Help us Build Momentum on WeFunder
Despite the early technical issues on Monday our WeFunder campaign got off to a great start – in fact we hit $65k faster than with our Kickstarter. However, we still have a long way to go and need to build momentum.
We’ve heard from many of you that it’s a tough ask to hand over more money when we haven’t delivered on our earlier promises. I understand where you are coming from and this has certainly been tougher than we anticipated. It might feel like we’ve been nine months away from shipping for two years now, but we’ve been consistently making progress and beating challenges. However, our work has been a major technical challenge. Nobody has ever optimized a six gene pathway before in plants, and we’ve made enormous progress. Today, we have the beginning of a Design-Build-Test process working in plants – which is what we need to make this work.
We could have given up when Kyle quit or after any other challenge we’ve faced. There was a moment in February this year when the bombardments didn’t work when we seriously considered it. But we aren’t giving in to that temptation or to taking the easy road and we will continue to press on.
So why haven’t we given up?
It’s your support – not just the trust we have looking after your backing, but also all the supportive emails and messages from people encouraging us after we hit setbacks – this has pushed us through the setbacks.
We believe in this project for two reasons. First, there’s an urgent need to move to a ‘circular’ economy, one in which we make the resources we need and don’t just selfishly extract them from the earth: biology is the ultimate sustainable technology and engineering biology is the best bet we have to create such a circular economy. Second, the technology needed to achieve that objective is within our reach and is advancing faster than any other technology in history.
The need to address climate change is stronger than ever, and all of our experience in the last three years has supported the advancement of this technology: we’ve seen Twist offer DNA at 10c a base pair, the discovery of CRISPR and the launch of services like Transcriptic. And we’re so close to completing a Glowing Plant. We’ve made massive progress thanks to your contributions – we’ve shipped Fluc v1 of the Glowing Plant, the lowest cost GMO ever commercially sold, and we’ve shipped beta versions of the maker kit, enabling high school students to genetically engineer plants for the first time.
After we launched the campaign and landed in the cross-fires of the anti-GMO brigade we discovered something else: the greatest threat to the adoption of new technology is resistance from the doubtful and discouraged. This is not us. As I engaged with policy makers, ecologists and other experts in Washington at academic conferences, nobody has a strategy for how to deal with this resistance. We do. We can make engineered plant products that people want, and that they can aspire towards. We can make products which are better for the environment, and perhaps most importantly we can share the economic upside through distributing equity. Our goals have created a distributed network of engaged consumers and shareholders who can tell the story of why we need this. That’s what Glowing Plants or Fragrant Moss will do.
So where do we go from here?
As we mentioned in our February update we do not currently have enough financial runway to complete the Glowing Plant. If we do not reach our fundraising goals, our dreams will fail.
When we reach our goals, we have the opportunity to build the company that defines this industry in the way Apple defined PC’s or Facebook defined social media. The odds against us are great, but I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t think we had a shot at doing that.
Equity investing in early stage startups is a new thing for most of you: it’s only been legal for five days. Here’s how I think about it: early stage investments are all about risk vs reward, there’s a small chance of a very big return (100x or even 1000x). By getting in at the start there’s a ton of potential upside, but also a lot that can go wrong and it could take a long time to get liquidity or a return. With that return profile you shouldn’t invest just for the returns, invest because you believe in our why and our vision, because you’ll learn something and remember you should never invest more than you can afford to lose.
An investment like this shouldn’t be an impulse purchase, consider all the materials being provided, watch the video, ask questions if you don’t understand or agree with something and discuss with your partner or anyone else you need to. Momentum matters for public crowdfunding like this though, and right now we don’t have it, so if you are thinking of backing us it makes a big difference when people come in early so please consider over the weekend (and thank you to those amazing people who already backed us). Also know that this an all-or-nothing campaign so there’s nothing at risk if we don’t hit the target and whether we hit the target or not you can change your mind and cancel 48 hours before the campaign ends with no penalty (you'll get 5 days notice before it closes).
So if after reading all this you are still interested, please Back our Campaign Today
If you have questions/comments please ask them either in the comments below, on WeFunder (www.wefunder.com/taxa/questions) or via email/kickstarter messages.
We’ve all in on this. We’re can get there. Thank you for your support.
Antony & the TAXA team