Actually, as of the writing of this post, we’re at 402, and this is huge! Both for us and for our ability to raise capital to deliver on our commitment to all of you, our customers. When we started going after funding several years ago, we were told we needed to prove the market demand or no one would invest or lend us even a dime. So our goal for 2019 was to do exactly that, show proof that all of our research was right. One investor that has been a mentor of mine going on four years now gave me two great pieces of advice:
“A customer is someone who has given you actual money in exchange for either an actual product, or the commitment to deliver a product later. If all you have is a list of people who say they would buy your product, but haven’t paid anything to be on that list, you don’t have customers, you have a fan club.”
I took this to heart and set about developing a product that people would actually want to buy. My first venture into this space was still based on our modular battery architecture but applied in a kit to convert Ford F-series pickups to electric vehicles. I got a lot of interest, and as he said, even had a fan club, but when it came time to get deposits, it just wasn’t converting. I also designed a product that would fit into the trunk area of a Leaf, to add more range, which again earned a lot of interest, but very few willing to pay a deposit. It wasn’t until 2018 when Nissan started raising prices on replacing their battery that it started to make sense for us to compete with their stock battery pack. I spent the first half of 2018 working through some of the design challenges of adapting our product to fit the stock pack location, and then at the end of September 2018, we made our announcement.
And the market responded! Since that first weekend, not only have we shown that there is demand, but that we can organically grow our product interest without expensive advertising or product hype. We’ve purposely kept much of the design under wraps and kept our performance capability claims restrained and realistic because we needed to prove to lenders and investors that our measurement of the market demand isn’t influenced by hype or by promising over-the-top capabilities. Consumers truly want an answer to their needs, and they’ve shown they have confidence that we will be the ones delivering that answer.
“You can show me a stack of market research, charts, graphs, and expert opinions, and paint a very good picture of what your market looks like, but until you can measure that demand with actual money and commitments, all you’ve done is paint a picture.”
Thanks to each and every one of you that is holding a reservation, we’ve done exactly that. We are showing that the demand for Fēnix Power’s solution is more than just a picture, this is a very real, and growing market need. And we have shown that our demand is accelerating! Every quarter for 5 straight quarters since the announcement, we have seen reservations double! To achieve that for Q4 of 2019, we predicted we will get to 500 reservations by the end of the year, and expect to see us break 1,000 by the end of March 2020. I have no doubts that we will see exactly that.
But even better than just your deposits, I and my team have been talking one on one to quite a few of you, and we’re learning so much about the impact that battery degradation has for our customers. This isn’t just an aging car part, people are feeling their world slowly shrinking by a more and more constrained ability of their cars. Many are feeling trapped by the weight of a car they can’t get out from underneath. And the worst one, many are feeling betrayed by an industry that they have, very vocally, been supporting for the batter part of a decade.
I personally take that last lesson to heart. Of course, I’m here to build a business and to make a product, but if I were to somehow forget all but one of the lessons that 2019 has taught me, this is what I want to remember the most: Our customers are coming to us because someone else has failed them. A manufacturer failed them by building a product that aged much too quickly. A salesman failed them by promising that their car would make everything about their world better. A business responsible for servicing their car failed them by making their only answer too expensive to be within reach.
I know we at Fēnix Power may not get everything right in the coming years, but the one thing I will be reminding my team over and over again is we’re going to start everything we do with this: By designing our solution as a service and selling it through a subscription, we aren’t just making sales and selling products, we are building a relationship with a person. And these people are putting their trust in us that we’re participating in the relationship too. That we will be there to stand behind our products through the entire length of their subscription. From day one through year 10, it’s our job to make sure they feel like Fēnix made their world better.
Founder & CEO
Note: The image attached to this post does NOT mean we’re sold out of Nissan reservations, but it does mean that, after Cyber Monday, we shift to the next pricing group for our pre-order customers. Once this weekend’s sale has passed, reservations will see a smaller reduction in the balance due at the time of install. Instead of $150 due later, that will go up to $600 due at the time of install. If you haven’t reserved yet, be sure to do so before 5:00 PM PST as that’s when the Cyber Monday sale ends!