Author Topic: Crowdfunding advice  (Read 1043 times)

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Offline bigdawg

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Crowdfunding advice
« on: September 07, 2017, 01:12:10 AM »
So I am in advanced stages of launching a crowdfunding campaign (https://experiment.com/chemprint) and was looking on advice from the folks here since you guys have seen it all. In all my years watching crowdfunding campaigns promise the moon and under-delivering, I have tried to be very conservative (and honest) about the goals.

I am a chemist at one of the federal agencies in my day job and very passionate about citizen science and in my free time, one of my major focus is developing citizen science tools for identifying chemical pollutants in drinking water. This is a huge issue not just in developing world, but also in US.

We developed screening level home-based test based on SPE/TLC for identifying pollutants in water using a platform about the size of a humidifier, which has a water aspirator, vacuum flask, TLC developing chamber, TLC spray chamber and a visualization chamber with UV lamps, the project page is www.analyzechemicals.com and we are going to perform its validation with a larger user base at a local university here (University of Georgia). All of this is easier than itching your own PCBs (though no one does that in this oshpark era).

 I have also written a blog post on how to make your own prototype now itself (https://experiment.com/u/sy5Inw) however, I have laid out the reasons on why folks should back us.

I will appreciate if you guys can look at it and give me any opinions, or things we can elaborate on, or some additional reward tiers. I wont mind if y'all are tough and honest about your opinions, I know I have always been especially at other crowdfunding campaigns!!
 
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Offline floobydust

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Re: Crowdfunding advice
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2017, 08:23:05 AM »
I'm sorry I could not make sense of what you are doing.

The terminology "Workshop" and "Platform" and "Study" and "Test" is terrible.

The workshop appears to validate the Chemprint machine ("platform") you are developing, but also is a party where you test water in rivers, lakes, wells etc.
There is the Chemprint method and "platform".
You talk of a home test but the hardware is specific, UV lamp, extraction solutions, vacuum flask and now I'm totally confused.

What is this machine expected to cost? It appears to be the goal of the "workshops".

I have no idea what chemicals can be detected from the test, the limits and magnitudes. The website links to every chemical possible.

Please distinguish from the test, the test hardware, validating the hardware etc.
Don't explain it here- I suggest organizing things better so I know what I could fund and what the outcome could be.
 

Offline bigdawg

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Re: Crowdfunding advice
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2017, 09:49:40 AM »
Floobydust, I really appreciate your frank opinion. While I wont pretend that I am glad to hear that our website/campaign is so confusing to an outside user, however, we will try to fix these before even trying to launch the campaign

I'm sorry I could not make sense of what you are doing.

The terminology "Workshop" and "Platform" and "Study" and "Test" is terrible.


Very good point; we will make it consistent; maybe a better word to platform is chemprint kit? I dont know, I will have to talk with my collaborators. The reason we call it a platform is that all we did is take the existing glassware, lamp etc modified it so we can have it in one box the size of a humidifier which someone can use on the field or on their kitchen sink.


Quote

The workshop appears to validate the Chemprint machine ("platform") you are developing, but also is a party where you test water in rivers, lakes, wells etc.
There is the Chemprint method and "platform".
You talk of a home test but the hardware is specific, UV lamp, extraction solutions, vacuum flask and now I'm totally confused.

What is this machine expected to cost? It appears to be the goal of the "workshops".


I really thought that people would think that we are locking them into buying our chemprint machine if they want to run a chemprint test; so I put up a page which explained how they can buy everything they need separately from ebay/amazon. Well clearly, I caused even more confusion. To answer your question on how much it costs, the BOM is right around 150 USD; so its a bit cheaper than buying flasks, lamps etc separately; my idea was that I will make the CAD files open source so that people can 3D print it if needed. 

Quote
I have no idea what chemicals can be detected from the test, the limits and magnitudes. The website links to every chemical possible.


Please distinguish from the test, the test hardware, validating the hardware etc.
Don't explain it here- I suggest organizing things better so I know what I could fund and what the outcome could be.

again a mistake in communication on our parts, we are specifically testing for traditional pesticides such as triazines, OP esters; neocotinoids, and cyanotoxins like microcystin. So about 30 out of that list of 900...the long long term aim is have separate tests for all 900 from norman network list.
 

Offline ruairi

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Re: Crowdfunding advice
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2017, 10:08:38 AM »
Hi there,

I have to agree with Flooby, having read all of the linked information I am not clear on what it is being proposed.

The project looks very interesting and I'm sure I fit the demographic perfectly - studied Chemistry, into DIY, have kids, live in an area with questionable water and drink only bottled water.

What exactly will we get when we pledge? Instructions only or a complete kit?



 

Offline bigdawg

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Re: Crowdfunding advice
« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2017, 07:02:49 AM »
Hi ruairi; DId you get a chance to get out the updated version of our page? please specifically look in other information section of https://experiment.com/chemprint

We have different reward tiers, but essentially the major reward is that backers will get a chance to ship us water samples and volunteers will test that using our ChemPrint kit. The same samples will also be tested by professional researchers using lab based methods at univ of Georgia; backers will get both results so that they'll know how well the kits are doing compared to expensive tests (we should be within +/-10%).

you can build your own kit right now itself for 200-250 bucks from off the shelf parts and we have put the details in our blog (https://experiment.com/u/sy5Inw); I have multiple DIYers already building it to test their water; however, at the end of the campaign we will make every single aspect of the project open source.

I know multiple people want to buy the kits from us directly; however, running an online store potential to run me into ethical conflicts at my current job (at a federal agency) so we designed the project so that all proceeds go to University of Georgia, and we just collect the validation data necessary for greater regulatory acceptance; and release designs and instructions so that people can just build it.

I am also talking with a few retailers who are planning to package everything into a kit and sell it at a substantially less price than buying everything separately.

That's another reason why we are doing it on a platform such as experiment.com where almost all projects have no rewards other than knowing that you are backing a project for public good.

Please do let us know if things are still unclear; I can assure you that we will not launch this project until everyone's concerns are addressed adequately.
 

Offline floobydust

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Re: Crowdfunding advice
« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2017, 11:15:44 AM »
Ahh it looks much better. I think communities would have no troubles with the investment for a machine.

You mention some water crises in the USA- but I see no mention of heavy metal detection capability such as lead, mercury etc.
Is BPA an issue in drinking water? I'm mentioning popular concerns people might have but not on the campaign that I could find.

When I see the word "vacuum" I think there's a vac pump needed; unless that Y drain pulls the sample through.

Have you considered UV LED's as a light source, they would be lower cost compared to tubes.
 


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