Knightscope Update: How We've Generated $13M In Lifetime Revenue

Published: December 31st, 2021
William Santana Li
Knightscope, Inc.
from Mountain View
started April 2013
market size
avg revenue (monthly)
starting costs
gross margin
time to build
210 days
average product price
growth channels
Publicity stunts
business model
best tools
Intercom, YouTube
time investment
Full time
pros & cons
35 Pros & Cons
3 Tips
Discover what tools William recommends to grow your business!
Discover what books William recommends to grow your business!

Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.

Hello! My name is William Santana Li and I’m the CEO of Knightscope, developer of advanced physical security technologies on a mission to make the United States of America the safest country in the world.

Our Autonomous Security Robots (ASRs) are a unique combination of autonomous self-driving technology, robotics, artificial intelligence, and electric vehicles. We hold contracts across the country from Hawaii to Rhode Island - and pretty much anywhere you might see an officer or security guard is an opportunity for Knightscope. This can range from manufacturing plants, logistics facilities, and law enforcement agencies to hospitals, casinos, airports, and rail as well as commercial real estate.

We’ve raised over $100 million to build all of our technology from scratch, we are backed by over 28,000 investors, and recently announced that we’ve kicked off the process to do a public listing on NASDAQ (see here).


Tell us about what you’ve been up to! Has the business been growing?

We’ve been excited to announce multiple repeat contracts with clients for a 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th year! Can scroll down and check out all the updates. What we are doing is extremely execution intensive but we’ve managed to generate over $13 million in lifetime revenue.

The world and its momentum are against you - so you can either sit there and sulk or dust yourself off, put the gloves back on and get back in the ring!

We have also announced our distinguished Advisory Board with former leaders in the U.S. Federal Government (see here). And hopefully, if all goes well, by the time you are reading this we would have announced our incoming Board of Directors!

Although we’ve raised over $100 million, I’ve been the sole director for the last 8 years since inception. Waited all this time, under heavy criticism, to architect the right independent board at the right time with the right skill mix with a focus on the long-term. And I achieved my goal of a 100% diverse board which I believe will be one of the few or only publicly-traded companies on NASDAQ or NYSE to claim that level of leadership. See how I did here for the list of incoming independent board members!

What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?

It is not a good idea to do a public listing, build a house, move, recruit a board of directors and commence a two-year-long cyber security review with the U.S. Federal Government while building an all-new technology platform at the same time. Maybe eyes bigger than stomach! Been a brutal year especially when you get to your new home and have no cellular service and no internet for 8 painful days. The world is different these days - almost food, water, and shelter level.


Sometimes investing the time to communicate well to your audience can take A LOT of time but the benefits can be precious. Our 2021 Shareholder Meeting was warmly and enthusiastically received and even got a chance to poke fun at our lawyers!

Lastly, picking something you believe in and sticking to it - can make decisions go a lot easier. Why didn’t you do an S-1 IPO or why didn’t you do a SPAC transaction or why didn’t you do a reverse merger or a direct listing or OTC……..???

If you believe and genuinely feel that you need to protect your 28,000+ investors - then you will make a path that helps protect the downside and hopefully do something positive for them over the long term. By the way, some may not understand it but you still as an officer of the company have a fiduciary duty to protect your shareholders’ interests!


What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?

Long-term we are focused on making the United States the safest country in the world. I believe it will take decades but can be accomplished if we all pull together. There are 2+ million officers and guards trying to protect 300+ million people across 50 states 24/7/365 with the technological equivalent of #2 pencils and a notepad (i.e., there are only 500,000 humans at any given time on duty). We need the machines to be able to ‘see, feel, hear, and smell’ and do 100x more than a human could ever do. And we need multiple form factors to be in all aspects of providing unprecedented situational awareness to humans both outdoors and indoors - against criminals and terrorists.

So long term that is a very wide portfolio of products with a very deep set of capabilities. Will be easy. Piece of cake. Walk in the park. Just like getting here to this point in Knightscope’s growth from a standing start. NOT!!!!

In the meantime, we have kicked off this crazy #RobotRoadshow where will fill a space-age Pod with a bunch of robots that is traveling across the country now - can check out the video plus learn more:




Have you read any good books in the last year?

I don’t know or can’t remember. I have fundraising and startup PTSD (seriously).


Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?

You should have picked something that you believe in down to your bone is right, is a just cause and you can execute on it. Something that you are willing to do the extra-ordinary, the ‘impossible’, the completely irrational, the sometimes stupid, the illogical move - just to force a victory.

95% of startups fail - you need to be willing to get punched in the face for breakfast, knocked in the gut for lunch, and body-slammed for dinner - then get up the next morning with a smile on your face and do it again, until you get what you wanted to be done. You need to understand that you will need, by sheer will, force it into existence. The world and its momentum are against you - so you can either sit there and sulk or dust yourself off, put the gloves back on and get back in the ring!




If you aren’t willing to do that, how the hell are you going to convince employees, executives, investors, the media, analysts, suppliers, regulators, auditors, and customers that you have something real and promising?

Your friends will call you dumb. Your family thinks you are stupid. The media will say you are out to lunch. That will be on a good day. You need to ignore all that nonsense - and just feed off the negative fuel and “I’ll show you” is sometimes a good motivator. But you better be working on something profound and not wasting your life away on some meaningless photo-sharing app. Here’s something I recorded for Founder World that might help you:



Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

Yes! Experienced robotics engineers are always welcome and we typically have a variety of open positions (in Silicon Valley or remote pretty much anywhere in the USA) - check us out - but we want people that are on a mission and not folks looking for a cushy job, wanting to pose at a startup for their Instagram feed, or don’t have the guts to do the most meaningful work in their lives … and stick to it for the haul. We make commitments, not jobs.

Where can we go to learn more?

Be sure to visit!


Want to design an autonomous security robots? Learn more ➜