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Firstly, I apologize to everyone who is waiting for eMail replies, repaired Pandoras or similar from me.
The business plan and the planning of the production in Germany did eat most of my time, so I'm way behind with emails and Pandora repairs!
It's the most important thing right now. Once the business plan is finished (probably early next week), it's time to find investors to get all the money needed and then it's time to sign the offer with Global Components.

Once that's done, the move to a german production company will finally have started and take a while. That's when I will have a lot more time to work on mails, Hotfix 6 and repairing Pandoras.

Even if some won't believe it: I'm only human. Yes, really

Now, time for some news, isn't it?

1. Quotation from Global Components

I got the final quotation yesterday. As expected, it's more expensive than CircuitCo (Germany is ALWAYS more expensive), but I'm pretty content with it.
As the price is calculated on the time that is needed for production, I also got a first estimation of how fast the production can happen.

Basically, calculating the estimated time is simple:

The main population is being done by a machine.
It is known, how many parts per minute the machine can place on the boards. So based on the amount of parts that are on a Pandora board, the time can be calculated.

First you load all the needed reels with the parts into the machine. Depending on how many different parts you have, this takes a while.
For the Pandora, this actually takes a full working day (8 hours!).

Then the machine automatically populates the PCBs. This happens in three steps for the Pandora: Both sides need to be populated and the RAM needs to be put PoP (package on package) on the OMAP.
It takes 22 hours to populate 1000 PCBs (approx. every 1,5 minutes one PCB is fully populated).
After that, they go into the oven so that the parts are baked onto the PCB. And that's it.

So SMD population of 1000 boards takes about 30 hours. That is about a week. Nice

After that, there's manual soldering to be done. Nubs, Volume wheels. And testing. Each test takes 4 minutes.
Since they have multiple people working on this, it will be another 30 hours.
However, that can be done while the population goes on.

So basically, they could theoretically produce 1000 boards within two weeks.

Right now, I'm planning with 1000 boards each month for a start. That should be realistic. And better be safe than sorry... something we learnt the hard way.

So, while production speed actually seems to be pretty fast, this does not mean that we'll have thousands of Pandoras soon.
The machine needs to be programmed, bare PCBs need to be prepared and a prototype testing run needs to be done (though if that one goes without issues, the real production can start right away).
And: It won't happen before the order is signed - and therefore, money is needed.

Which leads us to the next point...

2. Investors for OpenPandora GmbH welcome

To move the production to Germany, money is needed.
There were quite a few refunds lately and CircuitCo delivering boards at a crawling speed is not helping much either.
And we need to make sure there's also money there when more people want to get a refund before the Pandoras are finished!

Of course, we could try to fund it with iControlPad sales at some time - but who knows how long that would need.
Aditionally, we don't just want to deliver all remaining preorders but have the Pandora produced at a regular basis so future users can buy them without having to wait.
Production needs to become reliable and steady.

That's the reason I've been working on a business plan for the last weeks: It actually is a pretty accurate calculation of the costs and time needed.
Once all preorders are fullfilled, there can be made some money from it. I discussed this with my tax counsellor (who is experienced with stuff like this) and she thinks it should certainly be possible to get some big investor.

I prefer trusted community members and known Pandora users. You can be sure notch will be one of the very first to receive a copy of the business plan!
Of course, anyone here from the boards can also help us out with some investments.
We need to set a minimum amount though, otherwise it will be way too much paperwork. The minimum amount should be something like 10.000 EUR.

If everything goes according to the plan, the invested money would be fully refinanced next year May and from then on, it's time to make money with the Pandora.

This should be a very interesting opportunity for every investor. You can be sure my main goal in September will be to find an investor and sign the order for the production as soon as possible.

If you are seriously interested in investing money or do know someone who would be interested, get in touch with me (via PM or eMail). I'll send you a copy of the business plan as well as soon as it's finished.

One thing is sure: I'll only accept silent investors. That is: Investors who get their share of profit each year, but are not involved in any decisions. We all want to keep the Pandora the way it is!

I'm happy to share the success of the Pandora with anyone, who helps to make the Pandora successful

3. Preorder time!

What? Again?
Are you kidding me?
You want more money from us before you even delivered the units?

Well... no.
Yes, there will be another time to place a preorder soon.
But no: You won't need to pay any money upfront.

As said, we really NEED to move away from paid preorders.
So what's the reason we want more preorders then?

Easy. Basically, there are two reasons:

1. I get so many eMails from people who want to order the Pandora. A preorder makes sense
2. The more preorders we get, the more easy it is to find an investor! Just imagine you can tell an investor "Hey, I already got way more customers than I need!"... this will certainly help a lot.

I will start taking preorders probably the end of next week.
If you are interested in a second unit or know anyone who would love to get a Pandora: Let them know!
The more orders we get, the better. And there is no risk involved - well, except for that you will have to buy a Pandora once it's finished.

4. What about CircuitCo?

They are still repairing the remaining boards. That takes some time.
They shipped another 50 boards last week.
So there will be some more Pandoras shipped soon, but I personally don't expect them to be able to repair much faster.
That's why I'm currently concentrating on the future Pandora production.

5. Conclusion

In my opinion, things are looking good.
Yes, it surely will take a while until the "German Pandoras" will be finished. I'm happy if we get the first units until November / December, but I can't guarantee anything.
Well, I can guarantee to keep you informed about every step that happens.

First step is to gather enough money to make this happen. But this certainly seems possible. The Pandora will keep alive. I'm sure of that, because as a community, we can achieve everything if we just try to do so

So for everyone who walked with us the long way: Thanks a lot! You really rock!
And to newcomers: The Pandora rocks. That's what so many people who got one tell you. And that's why you can be sure we will do EVERYTHING we're capable of to continue the production!