Quoted from jungle:
Gerry at the TPF said they are looking to build around 100 machines for the first run. Clearly there aren't many orders from the "outside world "
I did indeed reference a first run of 100 machines, but trying to draw conclusions about order numbers and potential market size from that will likely (and did) lead you to incorrect ones. In fact, your guesses for the requisite price of machines and our potential market don't match our research at all.
You've hopefully noticed by now that we're doing things differently than how other MFGs are doing things. If we had raised millions of dollars in pre-order money, we'd still be doing things just as we are, because that money would be unrecognized revenue that couldn't be spent. Pre-order customers are just that... customers. They're not investors.
That said, we made the decision a while back to stop taking paid pre-orders. Since we're not spending pre-order money, there's really no good reason to take it. (There are a number of bad reasons to take it). We have a strong enough belief in our product that we're committed to getting it to production before requesting money. Feedback so far (mostly at shows where people can play the machine) has supported our beliefs. We're also continuing to take no-risk, no-money-down pre-orders. They result in what is effectively an "interested party" list. Trying to guess how many on that list will convert to real orders is guesswork at best, but it shows real interest in our product and our vision.
Related to the size of the first run... it's all about growth management. Even if we had 1000 paid-in-full orders on the books, we'd still do a first run of 100 or smaller. A new manufacturing endeavor is a learning process, and mistakes will be made. In our case, we're reducing risk (financial and operational) by leveraging contract manfacturers... organizations that build products for a living. We'll still have to teach them how to build or machines and babysit them through the process, and mistakes will still be made. Hopefully we eliminate a lot of potential issues in our small pre-production run, but mistakes will still be made in production. Building 250+ machines in a first run would be a terrible decision. I'd much rather deal with mistakes on a relatively small run than on a large one (mind you, 100 is still pretty big).
Scaling up to significantly higher numbers won't be an issue. Our CMs are chosen partly because of their ability to adapt and scale.