Update time! With everything going on with AmmoSquared, I want to get on a regular cadence of updates, so investors and supporters (pre-investors?) can stay up to date. Once the campaign is over these will happen over email. I'm looking for a tool that will help us stay organized on investor contact information and communications in the future, so if you know of anything that might be a good fit, mention it in the comments section below and we'll take a look.
Speaking of the Wefunder campaign... our "official" end date is just a month away: March 20th. We have had some discussion about extending it and that is still an option, but for now plan on March 20th for the close of the campaign. If you haven't jumped in yet, now would be a great time to do so because we have some great momentum and you won't want to miss this opportunity to invest in a 2A startup!
Our first announcement is what I consider a huge win for us: With the money from the first round of investors we have "hired" our first contract developer to start building out the new platform. We were very selective and didn't want to go with just any developer.
So, drum roll... everyone meet Ramin Keene - former Software Architect and CTO of StockX - a company that created a stock exchange for physical consumer goods (they started with high demand sneakers). Ramin helped build and scale StockX's technology platform from 2015 to 2018 as it grew exponentially from a handful of employees to hundreds and the seed funding stage (like us!) to over $160m in outside capital. That company now has a valuation of close to a billion dollars and over 1,000 employees!
Needless to say, Ramin knows what it takes to take a small company and help it scale. He is the right guy for our tech build and I feel like it was a stroke of luck that he was available and knew Chris, our CTO. In our interview he had a bunch of great ideas and was very excited to work on something as innovative as AmmoSquared. We're excited to have him on board. I want to point out that it was only through the first round of Wefunder investor dollars that we were able to hire him and get him working on the tech build. So a special thanks to everyone that has invested so far, we are moving in the right direction thanks to your support.
So what have we actually accomplished in the past two weeks on the technology side?
Our CTO, Chris Corriveau, is now a very busy man so here is his quick summary of our recent technology progress:
I know it doesn't sound like much, but after years of working with a sub-par technology platform, it is nice to see progress being made in this area. Our plan is to have something customer facing by the April-May timeframe. Also, just to remind you about this perk: if you are at the $750 contribution level or higher you'll get early access to the platform along with your name proudly displayed in the app as a contributor.
With the first round of funds from the Wefunder campaign we were also able to start on a handful of marketing efforts to bring in more customers and more investors. Here is a summary:
Digital Ads - you might have seen these on popular firearms related websites like AR15.com, WikiArms, Armslist, Glocktalk, Gun.Deals and Shotgunworld.com to name a few. We're running both our Wefunder investment ad and our Ammo Giveaway ad to get some brand recognition and traffic to both the main site and the Wefunder page.
[Side note: Display ads are not terribly effective as a marketing tool. One of the reasons we have decided to try them is that as an ammunition company we are not allowed to run more effective Social Media ads on Facebook, Instagram or Google. It is actually one of the many roadblocks to running a pro-2A company... there are forces at work against us that shut us out of many of the typical services a growing business would use such as Stripe, Square, Facebook, Instagram, Google, etc...basically "Big Tech".
This is a topic you'll hear me preach about more in the future because I feel the general public needs to know more about the struggles a small tech company in the ammunition industry faces getting financing, picking a payment processor, or doing marketing. It is discrimination and I'm tired of it.
In fact, I'll be on Gun Talk Radio this Sunday at 4:10 EST to talk about our company and I plan to bring this up as a topic of discussion, because people need to know what an uphill battle we're fighting here against Big Tech. Sorry for the rant. Now back to the update...]
Direct Mail - We're going to try our hand at getting the word out to potential investors using a physically mailed postcard. Yep you heard that right - direct mail isn't just for dentists and chiropractors anymore! When you are fighting a guerrilla war for exposure, everything is on the table. We'll see how it turns out. Our goal is to pique some folks interest enough to become customers and invest in the Wefunder.
Partner Emails - You will soon start seeing us pop up in unexpected ways as we work with partners to help us promote the AMMO² brand and the investment opportunity using targeted emails from partners like Gun Talk and Recoil.
Social Media - You'll also start to see some changes on our social media accounts. We have contracted with a company that handles social media professionally. It is no secret that we are not posting on social as we should be. And...our posts kinda suck frankly. We're looking to change that with some better planning and strategy around the content we post. Look for that soon.
As I mentioned above, we are possibly in the last month of the Wefunder campaign. We'll see if we can get some more momentum going with all of the above initiatives before deciding to close or extend. So that said, we're honing our "TBD" perks and have decided on our Tactical Bag perk! (Well at least the bag part and not the "filled with ammo and shooting related goodies" part.)
The First Tactical 1/2 Day Specialist 25L Bag ($100 retail price)
While I know nobody invests just for the perks... they are kinda nice to get as a special "Thank You" for different contribution levels. This is our $1,000 level and will include the bag and the aforementioned still-to-be-decided-ammo-and-shooting-goodies. You'll also get the 5% off lifetime discount from the $500 level and a bunch of AMMO² swag to show off to your buddies, plus other cool stuff... not to mention the best part: actual stock in a growing, innovative ammunition technology company! :)
It's an exciting time for AmmoSquared Inc. and I want to thank you again if you are already an investor and mention to everyone else that there is no better time to invest in our company then today... You get in on the ground floor of a historic ammo company, join a cool community, support the gun industry, strengthen the 2nd Amendment, and even get some kick-ass perks as a bonus! What's not to like? :)
Take care everyone!
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