[Annual Report] At the End of the First Year

Centipede Tool 2013 Annual Report

Centipede Tool, LLC LogoWe’re certainly not a publicly traded company. Heck, other than on paper, we’re not much of a company at all! However, we are a publicly funded company… If it wasn’t for the 250 magnificent individuals who pre-ordered their Centipede Sawhorse from the first production run, we wouldn’t even be writing this today.

However, as we pursue a different way of doing business in an era easily perceived to be one commanded by big business deploying questionably deceptive practices, we’ve decided to embark on a quest to “CrowdLaunch” our product concept. And we feel that a key part of this is open honesty and complete transparency.

We need you. To be present. To be engaged. To help us identify what is working and what is not. To provide us feedback and ideas. To laugh at our jokes and share our posts with your friends. To help us find ways to let people know you’ve found a neat company being ran by a couple of seemingly nice enough fellows with a really great product. This is getting cheesy, but by the simple fact that you are reading this makes you one of our star players! You didn’t just blindly like a post and keep scrolling on, you actually clicked on it and started reading…

Since you’re now an integral part of our team, here’s an in-depth look back at 2013 for Centipede Tool, LLC in an extremely non-traditional annual report. We wanted to provide something like this for those who may be interested in more detail.

Taking Stock

As anyone who has followed our story in 2013 has gotten to know, I’m a big fan of stopping to take stock of the positive news. Sure, we’re running a company that is less than a year old with all the stability of a business model that relies on crowdfunding as the sole source of revenue. We have no infrastructure, we have no budget and we have no staff. We’ll have to navigate 2014 on pins and needles and it feels like we have just about zero room for error.

We may not have much, but a year ago, we had nothing. Today, we have an incredible amount of love from hundreds of supporters that we must celebrate. The future will work itself out and the past must be appreciated in the present.

Pre-Orders Fundraising

Armed with nothing more than a product prototype and a video of it in action, we hit the web in June with our opening crowdfunding campaign on IndieGoGo. This initial campaign raised just enough funds for us to contract a manufacturing partner and get started on production. Once the production process officially got started, we held our second crowdfunding campaign, this time with Kickstarter. In between and after the campaigns, we’ve had a pre-order shopping cart open on our site.

  • Total 2013 income: $27,158.88
  • Of that:
    • $13,480 through IndieGoGo
    • $11,934 through Kickstarter (1 backer’s credit card didn’t clear in time, so the posted amount isn’t accurate)
    • $29 was donated outright (excluding a few who chose to overpay)
    • The rest came in from pre-orders through the shopping cart
  • Having no assets previously, well over 100% of this number went to cost of goods sold. Between the crowdfunding/credit card processing fees and the costs of building production tooling and fixtures, we haven’t yet sold nearly enough sawhorses to claim any sort of a positive cash flow.

Building Awareness

Having only a passing relationship with and understanding of social media, I realized in May as I was traveling back from our initial meeting at Ed’s house that it was time I started getting a hang of it. If we were going to pull this off without a traditional advertising budget, then it was time we started talking to as many people as we could. We’ve come a long way since then and as of the end of 2013, we had the following:

In addition, several online media outlets, bloggers and the like have featured our story on their sites. Visit this post to read through our favorite excerpts from the likes of Boing Boing, Home Fixated, Extreme How-To and more and read through our Centipede Sawhorse CrowdLaunch Blog Headlines for an in depth look at some of the other headlines we’ve made in 2013. Some other stats regarding awareness of the Centipede Sawhorse:

  • Our video(s) on Vimeo, YouTube and Kickstarter has been viewed 19,909 times. Facebook and Google + do not provide viewership statistics on the video uploaded there, but I’d guess it is safe to say over 20,000 people have seen our video(s).
  • We’ve had 12,380 unique visitors to our web site. On average, each unique visitor visited nearly 4 pages before leaving!
  • We’ve sold Centipede Sawhorses into Spain, Britain, and Norway in spite of tremendous shipping costs. We’re in negotiations with 2 separate distributors in Australia and 2 in the UK. We’ve gotten inquiries from Iraq, South Africa, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, Germany and various points in between.
  • We were really close to getting on the Shark Tank, we’ve had venture capitalists reach out to us asking to invest, The Crowdfunders Show approached us and we got a call from one of the worlds largest home improvement retailers!

We’re turning heads – just like we hoped to and just like we needed to. We didn’t know if we could pull it off, but it seems to be working!

If that was 2013, 2014 is going to blow our minds!

I’ve taken a liberty with your time here – thank you for reading… I wanted to go into even further detail and brag about stats like the number of new people that had never backed a Kickstarter project until ours. About the DIY Network star that has posted about how cool this product is on our Facebook twice. But, we’ll wrap it up here – suffice it to say, we’ve had an incredible 2013.

It feels to us like we’ve come so far. Then we realize…

We’ve just gotten started.

So, please accept this  final thank you for all that you’ve done in 2013. We appreciate all the support we’ve received and are looking forward to an even more amazing year in 2014!!


Ed & Keith

The Centipede Tool Team