“Pod Net”

Synopsis

POD Enterprise Network is a Cooperative Organization (or the “COOP” or “PODnet”) to be a channel for collective action in support of the emergent PODpioneers & PODworks enterprise with a pro-active plan to provide its Membership, the PODpreneurs, with OpenSource “closed ecological environment” technology, know-how, and both open and proprietary climate control & growing systems to profitably manage and operate a negative carbon footprint enterprise for local, fresh food at their properties and homes in the face of escalating energy prices, enabling Members to save money 24/7 on their food production. The problem is that local, greenhouse grown fresh food has a high energy cost that accounts for half the selling price and this cost is ever increasing with no relief foreseen, due to “End of Oil”. PODpreneurs however, apply OpenSource SolaRoof technology to effectively and substantially eliminate this energy cost and the savings can be used to finance and implement additional alternate energy technologies, including integrated BioFuels production that will lower operating costs even more and add security while enhancing the profitability of our Members.

Our core product/service – the FamilyPOD & AgriPOD – are cloud-connected, artificial-intelligence-supported, vertical farming systems, enabling entrepreneurs, family farms, and home based “Motivated Moms” to infuse their neighborhoods and households with the adaptive, proactive intelligence of the SolaRoof technology resulting in day-to-day energy consumption reduced 10 x together with higher food productivity without the need for added personnel, complexity, or expensive capital equipment.

PODnet is organized as a membership club & entreprise network for transformative change and generates individual and collectively shared benefits. Our Members’ communities save money daily while taking individual responsibility for realizing the shared humanitarian imperative of lowering the carbon footprint and its effects on the climate, while localizing food – a win-win for people and the planet. For an agreed period, PODpioneers pay 20% of their annual POD profit, as an investment, to gain access our portfolio of “Livingry” solutions and to activate our internal Gift Economy program that provides “seed money” for PODworks and PODpioneers startups, who will additionally raise local investment with crowdfunding to replicate our process for change all around the world, thereby to stimulate rapid, viral expansion of PODnet, from local to global cooperative business operations. 


Funding Terms

Release Date

Public circulation begins January 1st, 2015

Formation Date for PodWorksGlobal

June 21, 2016 - COOP registration in Reykjavik, Iceland

Affilation of PODworks, at multiple locations, on June 21, 2017.

Requested Funding Amount

PODnet seeks to secure one million, two hundred thousand dollars (1.2 M USD) or more from a global Crowd Funding Campaign to enlist 1200+ sponsors as “CoMissioners”. CoMissioners subscribe to 3 levels: $1000 sponsors a PODpioneer; $5000 sponsors a PODworks; and, $10,000 to $50,000 to sponor selected PODworks regional, national and continental hubs. CoMissioners have an enterprise opportunity with each level of participation, working individually and collectively for the startup of PODnet and to support the initiative of PODpioneers and providing leadership to PODworks teams.

In-kind contributions, labor, and cash provided since spring 2012 by collaborators, R. C. Nelson and R. E. Hogan, have enabled the creation of this vision at greenfire Earth Regeneration Center (Athens, Ohio), which are evaluated at $50K - PODnet accepts a contingent commitment to refund these contributions.

Use of Funds, is to:

Fund 12 PODpioneers, with matched, local crowdfunding, in 6 key market regions across the USA/Canada and an additional 6 PODpioneer projects with strategic Private/Public Partnerships around the globe; PODpioneers shall be incubated and supported in each locality, with regional PODworks teams emerging for mutual support and cooperative action;  enhancing the global collaborative with coherent collective intelligence including continuous software advancement; apply for international patents and secure proprietary position that protects and nurtures a robust Creative Commons that recognizes and rewards our innovators; continued community portal and wiki website development and implementation of affiliate member’s accounts, Web Store for members, affiliate management, and accounting platform; and, launch a membership campaign that will secure further growth and expansion from Membership Fees and the viral formation of PODworksGlobal, reaching break-even by Q3, 2017.


Type of Organization

PODnet is a worldwide COOP to be co-founded in 2016 by R. C. Nelson as promotor and organizer, with participation of PODnet CoMissioners selected to to join in the formation of PODnet. This cooperative organization intends to enlist general members, PODners, and a network of PODpioneers & PODworks enterprises that, subsequent to startup, will join as special COOP members. The launching of PODnet will support of PODpioneers development; with demonstration and documentation of the FamilyPOD (for households) and AgriPOD (for enterprise) solutions at several sites in the USA and around the world. PODnet encourages collaborative Public/Private Partnerships (PPPs) to reach a level of “super-credibility” and to mobilize the science, technology and management expertise and funding resources of one and all to build a successful local to global organization that can make the difference for the whole world. PODnet will gain support of both commercial Sponsors and “charitable” Donorsthrough PPPs with the to goal to implement humanitarian PLENTY4All projects providing free POD Fresh Food.

Type of Funding

The founders wish to secure requested funding in form ofboth tax-deductible donations or subscription of PODnotes applied to jumpstart our socially responsible enterprise designed to generate a triple bottom line and to grow distributed financial capital to build a new balance with people, planet and prosperity, while profiting our Members and their customers, vendors, stakeholders, and benefiting the whole community of life, as we act individually and collectively to heal our one home, mother Earth.

Funders’ profile

We propose to engage with a large network of CoMissioners who work both individually and together to build up PODnet in a local to global Crowd Funding Campaign. PODnote subscribers are likely to be attracted to our crowdfunding as sponsors making contributions locally (to a PODpioneer) and we will reach these people through online networks and community activist groups. CoMissioners are likely to be wealthy private individuals, angel investors, impact or conscious capital investors, socially responsible corporate sponsors and philanthropic organizations who will gain co-branding association and desired “impact” at this historical tipping point. Up to 1200 CoMissioners will contribute from $1000, $5000 or $10,000 for specified rewards.

Representation

PODworks affiliates who join the COOP, shall nominate, by simple plurality of vote the persons to be eligible for election (of 3, every 3 years) by all PODners to our Managing Board (of 9) who shall serve in terms of 3 to a maximum of 9 years to provide both continuity and change.

Not an offering

This funding proposal is not an offering of shares or securities. There is no promise to payback funds received, but for the Donors, Nelson, undertakes on behalf of SRF to use the “PayItForward” gifts to produce a like contribution in-kind as “POD Fresh Food” to local, charitable food banks in the future, under the PLENTY4All mission.

Donor and Sponsor Form

Interested funders may subscribe for enlistment as CoMissioners via our sponsor form.

The Opportunity

Basic Proposition

PODnet provides a unique funding opportunity to participate in a Trillion dollar global market for local, secure food. The AgriPOD is the lead product with sustainable capacity to answer over 90% of the local, fresh, organic food expectations of an ever more health conscious public and is empowered by global collaboration founded on Creative Commons SolaRoof technology. The COOP seeks to realize a triple bottom line and channel revenues from PODpioneers and from the PODworks, as ReGenerative funding, to grow our own platform, PODnet, with widely distributed economic capital in balance with the natural, social, cultural, and spiritual capital of the whole world.

Critical Need

Energy efficiency and renewable energy is ground zero for understanding and shaping humanity’s challenge to “bend the curve” and cooperate on an implicit global strategic imperative to realize a sustainable way of life. Reducing humanity’s carbon footprint is the linchpin of our planetary sustainability, social cohesion, prosperity, and freedoms - our species’ very survival depends on it.

Mission, Vision, Values, Development Stage

PODnet’s mission is to provide its Members with the Open Source technology, Creative Commons know-how, and “Cloud Connected” solutions to reduce, manage, and monitor their energy & carbon footprint in the face of rising energy prices in order to save money 24/7, while delivering secure, local, organic “POD Fresh Food”.

Our vision is that of a world achieving a sustainable way of life where people and organizations take individual and collective responsibility for reducing humanity’s energy footprint and its associated effects on climate and lifestyle choices. Our values embrace integrity, trust, passion, collaboration, community, respect, and dignity for all. The POD solution answers the grand challenges of today and may avert emerging crisis and scarcity of Food/Energy/Water tomorrow by means of the ecological, regenerative production of these “FEW” essential resources today.

PODnet is an eco-innovation collaborative being established in 2015. The principle supporting organizations are:

  • SolaRoofCreative Commons – founded by Richard Nelson, inventor of SolaRoof and creator of the POD vertical farming system; an Eco Dynamics driven energy efficient and climate controlled system producing food, feed, fiber and fuel in abundance; with: zero fossil energy, zero GHG emissions and zero effluents.
  • Icelandic Start Up Center – a social venture founded by Ríkarður Leó Guðmundsson, centering in Reykjavík, Iceland with outreach to nurture sustainable community life in support of PODworks and PODpioneers around the world.
  • PLENTY4All – a global gift-economy, non-profit that intends to jumpstart community and entrepreneurship with PODnet incubators and exemplar PODworks initiatives: the PLENTY4All projects will benefit from our association with leadership of PPPs that inspire a global movement for Food/Energy/Water security.

The global level of the PODnet organization, as a COOP, shall use eighty percent (80%) of its profits as matching funds to catalyze PODnet’s community-based PODworks in close collaboration with our large network of CoMissioners. The 20% balance of profits is distributed to our PLENTY4All projects, which are selected by the global community of PODners, that is all subscribers to POD Fresh Food. The first of our Directors, at formation, are the individuals selected by and joining with Nelson to register PODnet as a cooperative in Iceland with participation of our leading Continental PODworks Hubs. POD Works Global annual meeting may rotate between the PODworks Hubs in all continents as a strategy to inspire the viral growth of PODnet to hundreds and then many thousands of PODworks around the world.


A Transformative Breakthrough Solution

Greenhouse owners, operators, and engineers are increasingly confronted with the reality of increasing energy costs, national and municipal requirements to lower the energy footprint or de-carbonize the food sector, the demand for environmentally responsible corporate governance in the face of scientific consensus on climate change and adaptation. Architecture 2030 has been a strong advocate of energy efficiency measures as the lower hanging fruit for business and governments alike and considers buildings as the linchpin for realizing energy efficiency goals (see also: Supplementary Information), Certainly we identify the conventional greenhouse sector, with its vast glass or plastic film coverings that, with conventional glazing, have the very highest energy demands for heating and cooling and a huge carbon footprint are ripe to fall into obsolescence as PODnet emerges with a viral, OpenSource replacement.

PODnet employs an innovative business model seeking to commercialize the unique “POD Fresh Food” - a breakthrough for real food enabled by the platform of SolaRoof technology that can reverse the negative energy and carbon footprint of buildings, glazings and the greenhouse sector. We nurture a POD Fresh Food PPPs in support of a Creative Commons collaboration to save energy with application of the lifePOD as a household solution that empowers families everywhere and with agriPOD for food enterprise opportunity in the local community. PODnet will thereby lower associated private as well as societal costs, and invest in catalyzing clean/green entrepreneurship. Our PODnet system servers are accessed from PODners’ sites via cloud-based computing and are infinitely scalable. Software upgrades can be centrally uploaded and implemented from the regional PODworks’ software development hubs.

Members of our network, the PODners, benefit directly in the savings realized, which typically average more than 90% of the annual energy consumption of a conventional greenhouse. Participation provides the dollar savings directly to the PODners and substantial crop diversity & yield improvement methods are available for adoption.

PODnet is committed to invest 80% of its own profits for providing matched funding benefiting the whole: entrepreneurial projects, education & training, humanitarian initiatives and R&D breakthroughs benefit all Members. Members’ savings realized by the POD system enhances business resiliency, reduces budgetary pressures, and can be used to self-finance additional energy innovation and efficiency measures. Subscribers and our non-commercial PODners, pay a one-time fee of $100 when signing up to access PODnet portfolio of solutions, based on the lifePOD platform. Commercial members pay a registration fee of $1000 and benefit with access to wholesale pricing of the AgriPOD, together with a range of supplementary know-how, training, and support services provided by the PODworks and regional/continental Hubs; these support services provide a strong hand-up that will boost PODpioneers’ productivity and profitability. The ongoing 20% profit sharing with the global COOP will typically equate less than half the incremental savings realized, meaning Members’ profits are projected to be much higher than other growers, while empowering the COOP to fund collective action to grow aggressively while additionally providing outreach, worldwide, to end hunger/poverty as we plant the PLENTY4All projects in distressed communities.

PODnet’s viral propagation is also supported by PODworks enterprise, which are local, worker owned cooperatives, offering all services and support to PODpioneers in that locality. PODworks agree to re-invest 50% of profits to investment in the expansion POD Works Global as a channel to collectively change and transform the prevailing energy consumption pattern; working from within the community, starting with self-interested motivation on the part of families (Motivated Moms) and the desire of society as whole to reap the health benefits and energy savings while building security, safety and resiliency of our food system.

Unique Selling Points, competitive environment

Via PODnet membership, early adopters can have success as PODpioneers while they co-create OpenSource technology and know-how, sharing experience and support each other and lower the pioneering risks: to start saving money on their energy bills immediately. The PODcode, the company’s learning, AI-driven solution, enables lifePOD owners, and AgriPOD growers, and our PODworks as educational Hubs to dynamically optimize a Cloud-based control system to reduce energy usage, proactively and in real-time, 24/7 for maximum savings, greatest yields and profitability.

  •  PODnet provides revolutionary automation that runs the PODcode controls at peak performance 24/7, featuring:
    • Cloud-based control system overlay
    • Dynamic Artificial Intelligence based on SolaRoof
    • Virtual building energy management
  • PODworks offer a complete hardware solution with installation option; with SolaRoof OpenSource supply chain assuring best value for money.PODworks enterprise are generally cooperatives partnering with PODnet on a 50% profit-sharing basis; there is substantial savings realized with collective purchasing power for the supply of lifePOD & agriPOD to our members.
  • PODpioneers typically realize energy savings exceeding 90% annually, increasing yield by a minimum 100% over previous typical greenhouse industry, including a 3x better gross operating margin that enables self-funded clean energy investments in BioFuel systems, including Oil-from-Algae and anaerobic Digester for regenerative production of nutrient effluent, biogas and stable organic solids.

Perceived competition of the PODcode are vendors of greenhouse building control software systems such as provided by specialist companies like the Dutch company, PRIVA, and also systems adapted to greenhouse control by Johnson Controls, Siemens, Honeywell, Andover, Trane, and IBM. Existing HVAC equipment has lots of over-engineering built in and is not dynamically proactive, which creates major inefficiencies. For example, current systems do not leverage local forecasts of meteorological information and control systems have factory-default settings that wait for energy demand to change before changing associated equipment settings. Our PODcode however, forecasts energy demands and proactively “looks” for opportunities through the analysis of complex metrics to align the control system's equipment with environment conditions and future demands, providing 90%+ energy cost savings.

The PODcode Cloud Servers are accessed from existing control systems computers through an easy-to-install client-side application. Since all communication follows a request/response paradigm from the control system, this removes the need for insecure inbound connections or the reconfiguration of existing IT infrastructure. Communication is sent through channels as secure as on-line credit card transactions, which makes third party intervention impossible. Secure Web sandboxing protects the intellectual property of the PODcode and our cloud servers are monitored for 24/7 up-time and minimum service disruption.

Our PODcode works in harmony with existing control systems, staying within the safe parameters set by Climate Control Systems, our OEM collaborator. In the unlikely event of a communication failure, the building’s control system simply falls back to the factory-set default settings that it has today. 

Implementation Strategy and 3-year milestones

The COOP has adopted a phased approach to implementation of its integrated strategy to growing the business and penetrating the market.

  • Phase I (2016) targets completion of the development, design, testing and debugging of our cloud-based lifePOD & agriPOD controlled environment for 12+ PODpioneer Projects that will complement extensive positive testing of the non-automated climate control version. PODnet membership’s web portal will also be substantially completed.
  • Phase II (Q1,2 - 2017) calls for the identification, sign up, testing, monitoring, and evaluation of 1K+ PODpioneer projects as marketable success stories in key market segments (e.g. schools, universities, hotels, office buildings, performing arts centers, airports, and military sites).
  • Phase III (Q3,4-2017 ) will seek to secure 10K or more success stories each in key markets of 5 selected US cities and 4 foreign cities.
  • Phase IV (2018) will seek to exponentially scale the business from 10K+ customer accounts in 2018 to 1M+ by 2020. Our POD Fresh Food marketing campaign will collaborate with city mayors and their communities.

Management and Organization

The PODnet founding Board of Directors (the “Board”)  is comprised by 3 passionate founders, each bringing a life-time of relevant experience in their respective fields, supported by an Advisory Board providing expert advise on corporate finance and venture development, technology management and software development, artificial intelligence, international accounting and finance, international operations management, real estate and eco-enterprise development, as well as building engineering and construction management. The Board of Directors will grow gradually, to comprise 9 members, each to serve from 3 (minimum) to 9 years (maximum). There is also an Advisory Team of 9 members, 3 of whom represent Donors and 6 of whom represent the CoMissioners. Board members will be rotated with the purpose to bring forward the wise and passionate “leaders” of the community into rotating leadership position for a period of service that is dedicated to “service to the whole of life”. The Board, with the Advisory Board support, will direct the ReGenerativeinvestment of 80% of PODnet profits.

Proposed Executive Members of Board of Directors

  • Community - R. E. Hogan - greenfire Earth ReGeneration Center (USA)

  • PODnet COOP - Ríkarður Leó Guðmundsson, VAXANDIhaus (Iceland)

  • Livingry - Richard Nelson - SolaRoof Inventor (Montreal, Canada)

  • Private/Public Partnerships - Andrew Williams, GBI Emerald Veterans (USA)

  • OpenSource Manufacturing - Ron Bessette, podbuilt (USA)

  • Technology - Corin Smith, Lighthouse Studios (Bermuda)

Advisory Board

An Advisory Board of 9 multidisciplinary experts and international affiliate representatives further enhances management’s ability to execute and deliver on mission within time & budget, while sustaining the vision.

Independent Validation

Three decades of performance data from over a dozen completed SolaRoof projects in several countries (with millions of dollars in Government suppport) validates the PODnet performance potential. The “Proof of Concept” for AgriPOD is underway in Iceland with sharing and analysis to further verify the PODnet solution in America and the EU. Energy Star, LEED, and like certifications will be applied for in 2017.

Mitigation of Risk factors

PODnet is a for-profit social enterprise with an ambitious yet realistic plan to scale its business. We mitigate anticipated risk factors as follows:

  • Technology – delays can be anticipated and supply issues exist during the PODpioneer beta-phase; these will be resolved within months. PODcode software implementation may take longer to complete, test, and debug during 2016-17. If the connection with the PODcode is interrupted, the control system reverts back to default settings to avoid any potential product liability issues.
  • PODpioneer Projects – PODnet goals to reach the 90% savings target are conservative and we anticipate exceeding these numbers in the longer term as cost categories transform into net income earners (varable in each case).
  • Management – PODworks, as worker owned COOPs, will adopt incentive system will reward performance and improve personnel retention. Scaling up to and supporting 10,000+ accounts, and retaining or recruiting key staff may prove to be challenging.
  • Finance – The company needs to secure adequate funding to be able to meet its 5 -year stated goals and objectives. The current funding proposal seeks to secure the necessary funds to do so.
  • Business Environment – Overall economic conditions may adversely affect the growth potential of the company. A savings-oriented approach will perform particularly well in a depressed economy.

Use of Funds, Potential Sources, Return on Investment

The COOP currently seeks to secure $1.2 M of funding: allocated for 12 POD Pioneers start-up operations, each with funding support of $50,000 and reaching break-even in 2017 and full ROI by 2018; a minimum of $600K of our funds are allocated to the Global level developments that support the start up of the POD Pioneers and the POD Works Locals.

Global funding will be used to:

  • Increase the number new markets opened by PODpioneers;
  • Finalize control system add-on software development, apply for international patents, and secure PODcode proprietary position;
  • Enhance its website and its automated customer relations, affiliate management, and accounting platform, and;
  • Launch a POD Works Global marketing campaign that will crowdfund further growth and expansion from membership fees and savings realized.

PODnet anticipates securing the required funds from CoMissioner sources as subscribers to PODnotes who are motivated to commit a small portion of their capital to catalyze an innovative entrepreneurial initiative with a specific mission and business model to generate PayItForward revenues that enable our significant success with a triple bottom line, while also rewarding customers, shareholders, and society at large with above average returns on investment.

Supplementary Information, Resources and links