Back to the Future Past

By April 16, 2020Uncategorized

In 2017, when this website was created and when I had just returned from the incredibly wonderful NMotion startup accelerator in Lincoln, Nebraska, things were going in a positive direction for my company, Kronfeld Motors. I had 25 reservations from 25 wonderful people who put down payments to reserve a vehicle. In addition to the reservations,  we had generated some great press and we had been recently featured on a TV series spotlighting cool, exotic new vehicles called Tech Toys 360, (on Netflix, I think we’re in episode #6); the show did an awesome job making the Raht look like an exotic supercar from the future, instead of the functional yet unrefined first prototype that it is.

That was then, this is after then. I owe all of the great people who fell in love with the Raht and followed me an explanation for my long silence.

Starting in the fall of 2017, numerous calamitous events befell my family. My dad was helping me load the Raht off of a trailer when a makeshift ramp I had stupidly placed at the edge, was not strong enough and broke. The rear of the Raht fell off the ramp and took my 87 year old dad with it. He had to go to the hospital. Thank God he was not seriously injured. However later that year, he became very ill, as did my mom and she began a horrible, torturous experience in the hospital which ended with her death in 2018.

In addition to these unhappy turn of events, when it came to the company and the Raht, there was something strange happening. In order to get the Raht into development for production, we had to raise money. A lot of money. To do this, required some creativity on my part, since I do not have friends in high places. Oh, sure I made pitches to investor groups and applied to a few funding sources/platforms, but I also tried making contacts, cold calling, emailing, snail mailing to people that might have had an interest in the Raht.

Now, I have been a show business entrepreneur most of my life. I’ve been very fortunate to work with really talented, good people who were also entrepreneurial in show business. We struggled, had some success, some failures, but eventually made progress overall. My experience with attempting to promote and find funding for Kronfeld Motors was unlike anything I’d ever encountered. Not only was I completely unsuccessful in finding anyone to help me fund the company, curious episodes would happen where someone I had reached out to was suddenly, inexplicably offended and people I had hired to help me in this regard were incompetent to the point of harming the company. In addition, I found myself making really stupid mistakes which led to more missed opportunities with potential contacts.

And work on the prototype fared no better. Ryan Anderson, my friend and lead engineer had re arranged his work situation, so he could work on the vehicle with me. In session after session, we would run into cascading electronic failures. Also a number of batteries in the vehicle failed and we did manage to successfully replace them, but progress on our control system was not to be had. Ryan, who has a beautiful, young family had to go back full time and use his engineering skills and great work ethic somewhere he could actually make money.

Finally, last year, I had no choice but to shudder the company. After thousands of dollars and hours into my dream as well as the dream of the people who helped me and all the supporters, I had to end it all and drive the Raht off a cliff, jumping out just in time and watch it explode into a fireball. No, wait, that was Bullitt, or maybe Star Trek 2009. Sorry.

Anyway, I’ve gone on too long and bored you to tears; TLDR. Now that we are all in an upside down world, I will sink a little time into looking for an investor again. Lots of great companies started in really bad economic times. A little company you might have heard of named Disney started in 1929, right at the beginning of the Great Depression. So who knows.

Thank you.

-R

Rich Kronfeld

Author Rich Kronfeld

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Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • M says:

    I really liked them and wanted one, I never could afford one, but that was then. I honestly like to see people make mistakes because in the end they learn from them just as you had. See if Bafang will work with you as a joint effort and you might have the leg work done for you by them. Just a thought, I have no idea if it would work but it is worth a shot. You were fortunate to have people work with you before and you may be able to find someone to work with again. Best of luck to you and I hope you find somebody to help get the project off the ground.

    • Rich Kronfeld says:

      Thanks very much. I mostly get spammed here, so a real note from a real person is a treat and appreciated. I am starting to try to find someone again to help fund it and yes I was fortunate to find some very good people.

      R

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