Saturday, 3 November 2018

Renovagen pivots and turns to Indiegogo to spark production of its mini unit for free distribution to NGOs.



Renovagen used Crowdcube to raise £1.25m from over 900 investors in 2014 and 2016. Plans have become a little crumpled since. In a new PR push, the company is now raising $50k on Indiegogo to enable it to hand out its mini unit, FOC, to NGOs. It is certainly a novel approach.


The company has not delivered as per its Crowdcube sales pitches. The larger units have taken too long to sell through. 

What is striking about this new Indiegogo pitch is the chaos. Looking at the 'rewards' we gave up trying work out what was what. There is a branded baseball cap with no branding and some fast fold cups and water bottles. There are also potable solar power things  - a key ring torch for example and a branded solar charger. It is a very mixed message. Prices for these rewards suggest that this is charity drive rather than a creative project. Not the norm for Indiegogo.

It is incredibly vague about how the cash will be spent. A minimum target, we are told, is $50k but they hope to fund to many times that. We are also told that these mini units are not yet in production - they are prototype. Then we are told that the cash will be split between 'our overhead costs' of production and the delivery of the free units. No percentages are given. Hmmm. Vague assurances are given that X units will be dilivered FOC but that depends on getting in an undisclosed level of cash. So, for all donors know the 'overhead' may be taking 50% or more of the donation. That means that people donating may be, in reality, paying for the company to stay alive. That is not what Indiegogo campaigns do and it is not what this campaigns claims it is doing.

So why so vague?

There is a list of NGOs who have expressed an interest in receiving a free a solar power unit - in reality this list could have included every single NGO on the planet. Who wouldn't want a totally free unit?

It will be interesting to see where this raise goes. There can be no doubt that it will benefit NGOs working in some of the worlds poorest and most needy areas. But what will it do for the 900 investors in Renovagen?  

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