PaveGen Tiles Harvest Kinetic Energy from Footsteps
Some big news for retail investors came out this month when the SEC announced that they now allow crowdfunding for equity. Prior to that announcement, you could only receive the promise of products for your investment which as we discussed before, was still a very risky endeavor. Now that you can actually receive equity, it becomes even more risky. Stay tuned for future articles on this interesting development. In the meantime, on the other side of the pond in England, there is a platform called Crowdcube which allows you to invest in startups for equity. One very interesting company called Pavegen Systems recently closed a successful funding round on the Crowdcube platform with their innovative floor tiles that create energy through footsteps.
Founded in 2009, Pavegen Systems has developed floor tiles that harvest the kinetic energy from human footsteps and use it to directly power off-grid applications such as lighting, wayfinding and advertisement boards. The energy can also be stored in an external battery for powering future applications. With a surface made from recycled materials, the tiles are available in a variety of colors and textures:
With the ability to daisy chain the tiles together, indoor or outdoor installations becomes a relatively simple task. Pavegen has made excellent progress in making these plug and play tiles economically viable. While the first iteration of this technology cost over $7,571 for a single tile, today they are able to batch manufacture the tiles for under $378 per piece. The cool thing about these tiles is not just that they can provide green energy, but that they can also provide real-time footfall data via wireless which provides insights into pedestrian movements.
The company has taken in just $4.12 million so far, including a very successful $3.12 million equity crowdfunding campaign which closed in July of this year which gave away 10.64% of the company to investors who could participate with as little as $15. The Company is on track to realize $2.88 million in sales this year with that number expected to grow to $8.46 million next year enabling them to reach profitability. The technology has been installed in over 100 projects in more than 30 countries, in train stations, shopping centers, public spaces, and airports. If you’re traveling in Europe, be sure to check out their 51 tile installation in Heathrow Terminal 3 which powers LED lights situated along the corridor.
So what about patents? One of Pavegen’s key patents called very simply “energy harvesting” was filed in 2010 and granted in 2011 for both U.S. and U.K jurisdictions. 6 additional patents on the national stage are expected to be granted this year. Pavegen aims to file an additional 3-4 patents in 2015 that will provide further protection from a technical and a software ‘smart systems’ standpoint.
Pavegen seems like a well-run business, and we would have loved to get in on some of those crowdfunding shares. With that said, crowdfunding for equity is extremely risky not just because the business could fail or your investment could be diluted ad inifintum, but because unless there is an exit event you will not be able to sell your shares.
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