Win Fund Update #2 July 16 2013As of today getting the laser replaced and back in production mode is maybe halfway completed. The machine that Coyle could afford is a Chinese make and getting parts for it (It needs to be upgraded some) is complicated mostly by what one might expect, communication and the opposition of time zones that limits communication opportunities. Coyle bit the bullet and liquidated some 401K monies and was able to find an unused machine from a person here in Oregon (this is the sort of rare find that would have been ideal when originally buying the machine as it keeps money closer to home and still makes the purchase within reach financially.) The machine was somewhat smaller and underpowered for Coyle's application so buying some upgraded parts was necessary. Skyping and emailing with China has been a little bit torturous at times (for the amount of time it takes a person of limited laser machine expertise to buy the right parts from people who are of limited english language expertise) but it proceeds nonetheless and the Chinese do seem to be hard working and reliable from direct experience and from references that Coyle has run down.
To contribute to the Fund you can mail a check to or contact Oregon State University Federal Credit Union at https://www.osufederal.com/, PO Box 306, Corvallis, OR 97339 - Phone: 800-732-0173
Send checks or ask to contribute funds to Daniel Coyle LLC Fund and/or account number 394123
WIN FUND Update June 29 2013
Thanks for checking in to follow the progress. As of this morning the Fund had grown to $550. This is enough to purchase any one of several important components of a new laser. The total cost of the laser that was destroyed was $8K and a lot of work is being put into salvaging old parts to reduce the total cost of the replacement. Other time and money was spent on the cleanup. All fund money will target getting the replacement laser on line. Once again, to contribute to the fund contact Oregon State Federal Credit Union to deposit a check or funds to account number 394123, Daniel Coyle LLC Fund. Call OSUFCU at 541-714-4000, on the web at osufcuonline.com or via snail mail at
OSU Federal Credit Union
PO Box 306
Corvallis, OR 97339-0306
First donation to WIN FUND June 26 2013
Today the WinFund for Coyle LLC posted reception of its first donation for $50. Enough to replace the focal lens that was in the laser at the time of the fire. Thanks so much.
WIN FUND June 25 2013
On the 13th of this month we had a big setback.
While speaking to the Willamette Innovators Network (WIN) as part of a panel of 3 crowd-funding 'practitioners' the 3 month old CO2 laser that was bought with the money raised by our Indiegogo campaign caught fire and was destroyed. The Willamette Innovator's Network has since started a fund to help the business recover and get back on track.
That first picture is the machine first being picked up in March. The next two are what turned out to be before and after photos for what fire does to a laser machine.
The shop itself survived the fire thanks to the Corvallis Fire Dept. They were more than gracious and encouraging when I met with them the night of the fire.
The cleaning up process from the fire has been significant and has definitely put everything on hold. The smoke and water and soot reached the extent of the shop. And, unfortunately, the machine itself was not insured. It had seemed before that the business could not afford the luxury of insurance. Big lesson.
In any event, the encouragement the firefighters gave the night of this disaster helped cut off any grieving process and the clean up and search for how to replace the laser began that same night. There has been a lot of help in cleaning up the shop (Thanks Travis, Betsey) and, while not exciting to do, I committed myself to pulling money from my 401K to get things back on track. I felt thankful that the business has given me the kind of inspiration and satisfaction that made such a commitment seem like the clear option.
One week to the day after the fire WIN contacted me about their wish to help me recover from this setback. They asked me to set up an account that could receive funds to offset the cost of the recovery. While I had felt proud of my business and its power to keep me feeling optimistic I did not anticipate the kind of boost that call gave me. I realized how much others in my own community believed in the business and what its about. How much being in Corvallis this past couple years has mattered.
I created this blog to record not so much the fire and what it did but more the story of what being a part of Corvallis, the WIN and the business community here generally can mean. I look forward to posting my progress and updates on the fund in the coming weeks.
Please, if you get this far in the blog, know that you are welcome to come visit the shop anytime. I would love to show you around and meet you.
To contribute to the Fund you can mail a check to or contact Oregon State University Federal Credit Union at https://www.osufederal.com/, PO Box 306, Corvallis, OR 97339 - Phone: 800-732-0173 -
Send checks or ask to contribute funds to Daniel Coyle LLC Fund and/or account number 394123
245 Cummings, Corvallis
New Machines! March 12 2013
Since the Indiegogo campaign several new pieces of equipment have been added to the shop arsenal. These include a high end orbital sander and a 36" chainsaw (so awesome). The highlights, though, are the CO2 laser that arrived last week and the CNC Router that is ordered and currently being built. These two machines will allow in house processing and prototyping of cork inserts and wood shells. The funding goal was set to accomodate these two purchases and its great to say that part of the campaign goal has been attained.
On a big picture level it feels good to create a business that builds things here in Oregon. We no longer buy things from China primarily because it is cheaper. We primarily buy from China because there is little that is or even can be made in the USA anymore. A lesson Coyle learned in its efforts to source tools and materials for its endeavor.
The Laser will cut cork sheets into precise, computer generated patterns that will fit easily and elegantly into the helmet shells. It will be used to prototype new perforation patterns in the cork to improve helmet weight and impact performance. The CNC Router will allow building shells in house and pre-cutting wood for future orders reducing lead time for customers.
Having both machines in house will allow Coyle to become expert in their operation, maybe the most import advantage that will be manifested. The whole process of building these helmets will become concentrated and have ample opportunity to really become optimized.
Thansk to everyone who helped out!
Entrepreneur of the Year, Corvallis, Oregon December 19 2012
Coyle, specifically, Dan Coyle, got nominated as entrepreneur of the year by Celebrate Corvallis. We'll find out the winner on the 18th of January. Check out the link below.
Indiegogo Successful December 18 2012
Our campaign on Indiegogo.com lasted just over a month and just ended, and just got fully funded, on December 17th. Never having created or executed a crowdfunding campaign before it was a real learning experience. Plenty of mistakes we were able to get away with and learn from while still making the goal of $27K. One of the greatest parts of the whole thing was the amazing supporters, friends and family that really stepped up with a belief in us and our concept. One way or another we were going to figure out how to move forward and get things funded but this campaign was definitely a great way to do that. We got exposure on lots of sites like Outside Magazine Online and Facebook as well as The Discovery Channel online. The middle of the campaign really slowed down dramatically and it seemed reasonable to assume we would not make our goal and thus get none of the funding. But a few key people did a lot to get us the exposure we needed to have a huge last week in which we made our goal with less than a day left!
As we went through the campaign we realized a lot about the timing and preparation of pulling off a successful crowdfunding effort. Rather than wait til a time of year more typical for bike helmet sales we chose the holidays and wondered if enough folks would see a christmas present opportunity in buying a campaign perk. This experiment showed us that there was some potential there but that maybe waiting til Spring would have been just as positive or more. Part of our reality was the ambition to "Just do it" and move things along.
In the coming months we will be updating supporters on our progress and on how we use our funding. The first things we already started on include shopping for the right CO2 laser. We will also be working to get some super awesome t shirts and hoodies printed up and shipped out in January.
This is the CO2 laser we currently are outsourcing to cut our cork. The guy we work with, Josh, at bc laserworks has been a huge help. In this picure you can see a sheet of material (not cork in this case) that the laser is positioned over. Through software that reads a cutting pattern made on something like adobe illustrator or even word publisher the machine will get instructions on where to send the laser beam and will ultimately cut out the full pattern.
Our busy week and an Introduction to the ISPO Brandnew Contest November 22 2012
This week we raised 25% of our funding goal for our Indiegogo Campaign http://www.indiegogo.com/CoyleHelmets
Hosted a booth at a large local Holiday Market event http://eugenesaturdaymarket.tumblr.com/ where we were called "the most unique item in the whole show, wooden bike helmets...They are gorgeous, made from a variety of woods, lined with cork, safety tested. Just really cool"
Had a pizza party to celebrate the opening of our new shop.
And were entered into ISPO Brand New's sporting good product of the year competition. You can check it out at http://www.facebook.com/ispo.brandnew.awards?a=1748547#!/ispo.brandnew.awards/app_299646646729963 We would so say great things to Santa Claus about you if you went and voted for us here!
We would like to thank Jonathan Maus from bikeportland.org for tweeting about our campaign, for the many folks who have bought spendy helmets in support of us and our product and for friends our friends who showed up to brave our night time get together at our unheated shop space.
Indiegogo UP November 15 2012
Well, we just launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo.com. We had originally planned to use Kickstarter but it turned out that they do not allow safety products. You can check it out here http://igg.me/p/275456?a=1748547
Watch this short kick off video we created for facebook and then go check out our campaign, there are lots of ways to get involved that can be mutually beneficial to you and us. We gave ourselves (and you!) til December 17th to get this project funded.
Kickstarter down November 12 2012
Well, we missed the fine print and got ahead of ourselves and feel a bit silly for it. After creating an elaborate, if amateur, video and presentation to post to Kickstarter.com for a funding campaign we found out that safety products are one of several item types that Kickstarter does not work with.
So, we will be looking for another platform to take our talents to! Your suggestions, of course, are most welcome.
Sorry for the false start.
Hand made Bicycle Show and Kickstarter October 23 2012
We spent the weekend hosting a booth at the Oregon Handmade Bicycle Show in Portland. Jonathan Maus does a good job covering it in his Bike Portland blog http://bikeportland.org/2012/10/21/what-i-saw-at-the-oregon-handmade-bicycle-show-79112.
The show was located in an industrial area on the grounds of a ship building company. Was a rare treat to see such large boats being born while taking breaks from the show. The show itself featured great custom built bikes and bike accessories, mostly by regional manufacturers. We started letting folks know about our upcoming kickstarter.com campaign. We plan to launch the campaign in November and offer folks first generation helmets for a reduced price in return for funding that will get us into the next phase of our evolution as helmet manufacturers.
Some pics from the show.
Oregon Best July 14 2012
After winning the concept company division of the Willamette Angel Conference in Eugene, Oregon this spring Coyle was approached by Ken Vaugn of Oregon Best, www.oregonbest.org. They support businesses in Oregon that are developing sustainable products and services including such projects as wave and solar energy. We are partnering with Oregon State University to further develop the current line of helmets and to work on creating some new technologies and products in the future, We hope to be awarded some funding by Oregon Best to make this happen soon.
We also entered an online competition put on by American Express and Facebook called Big Break for Small Business. You can find it by going to www.facebook.com/open and looking up Big Break.
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