About Us

A brief history lesson...

BootstrapSolar was started by Ryo Chijiiwa, combining experiences volunteering in a disaster zone, as well as living in a (mostly) off-grid cabin in the woods. After prototyping a small solar charger device, he put it up on Kickstarter, where over 250 backers helped raise $30,000 for the first production run. You can read more about BootstrapSolar's origins over in the old BootstrapSolar tumblr blog.

What we do...

We make affordable and practical solar kits available to everybody.

Core beliefs

  • Sustainability - We are trying to build an environmentally, socially, financially, and personally sustainable business. We try our best to use sustainable materials and local businesses to lower our environmental footprint. We try to ensure that our operation is a net-positive to society. And we try to have fun and make enough money, so that we can keep doing this.
  • "Stuff" isn't important - Even though we make "stuff" (physical objects), at the end, it's not important. There are other more important things, like...
  • Deliver experiences - Regardless of what you believe happens to us after death, most of us can probably agree that you only live each day once (unless you believe in reincarnation or the afterlife and time travel). We believe that making the most of our limited time in this world is important. Experiences matter. We try to deliver positive experiences.
  • Relationships matter - In addition to positive experiences, we believe relationships are important. We try to build and cultivate strong relationships amongst ourselves, with our business partners, and of course, with customers. Good relationships make our lives better, and give us warm fuzzy feelings. We like warm fuzzy feelings. We like kittens too. They're warm and fuzzy...
  • Open - We're open. And not just in the sense that you can buy stuff from our store 24/7 (which, you could), but more in the sense that we are transparent. Our designs are made Open Source, so that all of mankind can benefit from what we make, including other entrepreneurs and people who can't afford to buy our products. We also make our finances open. Want to know how we're spending our money? Take a look at this spreadsheet.