Four days into a Kickstarter campaign, Australian startup GoFar has exceeded its $50,000 goal, raising more than $63,000 this week from more than 400 backers.
GoFar is a smart driving platform developed by a brainy Australian aerospace engineer by the name of Danny Adams.
Adams and his team have developed the driving optimisation app which provides real-time feedback to help you save fuel and reduce emissions.
Adams said his highly technical background has been key to getting the tech to where it is today.
“As an engineer you become a trained professional problem solver, and business is all about solving problems, it’s a good fit,” he said. “My co-founder Ian often refers to me as a rocket scientist and it’s not untrue, I did study rocket science at UNI.”
He said starting out, his degree helped people take him seriously.
“More fundamentally, in business you need to have a keen eye for the numbers and maths heavy engineering degrees serve well,” he said.
Drawing on his engineering background, when Adams launched GoFar he spent about $50,000 lodging patents over several years, but in hindsight, he told Business Insider he wouldn’t do that again. Instead, he said he would focus on customer validation.
“I think people tend to start with what’s familiar. So lawyers tend to start with legals, accounts start with the numbers, developers start with code, and as an engineer, I started with patents,” he said.
“In hindsight, starting with patents was actually a very risky approach and I probably would not do it the same way if I were starting again.
“If I were to start again today I would start talking to customers from day one, IP and everything else would come second.”
But despite that, he thinks the risk of acquiring patents upfront has paid off.
“There are very few start-ups at our stage who have granted US patents and the investment in IP has paid back multiples in terms of valuation achieved during our first investment round,” he said.
GoFar works by utilising the science behind a car’s engine. For every engine speed there is a sweet spot – an optimum throttle position that maximises your power and minimises your fuel consumption.
That optimal running spot is different for every engine and is difficult to figure out.
Adams told Business Insider, launching a startup taught him things take much longer than expected.
“When you make an estimate of how long things will take and how much they will cost multiply both by three and you might be getting closer to reality,” he said.
When Adams first spoke to Business Insider, he was coming off the back of very little sleep. He explained while the challenges of running a startup change over time, the most difficult and persistent hurdle is mental exhaustion.
“The pressure and uncertainty will push you to breaking point again and again, and you must bounce back again and again,” he said.
“In the early days of working full time on my business I was alone, working 80 hours per week, not earning a cent, the enormity of the task at hand was overwhelming, I had run out of money, struggled to pay rent and a hand full of times even went hungry.
“I wondered ‘why am I doing this?’ I was often tempted to just put in a job application or two. The lure of security and a steady monthly pay cheque was almost impossible to resist but I knew I couldn’t give in.
“I couldn’t let the pressure break me, I just had to push through, I knew that there was nothing else I wanted to do more with my life, the only way was to keep going.”