“Long, long ago in galaxy far, far away….” 🙂
We had incorporated Knightscope, Inc. on April 4, 2013 and back then we had literally nothing (or maybe less). A naive pitch deck, a rough sketch and no office, no products, no technology, no clients, no revenue, no capital, inability to run payroll – just us, a lot of hope, and determination.
We started off in a co-working / co-living space at the time that was literally a house called Silicon House in Mountain View, California in the heart of Silicon Valley. Nothing like starting a company in house filled of crazy entrepreneurs from all around the world.
Then we migrated for a month to Club Auto Sport in San Jose, CA (of course, on the personal credit card) – we had 1 desk for all of us to share (kinda ridiculous). But at least we got to start building stuff…most of it pretty embarrassing but had to start somewhere.
We kept getting asked to apply to an accelerator and kept getting turned down but finally got into batch #1 for insurtech at the Plug and Play Tech Center in Sunnyvale, CA in October of that year. By December we had built the most miserable and laughable prototype you have ever seen – but we won demo day, the press picked it up and finally the capital started coming in. And, yes, since we are sharing, here is the 3 minute pitch from that day (gulp).
And it was a rough start. Took us 364 days to close the seed round – no one wanted to write a check because “you guys are crazy”, “will never work”, “hardware + software…too complicated….you should pick one” and “physical security is not an investment thesis” (insert rolling eyes here). But we ignored everyone, did what we had to do to move forward, and very happy we did!
Now 6+ years later, despite billions being invested in self-driving technology with dozens of companies working on it, we believe Knightscope is literally the only company in the world operating 24/7/365 across an entire nation fully autonomous without human intervention – with real clients generating real revenue and operating in the real world (not a science fiction R&D project).
We are backed by over 6,000 investors and 4 major corporations and have raised over $40 million and now raising a fresh $50 million of growth capital in our Reg A+ IPO to scale the business to profitability. And we have a bunch of crime-fighting wins under our collective belts!
Plus we hold contracts in 15 states across 4 time zones, accepted into the Verizon 5G Lab, landed our first 2 police departments and municipalities as clients, signed contracts with a movie chain and a defense contractor – and we count 10 of the Fortune 1000 a clients of Knightscope. We were highlighted on the Today Show amongst numerous other media outlets, have a 7 figure backlog of orders, and one our clients tripled the amount of machines at 1 location to 6 security robots – all while our client with 9 machines in 5 locations across 3 states renewed their contract.
Some days we wake up and think what the heck is taking soooooo long. And yet other days, it’s wondering how the heck we got all this done with (relatively speaking for the size of the effort) a modest amount of capital and minimal resources.
Bottom line, don’t ever give up – ignore the naysayers and keep pushing forward, no matter how hard, how painful, how unpopular or how much you are told ‘no’. If you know you are right long-term, and especially if you can make a positive and meaningful impact on society, then just force your vision to become a reality – be relentless and make it all happen. Onward and upward!