Sunday, August 28, 2016

Important Message About the Future from New55


In September we will be making an important announcement about New55 and what we have learned so far, and what will need to be done in the future to make peel apart instant photography a vital and ongoing industry and art form.

There is much to be done. Do not think for a moment that anyone on our team thinks our job is anywhere close to completion. I have an intense dissatisfaction with the primitive state of our manufacturing capabilities and know from experience that in order to introduce the several very new products that I have in mind - that have never been seen before - we must first establish automation and robust supply lines of photosensitive materials and chemicals and be able to put them together: Coating, folding, attaching, die cutting, slitting, pod making, chemical mixing, packaging and assembly all take money, minds and machines. We are lucky to have at least one of these.

Together with you, and all of other supporters who do not live on social media, we have managed to show proof-of-principle that a small start up company can make and sell an instant film product - primitive as it may currently be. Many of you have learned how to use a new and difficult product that seemed to require the skills of a unicycle rider and the daring of a wing suit flyer. Now, with that proof in hand, we must advance into a serious industrial stage if we are to continue. That takes a substantial investment that no conventional investor would dare attempt, but we are unconventional, clearly.

Crowd-funding an industry is more complicated than crowd-funding a single product or a one-off project. Some of you know that I come from a very large scale medical device industry that enjoys hundreds of millions of dollars of industrial investment. Even Polaroid, in the 60's, spent many millions and years to build the assembly machinery for pack film, for instance, having delayed the decision until the money could be made available.

Because we have the gall and the experience to break the established molds and sometimes upset the old guard, my current estimate is that we "only" need to raise $15M and spend it in $5M increments over three years. This is not a large amount by today's standards, but it still a huge amount from the point of view of an individual. We can do it in stages as we introduce new products such as the new color 4x5 instant film that is in planning stages. We must do these things, or the flame will go out.

The future of technologies in general could fall exclusively in the camps of established corporate giants, or we could find another way. We have evidence that can be done, and the fact that New55 has achieved sales of $1M in its first year is also very surprising to some people!

So stay alert as we make major changes that must include new alliances, global distribution and most importantly - the tools needed to improve product quality and offerings well into the Post-Digital future we have together created.

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