GoSun, the company behind the eponymous solar-powered ovens, announced today that it was cowdfunding its Series A round of financing. Technically, the company is looking to, pardon the pun, kickstart its Series A by raising just $500,000 on the StartEngine equity crowdfunding platform. If it reaches that goal, it will then go to private investors to try and raise an additional $1.5 million.
GoSun makes a variety of outdoor products including its titular ovens, which use a combination of parabolic reflectors and insulated chambers to cook food using only direct sunlight. The company expanded this year with a hybrid solar + electric outdoor cooker, a solar-powered portable fridge and a DIY version of its solar oven.
This is actually the second time GoSun has crowdfunded its financing. In 2017, the company raised $500,000 in seed funding, which then allowed it to get lines of credit with the bank to pay for its growth. “We’re a crowdfunded company,” Patrick Sherwin, CEO of GoSun told me by phone today. “Every new product is launched on the crowd. We just go to the crowd first.”
Given the success GoSun has had–the company says it has sold 35,000 products across 60 countries and earned $1.6 million in revenue in 2018 — I asked Sherwin why his company wasn’t going with more traditional routes of funding like venture capital.
“Traditional VC will breathe down your neck,” Sherwin said, “And drive everything towards more profit. This gives us more flexibility and keeps us in charge.”
As with any crowdfunding venture, and especially equity investing, there is no guarantee of a financial return for investors. Indeed, given the slower, deliberate pace at which GoSun wants to move, and without pressure from VCs, who knows when an investor would see any potential return. Caveat emptor.
UPDATE: An earlier version of this post mentioned GoSun valuation and minimum investments. We were asked to remove this public information by GoSun in reference to SEC rules. We are honoring that request while we work to understand the particular issues around it further.