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Local company stays afloat thanks to Kickstarter

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Posted at 3:49 PM, Apr 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-19 18:49:46-04

When faced with the choice to sink or swim, the owners of Solar Pool Technologies in Scottsdale knew they wanted to swim. But they didn't have enough money.

By 2015, they had already sold around 5,000 of their Solar Breeze pool vacuums.  It's a robotic pool cleaner that swims on the surface of the pool. A rear paddle drives it through the water and a front paddle scoops up debris. It runs on solar power and stores energy to use after the sun goes down.

"As we grew the business, it required more and more working capital to close the gap between when we have to pay our suppliers and when we get paid by our customers," said Solar Pool Technologies CEO Paul Sim. "We ran into some real challenges doing that and at the same time one of our sources of capital actually went away."

The people who were using the Solar Breeze were the first to step up.  Some urged the company to start a Kickstarter campaign. Kickstarter is a crowdfunding website that helps people launch projects.

It worked. "The first weekend we had raised $150,000 in pledges," Sim said.

By the end, there was $400,000 to move forward.  The company developed the Solar Breeze NX and unveiled it in the fall. Sim said the new model is going fast, they've pre-sold 1,900 units and have 2,400 in production with plans to add 1,000 more that will hopefully be available before the end of pool season.

Click here if you're interested in learning more or to pre-order your own.