A huge thank you to everyone who submitted questions to our Business Update webinar ! All of the questions were insightful, intriguing, and engaging and we truly enjoyed going through them. We're sad only in that we were not able to answer all the questions during the session!
As promised during the session, we did want to get to each and every question so have attached a write up of all questions, segmented by topic, and included two videos.
One video is of the webinar itself and the second is a post recording of all the questions we did not get to live.
Thanks again to everyone for the questions, have a wonderful weekend!
Live Session link:
Post session link:
Solgaard Webinar October 30th 2020 2:30 EST
Thank you to everyone who joined and submitted questions! We loved hearing from you all and are sad only in that we could not answer them all live (learning for us to schedule more time!).
We truly appreciate every question so have copied them all here to ensure you get an answer.
All questions submitted are below and categorized by topic.
Reminder- any forward looking projection is just that, a projection, and could change. Please refer to our Forward Looking Legend at the end of the page.
SS: What is your long term vision for your company?
ZS: What are the goals for Solgaard in the future?
MS: What kind of company would you like Solgaard to be in five years?
YO: What’s the future of Solgaard look like?
Ultimately, we believe in creating exceptional everyday essentials made sustainably. Every product has a dual mandate of making the consumers life better and helping the planet. While we are currently in the travel and personal tech categories, we are not limiting ourselves to only these two. We’re going to make a product that fits the global consumer, someone who is living and working on the go, whatever that person needs, we’ll make.
RG: What are your future fundraising goals/plans?
Currently the only plan is finishing out this investment round. Our goal is to be self sustaining without restricting growth.
NS: What are revenue projections for the next fiscal year:
We are projecting 2 – 3x growth over TY. This is consistent with growth rates we’ve had over the last two years and is consistent with the growth in the business we’ve seen over the last quarter and a half. Fueling part of this growth will be new product launches incorporated into the assortment.
RH: What are the sales expectations for the Holiday season and how many distributors have you signed?
We are anticipating 2 -3x growth over LY in Q4. This growth is based on what we’ve seen so far in the quarter. We signed Best Buy in September and are a few weeks away from announcing another major retailer. Stay tuned!
AR: What is the highest ROI spend you’ve seen? Ie when you finish this raise what is the top thing you’ll invest in as ROI for growth ?
Adrian started the first kickstarter campaign with $600 bucks and generated over $600K so that’s probably the largest single ROI item we’ve had! In all seriousness, project launches tend to have a very strong ROI. We raised over $600k for the homebase but spent only around 20k in the development (and that 600K was for pre-sell, so the return is even higher once the item becomes part of the normal product assortment). Lastly we tend to see a 3x to 4x return on marketing spend with a few campaigns that hit 8x – 10x. With this, we’re looking to spend the majority of the raise on bringing a few items currently in development over the finish line, marketing, and inventory.
JM: Do you see any licensing partnerships for you ocean waste to plastic product patents?
Yes! While there is no current licensing arrangement in place, this is absolutely an avenue we are exploring.
DS: What effect is the pandemic having on your business plans?
While we were impacted in Q2, with the travel shutdown, we used the time to focus on bringing to light a few new products - The homebase actually came out of us being stuck at home and needing a solution for making the home space better. Now that the world is opening up and we're seeing basically pre-covid levels of activity, we're able to begin launching some of the products we were given the time to focus on.
JS: I assume your team is working remotely. How are you keeping your team motivated, active, and together?
Since we started out as a remote company, the transition to remote during quarantine wasn’t too difficult. We had twice daily calls with the entire team in the morning and at the end of the day to catch up, see how everyone was feeling, and talk about everything that was going on in the world. Because “normal” operations weren’t happening we were given the chance to focus on launching new products that had been on the back burner (ie launching the HomeBase) which ended up being a really engaging and interesting thing for people to focus on which certainly helped.
FC: Do you have a strategy to keep growing if the travel bans were to be extended?
We have a number of new product launches happening end of 2020 and early 2021 that are not travel related. Some are additional pieces/functionality to existing product lines and one, which we are most excited about, is expansion into an entirely new category around March of 2021. By diversifying our product portfolio, we’re able to insulate the business from the variability in the travel industry. The launch of the HomeBase was a perfect example of this!
J-EJ: Solgaard started in luggage and is now in tech products. Do you see other product categories where Solgaard could expand?
JW: Any new innovations coming with luggage products?
SP: Would love to hear about any future products in development
DH: Which future product line are you most excited about?
KL: New Innovations?
Ultimately, we believe in creating exceptional everyday essentials made sustainably. Every product had a dual mandate of making the consumers life better and helping the planet. While we are currently in the travel and personal tech categories, we are not limiting ourselves to only these two. We’re going to make a product that fits the global consumer, someone who is living and working on the go, whatever that person needs, we’ll make.
The product launches we have slated for the end of 2020 are deeper into existing categories (backpacks and watches with some new functionality) BUT what we are launching in (most likely) March of 2021 is a completely new category which we’ve been working on for a few years now and are VERY excited!
KG: Is there anything proprietary about the technology of converting the recycled plastic?
While we do have patents and trademarks on several of our products (including a FastCompany world changing ideas award this year (2020) for our development of our ShoreTex material, a fabric made from ocean bound plastic), the actual process of recycling plastic and converting it to other useful items is not proprietary, there are organizations all over the globe that have figured out the technology to do this. Additionally, we wouldn’t want something that like to be proprietary, to truly solve the plastic pollution problem we want everyone to know how to do it! We were actually invited to join Next Wave Plastics, a consortium of brands including HP, Ikea, Trex, Herman Miller and others, that are working together to increase the use of recycled plastics in their supply chain. The more we share and learn from each other on the technology that is available the better off we’ll all be.
CG: Are new colors coming for the suitcases? Purple, pink…?
We get asked all the time for additional colors, purple seems to be a common one. We launched the Grenada Green this year and its done very well so far so we're always thinking about what could be the next option. We have samples for purple, yellow, orange, and white (I’d love to make a white with black trim and have it look like a storm trooper and Sarah really wants an 80’s style day-glo pink) so YES additional colors are coming, we’re just working to nail down the right one to launch next!
CY: How do you come up with all these creative ideas to make your products different from other products with the same function?
Frustration! I call myself a grump old man who fixes squeaky wheels. A lot of the ideas have come from our own personal frustrations. My girlfriends backpack got stolen so came up with the lock, I always scrambled to pack and had a messy suitcase, and being at home during lockdown I needed a dedicated place to put my phone for separation but also figured it could be a nice music amplifier.
MS: Is there both a carry on and check in?
Yes! We have a check in and two sizes of the carry on (20 inch and 22 inch which fits most American airlines overhead bins). Additionally, within both the check in and carryon we have a zipper expandable option and latch close option.
RH: Is it metal?
The suitcase has a polycarbonate shell and aluminum frame/handle.
TF: What are the raw materials used in manufacturing one suitcase and the time involved?
The suitcase has a polycarbonate shell, aluminum frame/handle, and ShoreTex (fabric from recycled plastic) liner and closet system. Depending on quantity orders and time of year (ie scheduling around Chinese New Year for example), from production start to arrival in port is between 60 and 90 days.
Homebase/Juicepack specific questions
PW: When will the new product be in customers hands?
Currently aiming for January/February 2021!
AL: How is production going?
Great! Final tooling and testing has completed. A few weeks ago we received 20 thousand pounds of recycled plastic that will be used in the molds of the homebase and speakers so are excited that things are gearing up!
AB: Is it easy to move your wireless wall hung charger from place to place?
Yes! The original mounting plan was two screw hooks in the back but we’ve since changed to a French cleat method (basically you mount and slide on which is easier than lining up the screw holes!). When you remove all that is needed would be a small amount of spackle (as if you hung a picture).
FE: How loud if the boombox compared to the juice pack and is it possible to add both of them to the homebase for surround sound?
The juicepack is our wireless charging power bank while the boombox is a powerbank AND speaker. You cannot pair the juicepack with the boombox but you CAN pair two boomboxes together.
EW: Is the Samsung Note 20 supported?
Yes! The standard for wireless charging, Qi charging, has been standardized across the industry and this is the technology used in our wireless charging devices.
IO: Is there proof that Solgaard helps with Climate Change?
Our focus is healthy oceans. As oceans act as one of the largest sinks for carbon dioxide, a clean ocean keeps that ecosystem flourishing. We’ve partnered with The Plastic Bank in the Philippines to create jobs for the community to clean plastic from the riverways and beached. Additionally, a new partnership with Prevent Ocean Plastic will have QR codes shipping with product you can scan and see exactly which beach/river the plastic collected came from.
KB: What is the role you will play in the anti-racism movement?
Diversity and inclusion are of fundamental importance. Outside of having a formal anti-discrimination policy, we actively seek and maintain a diverse team. We have an equal gender split and have 8 passports and 9 spoken languages represented. We truly believe the coming together of different perspectives makes for stronger outcomes. Additionally we believe civic engagement is important so every team member is given a full paid day off to vote.
PS: I would have liked to have invested, but why the short notice period?
The campaign is still live! You can still invest at startengine.com/Solgaard.
The first week of the campaign we did have bonus perks available for those who invested early but the chance to invest is still there !
BG: I invested and have received no verification or documentation of my shares.
First, Thank you for investing! Were excited to have you on board. We are not given any investor details until funds are cleared so unfortunately we don't have the ability to look into your account BUT i would reach out to StartEngine investor support and they should be able to assist: firstname.lastname@example.org
SE: I don’t understand StartEngine investing. I thought I was buying shares of some sort but the disclaimer says I’m not.
Yes you are buying shares! I think the disclaimer is in reference to the shares not being issued until either the campaign has closed or had a partial close and funds are moved out of Escrow to Solgaard. For any questions please reach out directly to email@example.com.
RH: Two questions, who’s the retail partner and what per unit cost has you negotiated with them? Simply, why are you raising money?
We can’t share the new retail partner just yet, give us a couple weeks on that one! While we do not disclose individual partner agreements, we can say that all costs negotiated with our retail partners and distributors are margin positive for us. In terms of the raise, we are going to use the funds for bringing some things over the finish line in terms of product development, advertising and consumer insights, and inventory.
HM: Is there a way I can get involved in your business?
The easiest way is to invest! By investing you will be directly supporting product development, marketing and consumer insights, and inventory. Outside of that, we will be offering to our investors insider views into new product, including beta testing, to ensure when the items are brought to market they have been thoroughly vetted.
Reminder regarding Forward Looking Information:
THE OFFERING MATERIALS MAY CONTAIN FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS AND INFORMATION RELATING TO, AMONG OTHER THINGS, THE COMPANY, ITS BUSINESS PLAN AND STRATEGY, AND ITS INDUSTRY. THESE FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS ARE BASED ON THE BELIEFS OF, ASSUMPTIONS MADE BY, AND INFORMATION CURRENTLY AVAILABLE TO THE COMPANY’S MANAGEMENT. WHEN USED IN THE OFFERING MATERIALS, THE WORDS “ESTIMATE,” “PROJECT,” “BELIEVE,” “ANTICIPATE,” “INTEND,” “EXPECT” AND SIMILAR EXPRESSIONS ARE INTENDED TO IDENTIFY FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS, WHICH CONSTITUTE FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENTS. THESE STATEMENTS REFLECT MANAGEMENT’S CURRENT VIEWS WITH RESPECT TO FUTURE EVENTS AND ARE SUBJECT TO RISKS AND UNCERTAINTIES THAT COULD CAUSE THE COMPANY’S ACTUAL RESULTS TO DIFFER MATERIALLY FROM THOSE CONTAINED IN THE FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS. INVESTORS ARE CAUTIONED NOT TO PLACE UNDUE RELIANCE ON THESE FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS, WHICH SPEAK ONLY AS OF THE DATE ON WHICH THEY ARE MADE. THE COMPANY DOES NOT UNDERTAKE ANY OBLIGATION TO REVISE OR UPDATE THESE FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS TO REFLECT EVENTS OR CIRCUMSTANCES AFTER SUCH DATE OR TO REFLECT THE OCCURRENCE OF UNANTICIPATED EVENTS.