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I worked at Infinia full-time (More than 8 years)
We were working on a solar product using a Stirling engine and parabolic mirror. This type of product has never successfully been commercialized and the feeling of accomplishing something that had never been done was exhilarating. There was always something interesting to work on and always a challenging problem to be solved. The people I worked with directly were top notch engineers/technicians and people. Working with them made coming to work everyday something to look forward to.
Unrealistic planning lead to the investors loss of confidence. We were a small company trying to move from SBIR government grants to a publicly traded successful company. Company leaders thought that we were more advanced in our technology then we were and promised investors that we would be commercialized in 2 years. It has been 7 years and, though the product is very close, there are still at least 2 years of integration work and refinement before it is a quality product. The difference between the time we told the investors it would take to commercialize and what it has actually taken lead to a loss of confidence and investors pulling out. At the beginning one investor told us that our timing was unrealistic and that their experience would suggest a time from of 7 to 10 years was more realistic. Infinia should have listened.
Advice to Management
Trust your people when they present a detailed plan. They are not "padding" the time line. If anything they are underestimating. The uncertainty in what you are doing is too great to ignore.