The Kickstarter project was no slam dunk. After the first few days, interest trailed off. Olofsson rallied bloggers--including EE Times’ Clive Maxfield, who posted three articles on the effort.
In desperation, Olofsson put the Epiphany SDK, data sheets and product manuals online, something he only intended to do if the startup hit its funding goal.
“There was a huge peak once we did that,” he said. “People read the hundreds of pages and were answering questions online for us without our help, but we couldn’t use NDAs anymore or protect ourselves against our semiconductor competitors,” he added.
Adapteva also posted a video of the board running desktop apps on its dual-core A9. That may have been enough to get many engineers to pitch in $99.
“People may have thought even if Epiphany isn’t turned on, at least they’d get a $99 desktop that’s definitely an upgrade from the A11 Raspberry Pi,” he said.
A little hype may have helped, too. In its press release, Adapteva pitched the project as a chance to buy a $200 supercomputer, referring to a $199 board based on its 64-core chip. “That was borderline hype, I admit, but the project is all about parallel programming and if you string together enough of these boards it’s a legit supercomputer,” he said.
Looking down the road, Olofsson hopes to add to Epiphany more memory, double-precision floating point support and more features. He also hopes to strike relationships with distributors to help nurture his new community.
But in the meantime, the startup has its hands full getting thousands of developer’s kits out the door. “For the coming six months we’re full up executing on this project,” he said.