Solaesthetic is Seeking Partners and Investors.

Here is an opportunity to make a creative, effective contribution to our environmental problems. The returns for investment are both personal and financial. Equity stakes are available at this early stage along with the chance to influence to evolution of Solaesthetic.

Read on if you are interested…

Solaesthetic Overview

Solaesthetic (Sol-es-thé-tik) is a creative and positive response to environmental necessities and to the opportunities that are generated by these necessities.

Solaesthetic is based on ideas and inventions that Dan Hughes-McGrail has been patiently developing over the last seven years. The intention is to make the world a better place by producing renewable energy options that are beautiful and in sympathy with architecture and in harmony with the local ecology. We will overcome the raw functionalism that dominates the renewable energy market by providing aesthetically diverse alternatives. Critically, our approach treats aesthetic function as equivalent to utility function. Our focus is micro generation and localised energy production at the domestic and neighbourhood scales.

For Solaesthetic, beauty and aesthetic impact are fully part of and installations sustainability function. People are the power that shapes the world. So to be truly sustainable, renewable energy systems must be designed so that people will really want them in their world. People love beautiful things, and they will invest in, and maintain beautiful things for the long-term. This concept is critical to creating the things that will become part our ecologically sustainable heritage.

The business will consist of two interdependent branches of activity. One branch is a design and installation practice, that specialises in producing beautiful, site specific, renewable energy installations. A practice engaged the design and project management of installations.  The other activity is a Research and Product Design practice that invents and designs the devices and components needed to build the installations, but which will also work to create discrete products for licensed manufacture by third-party companies.

Our designs will be made in line with the Solaesthetic Ethos, a design philosophy developed by Dan Hughes-McGrail, which is an ecologically informed set of principles, whose purpose is to guide the innovation process and hold it to clear sustainability objectives.

Dan says “We want to make things that people want to live with for generations. To make them sustainable, we need to create the desire to maintain and sustain them – love them even. We can achieve this by appealing to the aesthetic instincts that motivate us to preserve and cherish beautiful artworks and old architecture. We can make things really well, that are highly durable, and built to be maintained indefinitely. We also need to create things that can carry meaning for people in the way that artwork can. By producing beautiful alternatives we can bring renewable technologies closer to people’s hearts and create a high value desire-led market”

In preparation for the start up Dan has selected four of his inventions that are the technically simplest of his ideas which will be the simplest to bring to market. Take a look. The Fluent Column and Solopticon devices are the most developed, having been taken through prototype phases. Vapour Stack and  Genius Foci still need work to bring them on, but the work needed is relatively straightforward.

Business Model

The Solaesthetic business model is part design practice, part innovation management system, part prosthelatyising educator, and part consultancy.

Solaesthetic will consist of a digital design studio alongside, with fabrication workshop/lab capacity. We will also use test places on the land. The digital studio’s core activities will be design, computer modelling, research and simulation. The workshop/lab is there for model-building which will be used to work out practical techniques needed to build the devices and installations. The boundary between departments will be very porous with designer/makers moving freely between the two. The use of computer controlled production methods like additive layer and laser profiling, increase design freedom and accelerate the development cycles.

The design and installation element of the practice, will operate in a similar way to an architectural design business, but one with the build and project managemnt capacity to develop energy systems for specific sites.

Solaesthetic fuses techniques and methods derived from engineering, construction, sculpture and physical sciences. It makes heavy use of 3D digital modelling, simulation in combination with real-world prototyping in a highly efficient iterative development cycle.

Site specific installation projects will be will be funded directly by clients or other sources like grants, competitions and/or Crowdfunded projects. There are a few subsidies and tax incentives available for this kind of installation.

In approaching site specific installations, great care and attention will be given to response to the technical and aesthetic character of each particular property. Design criteria will be developed per project, inline with the clients needs, but contained and channeled by the Solaesthetic Ethos.

Project work will generate the necessities that lead to inventions, feeding the other side of Solaesthetic’s practice. The product design branch of the business will identify candidate technologies that are invented for the site specific projects, for productisation. The other  purpose of the product development side of the practice is to produce intellectual property packages and licenses that are easy to propagate to third party businesses. Over time, this will generate a portfolio of original intellectual property, which will become a source of royalty/license based revenue. This is where the long-term revenue stability and profitability of Solaesthetic really lies.

The two sides of the business will cross-fertilise each other. Installation Projects will generate innovation by necessity and also provide marketing tools for subsequent sales and further licensing agreements. Our refined modular products will also make it easier to develop more creative scope in the site-specific installation practice and give us more off the shelf solutions to choose from for future designs.

These core activities of the business could also be augmented with revenue from consultancy for third-party manufacturers and outreach/training programs for those who want to commercialise our IP.

The final specific structure for the business is still being worked on as you read this. Dan wants to allow input from the investors and partners who get involved. That said, the business structure is likely to resemble a blend of an architecture firm, a small fabrication workshop, an IT lab, and a product design practice. Additionally, the company’s articles of association will contain a statement of purpose that is in line with the principles laid out in the Solaesthetic Ethos.

Market Focus

The most impactful sector of renewable energy market is Heating and Cooling, which e.g. accounts for 65% of energy consumption in Europe and more in the USA. We will begin our efforts with solar thermal energy systems  for heating and cooling.The reason for this is that Solar thermal systems are also the simplest technologically and hence the easiest to bring to market quickly. Dan has developed several strong ideas in this area.

It is a very large marketplace and one that is becoming more important given the context of fossil fuel energy price trends and the generally recognised need for energy self-reliance at all scales of consumption.

When Solaesthetic is fullly established, we can expand into more technical area, like sustainable personal transport and domestic heat and power; domestic scale wind generation and micro-steam power. Solaesthetic’s Ethos suggests a focus on providing localised domestic energy production, every property should be producing at least some of it’s own energy. So it will be our ongoing mission to produce viable aesthetically driven alternatives in all relevant areas.

At the outset we must operate in high-end architectural markets; Including historic houses, heritage buildings, hotels, leisure centres, high-end domestic and public buildings. Our projects and products are relatively expensive and this is the market sector that afford our high value installations. When we have established and proven the designs, we will spin out our systems and methods into more generalised markets via licensing arrangements with 3rd party manufacturers.

Dan’s research has shown that the market is substantially more developed and more receptive in Europe, North America, Middle East, and North Africa. Solaesthetic will most likely become primarily active in European Markets. However, the UK is also a very under-developed market and there is rich territory in the heritage, tourism, public buildings and recreational sectors, where our products could produce highly valuable USPs for buildings managers. The problem with the UK market is receptiveness to the ideas, but Dan believes that Solaesthetic’s design will be attractive enough to break through an innate resistance to renewables that exists in the UK ‘domestic’ markets.

Location

Dan has recently re-registered the company and is setting up the design studio in Stroud, Gloucestershire. This where most of the design and development work will be done.

Stroud offers a sympathetic habitat to an innovation based business. It has a long industrial heritages that stretches back to the very beginnings of water powered industry. As a result they are packed with small engineering firms, high end fabricators, art foundries, control electronics firms and high-level skilled craft workers in metal, glass, ceramic, textile and wood.  There are lots of highly skilled people working, and at the right scale for Solaesthetic’s purposes. This enables an approach to design that is quite unrestricted.

Dan says, “If we can think something up, then we can find someone nearby who can make make it. In fact, just knowing that they are there and their skills are available extends what you can imagine making”

Having such a diverse manufacturing capacity on hand allows a business model that is highly efficient as we won’t need to develop all our capacities in-house. So we can concentrate on the skills that are critical to design, innovation, consultancy and Intellectual Property management.

Dan is a member of 3MBIC in Huddersfield, which means that Solaesthetic has access to specialist technical services, equipment, lab space, and scientific knowledge. Membership also holds opportunities for collaborations with Huddersfield University.  3MBIC has subsidised additive layer manufacturing (3D printing) machines, super computing simulation servers, robotic milling, high accuracy measuring and testing equipment.

Stroud has unique features that make it an ideal base for Solaesthetic Design Studio/Lab. Entrepreneurialism is normal in this town (Remarkably, 42% of the working population are self-employed). It has an unusually high concentration people with very high levels of education and training, particularly in the creative, specialist fabrication and engineering fields. Stroud is a locus for renewable energy enterprises with several renewable energy related businesses based in the area. There is widespread understanding and acceptance of environmental and sustainability issues

First Steps

Solaesthetic at the beginning of the start up process, So now is the best time to get involved to have the maximum impact on the course of the busineass.

Our first priority to establish Solaesthetic’c credibility as an entity and the best way to achieve this is to make a very fine example of our design and installation approach. So that people can look, touch and be persuaded by it’s physical reality.

The first Installation Project will be based upon the SolOptIcon Solar Thermal Collector and the Genius Foci Product.

We are looking for a suitable site to host it and some funding to ease the cost to the host.

Ideally we will find an owner/ manager of a beautiful building or new build project who wants to have one designed and installed.  They are tax incentives for reducing carbon output. We are also considering a  Crowdfunder campaign. this is in development and is not live yet.

Solaesthetic needs People

Dan Hughes-McGrail is currently the sole owner. He is looking for partners to work with and investors. He is seeking people who are inspired and motivated to act on ecological and sustainability issues.(especially if you have architectural, design, legal and business skills to contribute.) The Solaesthetic Concept is quite well developed, but Dan wants people to bring their own ideas and to help shape Solaesthetic as it grows.

He would prefer to work with people who are prepared to take a both a practical and an emotional stake in this adventure. The best way to make a business succeed and protect its integrity is to have it run by people who have social, emotional and financial stakes in it. Who will want to nurture the business, make it thrive and survive.

Although Solaesthetic originates from Dan Hughes-McGrail’s inspiration, it will need the contribution of several people with differing personalities and skills in order to grow into living profitable business.

Solaesthetic needs you… if you can contribute with expertise in the following areas:

Architecture

Engineering design

Product design

Financial management, Ideally with IP experience

Surveying

Sales – Heritage / Architecture / Design sectors

Legal – IP / Contract

Digital 3D modelling/ Simulation / CAD / Generative design techniques

IT and simple coding

Project management

High level Craft Skills

Dan can contribute and give guidance in all of these areas, but the best use of his abilities is in the design process, project management and overall strategy.

In the start up phase of this business, many of these skills can be bought in e.g. legal services, IT support, and some CAD tasks. However, It is crucial that the design side and prototype development is kept under Solaesthetic’s control. It is best to bring these core activities in house as soon as possible.

It is important to be aware that this business is based on an ethical vision and hence our activities will be held firmly to an ethical framework. Early investors and partners will have an opportunity to shape this framework and define the business in the early stages, but you should generally agree with the ideas and principles that Solaesthetic espouses. The starting points for these principles are outlined in the Solaesthetic Ethos.

Contact Dan directly to discuss anything.

Money

Solaesthetic Research and Design Limited is seeking investment. Working Capital during the start up period in order to pay for its activities until revenue streams are established from sales.

The money will be spent on:

  • Wages/Fees
  • Studio Costs
  • R&D materials/services
  • Promotions
  • Sales activities
  • Professional and Legal Fees

Solaesthetic needs this investment in the forms of direct personal investment or in kind work/services/goods in return for and agreed equity equivalent

For the startup period the share of ownership available to investors will not exceed 49% in the first round. After three years this can be renegotiated. The rationale for this is to keep a clear direction in the critical nascent phase of the business.

The equity evaluation value of the company at this point spring 2018 is approx. £211,600

The quantity needed for the startup is approx £150,000 in two rounds. The first £75,000 near the beginning of the first year and the 2nd £75,000 near the beginning of the second year.

The expected turnover for the first three years are £272,000, £620,000 and £1,200,000. W eexpect the company to be quite profitable once it is up and running. The potential for healthy dividends is good.

Investors would be expected to stay with the company for a minimum of 3 year, and preference is given for those with longer term intentions. There will be an option to sell shares as a whole or in part at the value the company has reached at that point. Shares must be offered to comany members first and Solaesthetic Ltd will be refinanced at that time based on the established revenues. 

In future, there may be Crowdfunding campaigns launched to raise subscriptions for specific Projects. This will not effect the equity allocations.