Game-changing technology, no venture capital

Tractors, farm equipment, built at around one eighth the cost. Industrial equipment too. Superior design. Handmade quality. Problem? Investment. Solve it, and Jakubowski becomes a household word. That might just happen anyway

Here’s a test of your entrepreneurial capability. If you watch this video and don’t say to yourself “I’ve got to watch that again”, then save yourself a lot of wasted time and effort and give up right now. Get a regular job.

My take on some missed financing and marketing opportunities

Marcin Jakubowski is a member of that exclusive club whose aim is to solve the world’s biggest problems. Membership criteria include applicants presenting an impressive case claiming that they have the technology to do it. The only dilemma for the membership committee: the investment model is based upon donations.

The graph in his video is showing exponential growth in the donations his project is receiving. The world’s biggest problems are those which are catered for by the donation-funded non-profit sector.

The non-profit sector’s primary message is and always has been that their existing business model simply doesn’t give them the investment capability that they need in order to solve those problems on their own. They also tell us that those problems are in many cases getting worse.

His donations graph will need to stay on a north-bound trajectory for some time in order to change this particular game. We hope that it’s sustainable. History supports strong scepticism about whether it can scale to meet his lofty aims.

Maybe Marcin is too idealistic to pursue conventional financing. Maybe his approach will not need anything other than the momentum it is already generating. But maybe it opens up other possibilities.

For instance, there is nothing to stop a market leading manufacturer charging an (optional?) premium to (for example) farmers, whereby, when the farmer buys a brand name tractor, the manufacturer donates a Jakubowski Open Source tractor to some deserving destination in the developing world. Or when a large food growing corporation buys a whole load of new agricultural equipment, the premium in that case is enough for the manufacturer to ship one of Jakubowski’s DIY agricultural machinery manufacturing plants (which in fact also costs a disproportionately tiny amount) to some impoverished community that couldn’t possibly afford to buy anything from that manufacturer.

Farmers are only too aware of the problems that under-resourced agricultural operations experience. They are by nature generous, but they are also practical, so they recognise the value in helping people help themselves, rather than perpetuating unsustainable long-term dependency.

The appeal of introducing this marketing opportunity to conventional manufacturers may have escaped our intrepid innovator, perhaps because he imagines that existing brands will see it exclusively as being a competing offering. But existing manufacturers, keenly aware of the sentiments of their clients, could easily be persuaded of the CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) attractions of an offering which could provide some serious, low-cost, high perceived value brand reinforcement in a fiercely competitive marketplace.