“Looking back on it, they [FrontFundr investors] were all key steps of the journey. They got us to where we are today.”
Hydrogen Technology & Energy Corporation (HTEC) may have recently celebrated a $217 million investment from Chart Industries, Inc. and I Squared Capital, but HTEC President and CEO Colin Armstrong still holds its early retail investors close to his heart.
Nearly three years ago, HTEC was one of FrontFundr’s first crowdfunding campaigns. As an early player in the hydrogen space, the traditional investment world was hesitant about backing the technology and energy company. Retail investors, on the other hand, had a growing interest in the space.
The retail investor difference
Twenty-nine investors believed in HTEC’s mission, and together they were able to back the company with a combined total of more than $650,000. And while that amount may seem small given their recent investment, it was just what they needed at the time.
“Every bit helps when you're a small company,” said Armstrong. “You're on the edge a lot of the time, so every dollar counts and is important. We certainly respect all the investments done, from the smaller folks up to the bigger ones. They've all helped.”
In addition to gaining a group of investors (and supporters), equity crowdfunding allowed HTEC’s team to stay focused on their early goals. Without one main investor— who could have had a large influence on the direction of the company—HTEC navigated the evolving hydrogen industry on its own terms.
“We needed that ability to go where it was best for the company, not for a specific investor,” said Armstrong.
What goes into a crowdfunding campaign
In regard to running a crowdfunding campaign, Armstrong highlighted how it was a great way to “think through your audience.” However, he also stressed that a company should build up and leverage its online presence and social media to promote its raise to the masses—something he wishes HTEC did more of.
He also said that you should have set plans for what to do after your raise.
“You have to have a process in place to manage it, for sure. I think some of the things FrontFundr promoted were smart, like the authority for the CEO to control the smaller investors' votes in certain areas. I think that's important.”
As for what HTEC did after its crowdfunding campaign, the capital raised went towards building its team and financing projects; something Armstrong said was “critical” at the time. The company also gained a group of supportive individuals who have been excited for HTEC every step of the way.
The future of HTEC
With the latest investment from Chart Industries, Inc. and I Squared Capital, the company looks to continue to grow across the country, hoping to double or triple its team in the coming years. Armstrong is grateful for HTEC’s early backers who helped get it to this point and can’t wait to continue to share future successes with them.
When asked what he would want to say to the investors who backed HTEC on FrontFundr, here’s what he had to say:
"Thanks. We were very appreciative, and every dollar counted. Thanks for putting your trust in us and we're happy you were rewarded. And the journey is certainly not over. We still have lots to do.”
To follow HTEC’s journey as it’s “fueling the drive to hydrogen” visit its website here. Or take a look at a blast from the past to see its initial campaign offering on FrontFundr here.