A part-timer R&B singer and biochemist is crowdfunding his idea for a better battery charger.bf sv nation crowdfunding battery charging
SAN FRANCISCO--I've written for many years about the new
development paradigm in the semiconductor industry, given cost
constraints and other factors. Since venture capitalists aren't
giving entrepreneurs any love, it's time to leverage crowd-funding,
as we've seen in successes like Adapteva
Now comes a battery-charging idea, based on Georgia Tech patents,
that's seeking funding.
, a company founded by a part-time blues singer and Harvard biochem graduate,
is looking for $50,000 to push its technology to market. To date,
the company has spent $300,000 in R&D, a third of that from the
founder, Elliott Small (pictured
). But as it nears the prototype stage the
company, working with Chargetek
(Camarillo, Calif.), is looking for a little bit more to get over
is a 120-day project, ending March 26, and
he's raised $950 so far toward his $50,000 goal
Why crowd-sourcing more money at this point?
"The money can be procured even in significant amounts fairly
quickly," Small said in a telephone interview, a small dog barking
in the background. "Campaigns can't last more than a few months
anyway. It's not borrowed money and it's not equity."
Indiegogo offers a few ways of building a crowd-funding project,
including entrepreneurs getting no money if the target is not
achieved or taking the money regardless of whether that threshold is
"It's a way of pre-selling the products...although actually you're
not selling. You're getting donations and you're getting a perk,
which is the legal background," said Small, who also moonlights as
an R&B singer.
So what's the technology? Small licensed two patents from Georgia
Tech that were awarded more than a decade ago, essentially software
managing the battery-charge process and keeping track of the state
of charge of the battery and applying the charge in a way that will
allow you to charge with a higher current.
granted in 2001, to Yi Ding, determines the battery's state of
charge by applying an alternating current pulse to the battery
before initiating a charging sequence and recording the battery's
response. Patent #6094033
granted in 2000, also to Ding, describes a similar approach to
battery monitoring and charging.
This isn't Small's first crowd-sourcing rodeo. He tried
raising money on Kickstarter to raise money to take a converted EV
across the country on a promotional drive. "I didn't really work at
it hard at (raising the money), and nothing resulted from it,"
But this time around, he's sees a much bigger opportunity, with an
estimated 2 billion cell phones and laptops being sold each year.
"There are two ways to provide faster charging for cell phones,"
Small said. "One is to work out collaboration with cell phone
manufacturers. We're working on that. The other is to target
cellphone battery chargers that people use to charge spare cell
phone batteries. That's a market we can approach right away while
we're working on relationships with cell phone manufacturers."
Electronics entrepreneurs are building leaner startups and getting
smarter about funding them, using today's tools to take ideas to
market. Elliott Small is one of them. Andreas Olofsson at Adapteva
is a another.
How about you? Does crowdfunding intrigue you enough to get that
idea out of your head and into the garage and prototyping phase?
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Kickstarter created a community for Adapteva