S3 Pioneer Program | updates

As a team, we are so incredibly delighted to watch S2 Pioneer Packs finally make it into Pioneer hands. We are so grateful for the patience and perseverance we have received as we continue to navigate new challenges, and without skipping a beat we’ll be launching into production for our very next Pioneer Program - the S3.

Most excitingly, the S3 will take place with an incredible total of 1000 pioneers. This number includes both current Pioneers taking part in the S2 (who are automatically enrolled in the S3) and new Pioneers we are welcoming into the community (welcome! if this is you)!

The S3 is unique in that all Pioneers will receive the latest build of our sofi stick, with rechargeable (USB C) lithium batteries to begin their journeys. The feedback we receive will then directly contribute to our fourth (and hopefully final) build of our sofi stick.

Please note that no matter where you start as a Pioneer, you will remain with us for all programs to come so long as you choose to be active.

It also hasn’t been too much of a secret, but we are thrilled to officially announce that Ashwagandha is the next plant we will be activating on the sofi system. Ashwagandha is considered an adaptogen, a plant excellent for restoring balance to the adrenals and resetting the nervous system, helping to aid both sleep and calm. (you can visit the sofi blog here to read more).

We will continue to work on minimising the amount of time between our Pioneer Programs, reducing it previously from eight months to six months, down to four months, and eventually down to only two. This will provide us with just enough time to complete a Program and allow for the “wash-out” period of the plants before beginning again.

I’m tagging @Kaveh to help me provide production updates as they come and can’t wait to enter this next phase of sofi alongside you all. :smiling_face_with_three_hearts: :sofi_moon:

29 Likes

Brilliant… thanks for the update

7 Likes

This is an excellent intro to the S3 Pioneer Program, so thank you for this @alexwalkerjones .

As you know, we have been all hands recently to get all S2 Passiflora refill kits and starter kits out to our amazingly patient pioneer community here. I am pleased to say that the remaining boxes will be shipped this week, so all packages are in transit to their respective homes!

Starting from June, the team have been putting in place the necessary steps to prepare for the S3 program. So let me now give some details on where we are with various elements, beginning with the incredible plant, Ashwagandha!

On plant

As you may recall, we had significant setbacks on our timeline with S2 due to handling errors that resulted in our golden sample of plant material being lost by our extraction partner at their base. Even though they are experts in the field and have done nothing but plant extraction for over 100 years, they explained that freak accidents still happen. So we decided to begin the extraction process early on the plant material for our S3 program.

The first challenge we had was that the usual supplier of our Ashwagandha was out of stock by the time we placed the order (one of the challenges of working with only natural plants is harvest times – imagine that!). So we began by evaluating the alternate supply. And even though we are keen to rush S3 as quickly as possible, we were not happy that the alternate material sourced was of the same potency as the original material we were working with on flavour development. It’s not just good enough to be Ashwagandha – we want an older “vintage” where the plant is sufficiently mature to have generated the active compounds at sufficient levels.

So we are now testing the new season material from the original supplier. Once that testing is complete, and results are entirely satisfactory, we will order the raw material in support of our most extensive Pioneer Program (with over 1,000 pioneers), which we expect on our extraction partner site (estimated arrival w/c 5th September). Allowing four weeks for production and testing means the production batch will be available in the first half of October.

On taste

We also began flavour development on Ashwagandha in the first half of August with our flavour house. We are continuing with our approach to limiting any additional material to what can be extracted directly from a plant – so no flavourings or chemicals are added for taste profiling. This week we completed our first draft of the taste profile. We expect to do two more rounds and settle on the three different explorations for the S3 program by mid-September. Following flavour dev completion, our partner will produce and ship the natural extracts to our sofi labs in Liverpool in time for the plant extraction to complete and arrive by the first half of October for final mixing and bottling.

On bottles

We decided early on a colour direction for the S3 bottles to celebrate some of the natural pigments of the Ashwagandha plant. Over three thousand bottles are painted and printed in preparation for the S3 program. As we have sufficient time and are trying to manage our ecological footprint, we are shipping the bottles by sea rather than air. We know this precious cargo is at sea and already en route to our Liverpool facility. They will arrive on site just after formulations, to be mixed by mid-October, ready to bottle and pack for the end of October. Currently, all of our bottling happens by hand, so we are preparing sufficient resources to be available to get through the mixing and bottling of our formulations and have them ready for the end of October.

On stick

As you know, the S3 is an entirely new generation of sofi stick. You will note that it will feature a rechargeable (USB C) lithium battery (Please do let us know in advance if you do not have a USB C cable as we are currently not planning to supply these!). Also, the bottle recognition technology we will be validating with S3 is the one we will roll out when sofi goes live in 2023 (based on RFID). The current technology we are using can only recognise three bottle variations. The new RFID technology allows us an infinite variety of formulations and journals each separately using the same sofi stick. So whereas S2 was an iterative change to S1, S3 is a complete redesign of the sofi stick – and we hope for the better!

On metal

So far, we have been very much in the prototyping phase. With S3, we started to prepare the sofi stick for much broader production – with an initial production run of one thousand units and distributed to all existing pioneers replacing your existing (collectable!) sofi sticks from the S1 and S2 programs.

We also want to achieve a much more beautiful finish on the body, and we are testing three different manufacturers who can provide production scaling for our sofi. We expect to see the first sofi sticks coming off the line by the end of September. We will make sure to share sample pictures with you here. But this is a critical step for sofi as we move from a minimum lovable product to one that we can put in people’s hands at scale. We also want a much more beautiful finish to our aluminium metal body, so we hope to reveal that in the coming weeks.

On electronics

It’s “All change!” as we move from proof of concept electronics using standard components and a watch battery for power to something significantly more sophisticated. We have also had to design our blue tooth antenna within a very tight space package and upgrade our sensor capabilities to recognise infinite formulations. So a lot to pack into a little smart stick. We have finished all electronic designs and have asked two different manufacturers to start making sample units to validate that all of our electronics work both on the board, in their function and when fully assembled. There is always a risk of discovering we need tweaks. We expect S3 electronic boards by mid to late September, and we plan to validate them within a couple of weeks. We will print a further thousand S3 circuits as soon as we have validation. Right now, electronics appear to be the toughest timeline to accelerate as S3 is not an iterative adjustment to S2 but a whole new generation.

On plastics

If you imagine, these parts house the electronics, so even though their design is complete, we cannot begin production until we have validated the electronics. Even a 0.1mm change to the position of a component on the board may require modifications to the housing, trigger mechanism, assembly and so on. But we expect that as soon as our electronics are validated, we will begin manufacturing the six thousand plastic components for the S3 build – one at a time (because we are still not on an automated production line)! We have a fantastic partner here that we expect will deliver within three weeks. We plan to complete plastics and land them at our UK assembly facility before the S3 electronics are entirely manufactured.

On assembly

All sofi units to date (both the S1 and S2 Pioneer Programs) have been individually hand-assembled, and many have been individually fettled to fit! We are conscious that our current resources will be fully stretched when we go from making up to 300 sticks at a time to more than one thousand. We plan to land all components by the end of October and assemble and pack for shipment in the first half of November.

We hope that the S3 build will represent a standard that, once we deploy, we can begin freezing hardware development (only picking up tweaks and improvements for S4 to S5). This will allow us to focus purely on getting the optimal sequence of plant formulation and harvest working out. So we have been thinking about our roadmap, and we expect that after S3, the velocity will begin to pick up as our focus becomes on generating new formulations and distributing them to an active base with working sofi sticks.

On app

We plan to release the S3 sofi app by the end of October beginning of November. You will notice a significant change to the sofi app and aesthetics. This is in recognition that in the future, sofi will not only target sleeplessness and anxiety but also address states where Pioneers will use their sofi stick not simply at night time before bed but throughout the day. For this, we must have our sofi move beyond the twilight and have a day mode. The current dawn at the bottom of the S2 app design is a nod in this direction. We will release the S3 sofi app before the S3 packs to Pioneers.

There will be improvements to current and new features such as “sofi seeds”, a method of rewarding active pioneers, high sofi scores and successful referrals. We love to see sofi grow and flourish organically from our community here rather than have to keep paying google and Facebook for lead generation. We also want to recognise the incredible contribution that we, as Pioneers, are making to the development of sofi. Once the sofi product is available for consumers, we can recognise this contribution of Pioneers by providing preferential and discounted access to the sofi store by redeeming sofi seeds.

The following two months will be super busy with us generating our data on Passiflora and making incredible discoveries between individual Pioneers and their specific responses to this remarkable plant that’s already giving me technicolour dreams! By the time we wrap up and go into analysis on Passiflora (October), we hope we will be preparing the S3 app for release. Shortly after (November) the S3 kits should begin to make their way to all Pioneers. Right now, our visibility is in the second half of November, and we are constantly working on how to accelerate this timeline.

We will continue to share the good, the bad and the just unfortunate as we have very openly on this thread and in this place because that’s how our community works. As always, we are blown away and grateful for all your input, time, patience and love.

More to come on S3 soon!

Xx

:pray:

sofi launching XX23

26 Likes

I just started S2 :star_struck::star_struck:
S1 made a real difference to my sleep. So it will be really interested to see if any of the other plants have a different reaction on me. Can’t wait :slightly_smiling_face: if you can find a spray to loose weight :wink::wink: that would be perfect :joy::wink::joy:
Thank you all sofi team :heart:

15 Likes

I second that :rofl::rofl: also those orange bottles look amazing!

10 Likes

It’s so good knowing that there is going to be a third pod I trust in what Sofi is achieving to help so many people across the globe and having the knowledge that there will not be a massive gap between the pods ending and new pods beginning is a major boost for me

13 Likes

That should be the slogan or whatever, have faith and trust in sofi and trust in nature again ( or summat like that ) :rofl::rofl:

11 Likes

Thats amazing and thankyou for the update you sure are busy bees there at Sofi and the new plant your going to use sounds really good :+1:

8 Likes

Very exciting news you are all working so hard to improve every aspect of the sofi experience. I feel quite privileged to be part of this trial.

10 Likes

What a truly wonderfully well written article on the work and amazing amount of care, consideration and time being spent on the pioneer program!
It’s so nice and important to hear about the past present and future of the development behind Sofi. It’s clear that the Sofi team have our best interests at heart, shown throughout the article and one example is the fact that the team will only accept the best quality of plants harvested at the moment they are at optimal levels of required maturity to get the correct standard of active compounds.
I also love the fact that the environmental factors at all times in the development behind the product development are of such importance to Sofi as they are to me and I am sure many of the other people in the pioneer program .
So many thanks @Kaveh for your help with understanding the Sofi program so much better!:pray::clap::heart:

11 Likes

Wow, that was in depth! I cannot wait to see the evolution of sofi and the positive impact it will have on all our lives. I’m so grateful to have found my way here and cannot wait to be a part of something so incredible! And oh, the pretty colour bottles :heart_eyes::heart:

11 Likes

Welcome to the treehouse @RuaKasumi - we’re so thrilled to have you here and share your excitement for what’s in store :blush:

Should you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to reach out! x

8 Likes

We are entirely driven and grateful for this amazing community here @oliver75gaskell who have really shown what could be possible if we deliver on the sofi promise. So Peña see to have you here with us on this journey because without the Pioneers sofi would remain just a good idea. We consider this community actually a core part of our team and community all working together on this mission to reconnect people and plants … and ultimately nudge ok somewhere slightly more tolerable. :pray:

8 Likes

So pleased we found each other @RuaKasumi cause we strongly believe that we will create something much stronger together. :pray:

8 Likes

Hi, does anyone know when the S3 will be sent please and also how do i find out if im definitely on the list?
Thank you

6 Likes

My understanding is that if you have received your pebble and confirmed receipt then you are definitely on the list for the S3 program. Exactly when the packs are coming out I can’t answer but I think @alexwalkerjones or other Sofi team members will be able to provide further information on this.

9 Likes

Hi @Harobed,

@oliver75gaskell is totally right, I can confirm your Pioneer Pack for the S3 is reserved under your name, and you are all good to go.

Please note that we only launch a Pioneer Program every few months (although time between Programs will significantly decrease moving forward) due to the nature of our Programs, demand for sofi, and the fact that we are only a small startup with limited means. Because of this, our S3 Pioneer Program will be launching towards the end of the year - and so there is a bit of a waiting game.

However, once your Pioneer Pack is reserved, you are with us for the S3, the S4, the S5, the S6, etc (in other words all our subsequent Programs where we’ll trial natural plant medicines for sleep and calm).

For more on the timeline and what to expect with the S3, this thread should provide some further details: S3 Pioneer Program | updates

I hope that helps to answer your question! We are thrilled to have you here. x

13 Likes

Yes that is great news @alexwalkerjones
On another topic I was told that in the meantime I would be able to receive an S1 valerian pack. Is that still the case as I was really excited about the prospect of having valerian as that is what I was looking for when I found Sofi through a search engine. I will understand if this has changed since I was told that I could try the S1 . Anything in the following pioneer program packs is still going to be very gratefully received as I am desperate to find a solution to this insufferable insomnia I experience every night!:weary:

7 Likes

Hi @oliver75gaskell - Yes! You’re on the shipping list and these should be going out this week :pray: :blush: Fingers crossed better sleep in just around the corner for you

7 Likes

Hey @alexwalkerjones, is it possible for me to also try valerian? As I was also hoping to try valerian and gutted I missed it! I’m averaging 3 to 5 hrs of broken sleep at the moment :sweat_smile:

5 Likes