Suntactics was founded in 2009, and here is my story.
My name is Dean, CEO of Suntactics, BSCS, BSEE. I
am also, humbly said, pretty fluent with CAD design and
This write-up is mostly to inspire the idea of starting your own business with a great new idea. It is how we overcame obstacles and persevered.
Gary, my good friend and co-founder, are both engineers in the high tech field. Gary from Oracle and I from HP. We both received pink slips around the same time (2008) during the recession. And we both found it very difficult to find a job at the time.
Gary and I love building and flying RC airplanes. One day Gary suggested making a solar powered RC aircraft as a product idea and to kill some time.
Working out of our garages, we built a 15 foot wing span solar powered RC aircraft that actually flew! It was a fun project to keep our stress level in check as well. But we soon found out it was not fit for an actual product. Regardless, this project helped me become very familiar working with raw solar cells and curving them to a wing foil. As well as sealing them into an actual solar panel.
Solar powered RC plane
I don’t how it happened, but one day NASA contacted us requesting a flexible solar panel to fit a wing foil. This got our attention! NASA wanted us to mount solar cells to a research drone. We were on-board with them for while. But with the trying times and continued recession in 2009, NASA faced some financial pitfalls and the project was scrapped.
Solar powered drone
More opportunities came and went. In the mean time, we made a fully functional prototype solar generator and a small solar panel lamination machine. I used pizza oven coils, found at good will, to heat an aluminum plate so that I can make small solar panels. It also required a vacuum system and dual chambers as well.
Yard Cart Towable Portable Solar Generator
Our first solar panel laminator
After 18 months out of work, we needed a product soon. Something we are both passionate about..solar. Then Gary told me about a business class he attended. He learned something very valuable. Start small and simple!
I took this concept very seriously. So on one of my very normal late night evenings, I had an epiphany. Would a solar phone charger be a good idea? I could not stand it. It kept me awake into the late hours trying to think out a solar solution to charge an iPhone. It was perfect, the iPhone market was huge at the time and still is.
It took over 6 months of grueling hard work to perfect the process of producing a fully functional solar charger. This included lamination with the latest composites, polymers, circuit design, and over all deployment challenges. Then finally we had the ultimate solar charger that we released in the summer of 2010.
Unfortunately Gary had to quit the our business and needed to go his own way to find a real job. We are still very good friends. But since then, Suntactics ended up doing very well. We have shipped over 30 thousand solar chargers to date! We continue to make improvements based on customer feedback. Now there many USB handheld devices and phones. All of them can charge from Suntactics solar chargers.
Our first model solar charger named"PC5"
Early production Aug 2010
One of three of our custom laminators
Final advice: If you are product ready, do not waste the time to make it absolutely perfect. This will be your downfall. Customers will be very happy with what you have and you will have plenty of opportunities to improve your product as time goes on. Believe me! Customers love upgrades. Draw a line and get the damn thing to market!
We are now offering a solar tracking system. Check it out. Suntactics Solar tracker
Dean Sala, CEO Suntactics
sCharger-8's going to Puerto Rico for hurricane relieve, 2017.
If you have what it takes, have a great idea, and the passion to start a business, I say go for it. But it is imperative that you make a good business plan in writing that includes sales forecasts. And do your market research as well. I can't emphasize this more. It is a must. You may have a great idea in your own mind but it may not be so great for the actual consumer. Create a Facebook business page and present your idea. We found that Facebook is a great way to get input. You will need to invest about $100 into a campaign. Then wait for the results.