Elio Motors is a company attempting to bring a fascinating little three-wheeled car into production, and while they’ve made some very impressive progress (covered nicely on their blog), these things take money. A lot of it. In an effort to raise a part of the funds necessary to make it to production on time, Elio Motors has made a Regulation A+ crowdfunding offering enabled by the JOBS Act, but what the users at the Elio Owners forum found is that the campaign page itself gives little to no indication of its progress. Only by backing out to the site hosting Elio’s campaign
can you see could you have seen a progress bar, and it’s it was tiny. There’s no indication of dollar amount, and no indication of percent completed.
I do understand thought I understood the thinking behind not including those things (though the following information doesn’t adequately cover the reasoning). This is a Reg. A+ offering, so no money has been raised, and any dollar amount would be irrelevant because that number only translates (roughly) to “interest.” In other words, no matter what the dollar amount comes out to, Elio Motors may never see a penny of it if the SEC filing doesn’t go through, or if the interested investors become uninterested. Still though, I like data, and so do the people on the forums.
The key point here is that the progress bar is getting its width from a CSS property, and as I’ve covered in a previous post about YQL scraping, I can use Yahoo!’s YQL to pull a copy of the page’s HTML and then filter out everything but that property with increasingly specific regular expressions. Combined with a timestamp of when each scrape occurs and an educated guess as to how much Elio Motors is offering in total, I can estimate percentage complete and dollars raised at any given time. Plot that out on a chart and you’ve got a pretty good campaign tracker.
The resulting tracker is available until the end of the campaign at www.eliotracker.com.
What I’ve found is that it’s very entertaining to check in on the chart from time to time. There seem to be some general patterns to the times at which people show the most interest. The project should be especially interesting when Elio Motors gets additional publicity that could lead more potential investors to the campaign, such as the Reddit AMA on Thursday, July 2.