KPower Executive Summary- Restructuring for Growth (draft)
K-Power is an Austin-based Airborne Wind Energy (AWE) llc that began in 2007 as CMNA, with a close connection to KiteShip of Alameda, CA (the legendary Dave Culp advising). The start-up incubated and graduated from the University of Texas affiliated ATI (Austin Technology Incubator), winning various business awards, and even landing a 2010 Challenge Investment from innovation leader, Austin Energy; the first electric utility in the world to directly support AWE R&D as a potential renewable energy game-changer. KPower also developed strategic partnerships in R&D with the SouthWest Research Institute (SWRI) and National Instruments (the most-adopted testing and automation environment in global AWE).
WOW SpA, the original AWE investment fund and start-up holding company, entered the picture as a kPower second-round Angel. WOW's passionate and agile managers had recently delivered an industry-first profit for the many small investors (KiteGen shares premium buy-back) and are now diversifying across best-in-class AWE ventures (like KitEnergy). WOW sees in kPower a promising vehicle to consolidate scattered pioneering AWE value for investors. Thus kPower is being restructured for major growth, with world-class domain talent, the largest IP Pool (patents and CC licensing), and an industry-leading business plan. An early series of "cashless" kPower mergers, acquisitions, and partnerships are underway. The process is for obscure undervalued AWE R&D teams, as selected by WOW and kPower domain-experts, to be specially invited into kPower close-partnership, merger, acquisition, IP licensing, etc.. "Walk-on" talent and sweat-equity workers are included, based on value brought.
The first quality AWE player to jump aboard the newly restructuring kPower, as a minor equity partner, was KiteLab Group, a top circle of open-source AWE players with many firsts, and the most industry expertise in specialties like FAA regulatory compliance (TACO 1.0). Roy Mueller's Aerology Lab (founded by the great Jalbert, inventor of the parafoil) has just joined (2013). Many others* are closely affiliated by years of open cooperation, making kPower a major player second to none in the AWE race. A key person in AWE open-source is Joe Faust, the "knowledge-hub" of AWE, as its leading editor and archivist, and deep thinker. KPower is proud to work closely with Joe and his various AWE knowledge projects, as an equity partner.
K-Power's initial technical basis back in 2009 was a KiteShip OL ship-kite design modified for stable low-drag retract, and matched to a vertical-axis winch-generator. A large customized Delta was a comparative wing and pilot kite. The results were promising for K-Power's Low-Complexity "softkite-groundgen" offering , but Google's PR juggernaut, its High-Complexity AWE mindshare leader, Makani Power, for years overshadowed K-Power and all other players. Makani has since been widely judged to have badly over-reached with its unscalable premature down-select. This leaves a decade-plus window for open Low-Complexity AWE to be first-to-market and take hold as the winning lineage. kPower has continued to greatly develop Low Complexity art, with powerful new techniques like crosswind cableways in exhaustive operational testing at a dedicated "worlds-first" Kite Farm outside of Austin, TX. Ship kites are tugging away at surface generators onshore. Low-Complexity AWE is poised to comparatively test (and win) against all High-Complexity ventures. KPower's strategy is to own the winner's circle, by whatever wins in diligent flight testing.
The current kPower R&D management model is close open technical cooperation with shared microcapital between many small teams, including academic players and close NASA LaRC connections, to create advanced scale projects representing the range of contending AWE solutions. The idea is to field an engineering "sporting league" of internally-competitive prototypes (flygen, groundgen, kiteplane, soft-kite, rotor, etc.) for third-party validation by a "referee", like the world-class Fraunhofer Society (written positive intent provided). KPower's circle already claims many historic firsts and continues delivering the most new firsts, from megascale demonstrations (Mothra1) to small commercial AWES offerings (with world-leader kite manufacturer and distribution partners for early products like KiteSat (TM), like New Tech Kites, Gomberg International, etc.). Many "disruptive" kPower concepts were first carefully explored on the AWES Forum (expert forum-of-record in AWE). A consensus business strategy emerged to surf anticipated fast growth of a vast AWE industry, based on constantly recycling equity (and rotating control) by programmed by-backs. If successful, the eventual mature equity structure of AWE riches would include all stakeholders, particularly local highly impacted populations.
Advanced best-practice social-enterprise standards, like open-innovation and broad stakeholder orientation, are a further strategic edge for kPower over less-innovative competitors. The company is committed to knowledge transparency as the basis for top excellence. KPower is being groomed as the first enterprise-class AWE player for what WOW intends as a repeat, on a grander scale, of its initial viral crowd-sourced AWE investment fundraising. MOU links aready exist between the kPower circle and Boeing, Airbus, and Sikorsky. An early kPower equity-growth deal with a major investment player, like Silverlake or Sabic, is not ruled out, but a long-term bootstrap venture dynamic (with low burn) is the default, with major societal investment only upon mature utility-scale AWE (TRL-9). K-Power and WOW are co-sponsoring open AWE fly-in events like AWEfest (NYC), a program in Calabria, IT, and the Texas AWE Encampment, to integrate essential R&D with public awareness-building. A particularly strategic media project being sponsored by WOW and kPower is the AWE Documentary (Director Chase Honaker), the first major overview of the field for mainstream audiences. The documentary also won Kickstarter funding, indicating a strong supportive public interest in AWE. KPower is a "flagship" member within the Kite Power Cooperative. The business cooperative brings together an even larger circle of talent. KPower is also a key supporter of AWEIA (Airborne Wind Energy Industry Association).
* More close affliates include Kitebot, Zap Kites, Forever Flying, 2KiteSam, Wind World,