Are we the Bank?

HUGE 1 year interest free loan? Does anyone else feel like a banker right now? First half of 2016 for delivery (if all goes well)? 6 more months of my 5K. Just now shipping Beta units? If those beta units are failures…then what? I’m a pretty optimistic gal but I’m also a businesswoman. Here’s a question, is anyone else feeling like this? Glowforge: How many refunds have you issued?

Can’t answer the question on refunds but on the other, but based on my personal career as a CFO, yes we are the production financing vehicle. But that is crowdfunding and that is what was clearly stated over and over by Dan. I’m reasonably close to the top of the list, probably between 500th and 1,000th order. While GF was saying delivery by mid 2016, I’d be happy if I had it land in my shop by late fall. Well, proportionate to my place in line anyhow. :smile:

Many crowdfunded projects are dependent on the backer’s funds for development, salaries, etc. That would be a huge risk for us. Glowforge went a different route and received $9M Series A investment in March. That’s significant outside funding and a great safety buffer for our investment. On day one of pre-order I estimated Beta units would ship about now and if everything went perfectly April/May for the very first production units. Just an educated guess. No one outside the company can know whether the original schedule will be maintained but from what we can piece together they are only about a month behind what I hoped on the H/W. Depending on the slop in their project plan that might not affect anything. Not bad.


I just so happen to be a banker (retired) :relaxed:, but that really has no bearing on the fact that unless you were to have invested that 5k in a very high paying interest account of some kind…and probably for an extended period of time, you wouldn’t be making very much on it anyway. It’s an expensive ‘place holder’…but for me it’s for an incredible opportunity to have something very exciting.


I think in business if you wish to expand and grow, you take risks. While I feel it is a SMALL risk purchasing something that is not yet a “proven” technology, I feel priviledged to be able to. If you were skeptical I’m not sure why you purchased really… should have worked out your own risk level prior to purchasing, and understood exactly what you were buying into. Either get comfortable with that risk, and what it could develop into, or bail out and move on with a risk-free business… Glowforge were well up-front about how this all worked… that’s crowdfunding, either accept it or don’t get involved.


I think the prevailing logic is that you’re getting 50% off retail for pre-purchasing as compensation for your patience. If 6 months of your patience is worth more then $2K, then it’s probably not a fit for your ‘portfolio’.


I agree that the 50% discount is part of our reward for the investment and small risk. I am also fine waiting and happy to have others be the beta testers. I prefer to receive a proven (or as bug free as possible) device when it does arrive. I am excited but also patient for the new technology to be delivered to me.

Agreed. From what I can tell, Glowforge has filed notice for 3 rounds of funding for a little north of $10m. Dan has mentioned previously that they have the funding to pay for hardware/software development, salaries, facilities, etc. for X time frame from their capital raised outside of pre-order sales. VC money like Brad Feld and others makes me feel fine with the current situation.

We’re not investors in Glowforge in the true sense of being investors. We are customers who happen to have paid to reserve the first spots in line to something that should be really, really cool. Unlike an investor, we have a very low risk situation - we can cancel without penalty.

The current price is a 20% increase over the early adopter price. Who knows what the final retail price will actually be? If you were to have kept that money in your bank, you would be far behind on ROI with just the 20% jump from after the pre-order. If you didn’t get the earliest pre-order pricing, you will still be far ahead from a return perspective of ordering now versus later. (Unless you could do something for your business that would ultimately net an equivalent return and make buying the GF at its higher price a wash) :slightly_smiling:


I was fully aware of the wait times before placing my order and I have no problem with the Glowforge sales model but I do feel for anyone who jumped in without first getting the facts straight, however It’s easy enough for anyone who feels let down by having their cash on hold for that long to simply get a refund.

I get what your saying. I am getting a little antsy but we can hold in there!

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Maybe an early pre-order could make a profit by selling their place in line for cost +$400.


As a Canadian, I put my order in when the exchange rate was $1.24 and today it’s at $1.46. So for me, I saved ~15% because of the delay (compared if I was to order it today). If oil keeps taking a dive, I’ll save even more.

If it takes a few more months, I’m okay with this.


I knew what I was signing up for, and I also knew that if I didnt pre-order I would be kicking myself when waiting in line to get a glowforge at 2x the price while watching what others had been making for months already. I get first dibs and half price. Cant argue with that!

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I totally empathize with feeling uncomfortable with having money out but no product. Here’s how I thought of the process, and why I don’t mind waiting until July for the product I ordered in October. I want a laser–I want what I can do with it. Because I’m not someone with any skill or inclination to rebuild the electronics, wiring, and optics of a dangerous, cheap Chinese laser that would drive me bonkers to use, the only real alternative I have available is something like an Epilog, which costs around $8,000 for a laser with the same power level of the GF Pro I ordered (which has exactly the same MSRP).

However, the usability difference between an Epilog and the Glowforge is like the difference between a 1990’s DOS-based computer and a brand new Macbook Pro, in my mind. The promised ease of use, catalog of designs, and features list (including curve sensing) are such a vast leap in quality and user experience that there’s really no comparison between the GF and equivalently powered, currently available lasers. The Glowforge team offered me an insane deal–half price on a vastly better product–if I would participate in their crowdfunding process. To me, that meant waiting quite a while to receive my product. I felt good about the risks I took: their company was exceptionally well bankrolled by accredited investors who’ve had a lot of success, and it’s headed by an experienced entrepreneur who’s fulfilled all his promises on his previous crowdfunds. I feel like Glowforge has fulfilled its promises to me so far, and has given an excellent showing throughout this crowdfunding process.

I know how the sausage is made in manufacturing, especially in startups. The process I’ve been seeing from the Glowforge team looks normal and good to me, and indicates very good chances for producing a product I desperately want. I did “bankroll” the manufacturing of a pre-ordered product, but I expected that and don’t mind a bit.

Also, Dan answered the question of the number of refunds they’ve given, in an e-mail to owners about a month ago. If I remember correctly, it was about 1% of pre-orders. I’m excited to be part of the 99%.


My bank pays a fraction of a percent on deposits, or nearly the same as I am making on the money glowforge is holding. My bank’s website contains stock pictures of smiling people doing things with borrowed money that don’t really interest me. Glowforge’s website is filled with pictures of things I actually want and want to make. I’ll stay away from my stocks :cry:. All in all I’m not unhappy with glowforge.

Yes we are the financing vehicle, but that was known when we clicked the buy button.


Better yet, take delivery within 6 months and immediately resell it for the full retail price on eBay. On paper, you would be the smartest ‘bank’ in the history of banking, getting ~200% APR return on your first loan!


It’s NOT about the interest I would be making on the 5K. It’s about a cool slick video about a cool product they created and crowdfunding to fill all the orders they were getting because the price was 50% off. I’ve crowdfunded many things. I love crowdfunding. When I ordered NOBODY was saying July 2016, NOBODY said they still needed beta testing. They were actually saying first quarter 2016. Nothing was said about the product needing a testing phase still. I thought this would go into production and we would all be happily laser cutting along by April, maybe even May. Has even 1 beta machine been shipped? How is that testing going along? Maybe it would be nice if they held our place in line for a 50% deposit instead of payment in full (plus shipping) for something they have no idea when they will ship? Let’s be honest, the video was pretty cool, very slick, made it look like they invented this cool laser and it was ready to be used by ANYONE, even a mom in her kitchen. Like every household was ready to have one. But now the big question is when?

The version we see on the videos is a full functioning unit. They have lugged versions around the country. There is working examples in their office. It is a product. But the plans are to exceed that product. And they had to tweak the design to make it better. The upgraded power supplies seem to have held up a bit of the project timeline. Coordinating the suppliers and the build team is what I can only imagine is akin to trying to put spandex on a cat. . Sorry for the visual. That is why Dan has never nailed down a ship date for first orders. I agree with this reasoning. I would rather under speculate and over deliver.
As far as we, as early adopters are concerned, are not funding salaries or any overhead. We are basically getting a product at close to actual build cost. I am confident this is the most transparent ‘crowdfunded’ project ever to be conceived.
I’m happy knowing that first quarter I can ramp up production. The Turtles game story is so compelling and highlights @dan commitment to ship a product worldwide and on time.


@simplystated1 I get the feeling of frustration. I, too, watched the video and thought "surely, it’s already done and there’s little else to be worked on."
I didn’t jump on the wagon until about the $12M point in funding, despite knowing about it when orders were below $1.5M. But what swayed me was the combination of knowing that a) it was good value, b) @dan stating that he would refund orders up until the actual ship date, c) he had third-party financial backing/investing lined up, and d) being Canadian, the slide in the exchange rate was going to make it more and more expensive the longer I waited, since GF takes the money up-front.

Am I disappointed that I’m not getting mine for a few months compared to a few weeks? Sure, but I won’t bust @dan’s breeches for successfully marketing a product. Every time someone in business promises “first quarter” of anything, I realize that March 31st is technically “first quarter” as well.

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Understand the frustration. This issue was discussed at length in the first month after the initial pre-order. There were significant number of people that were unclear as to planned shipping schedule. Could the company have been more clear? Certainly. Was the information available? Yes. I ordered on the first day and it was very clear to me that the units were still in development and it was also on the Company website that the plan was to deliver pre-orders over the next few quarters. That is consistent with the current official by June date. Might change but so far has not. I researched thoroughly because $2000 was a lot of money for me.