak at their yearly gathering of employees from all locations. It was wonderful to meet the Indiegogo founders and employees who had helped make it all happen for us. They showed us the bell they ring when a campaign reaches a million dollars and said, “We got to ring it twice for you!”
Later, Indiegogo invited us to open an InDemand Campaign – a perpetual campaign for those who have already had a successful Indiegogo campaign, but have ongoing needs. InDemand Campaigns have no particular goal or end point, but give supporters a chance to continue their support and receive perks. We opened this campaign on Valentine’s Day 2015, the same week that Innovation Nation aired an episode featuring Solar Roadways®. We continue to add new perks from time to time and will be adding many more. We are so grateful to those who continue to donate. Because we decided to make some design changes before releasing SR to the market, we were left with no source of income except for our Indiegogo InDemand Campaign and our new contract from the USDOT. The continued donations are appreciated.
We were awarded a new 2-year $750,000 contract from the USDOT in November, 2015. This helps us fund more needed research, but does not help us with our current need for more equipment and more employees. Soon we’ll be selling panels, but we are still in that scary time between R&D and going to market - where most start-ups fail. We so appreciate those who continue to feel the desire to speed our progress toward making the world a safer and greener place.
You can find our current Indiegogo InDemand Campaign here.