Founded by former SpaceX engineers, First Resonance pitches tools to make things the SpaceX way

After operating in stealth mode for about two years, First Resonance, a company founded by former SpaceX engineers, is finally showing the world their software toolkit designed to let manufacturers make things using the processes employed by their former boss.

It’s a suite of software products that can allow for more flexible manufacturing processes and one that can handle the pressures of remote monitoring for companies making hardware in the age of social distancing brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our first few customers really grew using [the software] and facilitating that at-home factory workflow,” said First Resonance co-founder Karan Talati. 

The software that First Resonance has developed allows manufacturers to coordinate their workflow processes. “This is really driven off of us being in that driver’s seat at SpaceX and working with our counterparts in manufacturing and refurb,” Talati said. “Underlying it all is a data platform that allows these companies to make use of insights to improve their designs as well as their manufacturing processes.”

On the process side, that means reducing waste, and making the manufacturing of goods more efficient. But the software — and the information it’s collecting from manufacturing — can be used to inform better design decisions and the upstream product development process, Talati said.

Already the company’s tech is being used by a crew of cutting-edge manufacturers, including Phase FourJoby Aviation and Iron Ox.

Admittedly, the software works best for companies that are building new manufacturing processes and capabilities and don’t have a lot of legacy infrastructure to start with. Part of the reason that Tesla and SpaceX have been able to achieve the cost reductions they have is by redesigning systems to operate more flexibly and adapt to information that’s coming off the product line, Talati said. “That’s how we were able to achieve the order of magnitude cost reduction that is the Falcon 9… applying data upstream and feeding that data back and embracing that chaos.”

Talati said that many manufacturers rely on processes that are overly rigid and need to be untangled. Already, big aerospace, defense and auto manufacturers are acquiring or partnering with newer manufacturing startups to take advantage of the expertise and flexibility these companies offer. Talati pointed to Millennium Space System’s acquisition by Boeing and the contract that Hermeus received to design a hypersonic Air Force 1 jet. “We really evolve through enabling that new culture of agile manufacturing,” Talati said.

The company currently has six customers (with the bulk of them signing on in June and July) and charges per-seat in a traditional software as a service model.

To date, First Resonance has raised less than $ 2 million from local Los Angeles investors, including Fika Ventures, Wavemaker, Stage Venture Partners and Village Global. 

The Los Angeles-based company harvested talent from SpaceX, NASA, Lexus and other aerospace and car manufacturers, and is tackling an emerging market for industrial software that could reach $ 14.9 billion, according to research from the analytics firm Markets and Markets provided by the company. 

Much of that demand is being driven by the diaspora of SpaceX talent into the broader aerospace and defense and manufacturing ecosystem, said Talati. That’s also a great selling point for the company when it makes its pitch, he said.

“That makes it quite easy for us… there’s a very easy way for us to say, ‘That thing we were working on together… Well… We’re doing it at the kind of unit economics where you don’t need a billionaire CEO to finance it.’ ”

The lessons from SpaceX around empowering individuals and giving them connectivity into the system enables the company to continue to innovate on its iterative products, Talati said. And First Resonance is providing a toolkit other companies can use to bring that mindset into their own manufacturing.

“We invested in First Resonance because the founders Karan and Neal are uniquely qualified to build this company thanks to their experience at SpaceX and Uptake Technologies,” said Mikal Khoso, associate, Wavemaker Partners, in a statement. “The digitization of manufacturing is a long-overdue revolution in an industry full of outdated technology and methods. First Resonance is building the factory operating system for modern manufacturing, helping hardware companies build 21st-century products in a 21st-century fashion.”

Startups – TechCrunch

Brussels-based Awell Health raises €2 million to bring collaboration and productivity tools to the healthcare sector

Awell Health, the Belgian healthcare technology startup, has raised around €2 million to bring unique collaboration and productivity tools to the healthcare industry. Early stage VC investor LocalGlobe led the round, with involvement from Moonfire. Awell Health, founded in 2018, enables healthcare organisations to create, implement and continually update care pathways to improve patient outcomes….

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EU-Startups

Mailchimp launches new AI tools as it continues its transformation to marketing platform

Mailchimp may have started out as an easy to use newsletter tool, but that was almost 20 years ago. Today’s company still does email, but at its core, it is now a marketing automation platform for small businesses that also offers a website builder, basic online stores, digital ad support and analytics to make sense of it all. Like before, though, the company’s main goal is to make all these features easy to use for small business users.

Image Credits: Mailchimp

Today, Mailchimp, which has never taken outside funding, is taking the next step in its own transformation with the launch of a set of AI-based tools that give small businesses easy access to the same kind of capabilities that their larger competitors now use. That includes personalized product recommendations for shoppers and forecasting tools for behavioral targeting to see which users are most likely to buy something, for example. But there’s now also a new AI-backed tool to help business owners design their own visual asset (based in part on its acquisition of Sawa), as well as a tool to help them write better email subject lines.

There’s also a new tool that helps businesses choose the next best action. It looks at all of the data the service aggregates and gives users actionable recommendations for how to improve their email campaign performance.

Image Credits: Mailchimp

“The journey to get here started about four years ago,” Mailchimp’s founding CEO Ben Chestnut told me. “We were riding high. Email was doing amazing for us. And things look so good. And I had a choice, I felt I could sell the business and make a lot of money. I had some offers. Or I could just coast, honestly. I could just be a hero in email and keep it simple and just keep raking in the money. Or I could take on another really tough challenge, which would be act two of  MailChimp. And I honestly didn’t know what that would be. To be honest with you, that was four years ago, it could have been anything really.”

But after talking to the team, including John Foreman, the head of data analytics at the time and now Mailchimp’s CPO, Chestnut put the company on this new path to go after the marketing automation space. In part, he told me, he did so because he noted that the email space was getting increasingly crowded. “You know how that ends. I mean, you can’t stay there forever with this many competitors. So I knew that we had to up our game,” he said.

And that meant going well beyond email and building numerous new products.

Image Credits: Mailchimp

“It was a huge transformation for us,” Chestnut acknowledged. “We had to get good at building for other customer segments at the time, like e-commerce customers and others. And that was new for us, too. It’s all kinds of new disciplines for us. To inflict that kind of change on your employees is very, very rough. I just can’t help but look back with gratitude that my employees were willing to go on this journey with me. And they actually had faith in me and this release — this fall release — is really the culmination of everything we’ve been working on for four years to me.”

One thing that helped was that Mailchimp already had e-commerce customers — and as Chestnut noted, they were pushing the system to its limit. Only a few years ago, the culture at Mailchimp looked at them as somewhat annoying, though, Chestnut admitted, because they were quite demanding. They didn’t even make the company a lot of money either. At the time, non-profits were Mailchimp’s best customers, but they weren’t pushing the technology to its limits.

Despite this transformation, Mailchimp hasn’t made a lot of acquisitions to accelerate this process. Chestnut argues that a lot of what it is doing — say adding direct mail — is something that was more or less and extension of what it was already good at. But it did make some small AI and ML acquisitions to bring the right expertise in-house, as well as two e-commerce acquisitions, including Lemonstand. Most recently, Mailchimp acquired Courier, a British magazine, newsletter and podcast, marking its first move into the print business.

With this new set of products and services, Mailchimp is now aiming to give small businesses access to the same capabilities the larger e-commerce players have long had, but without the complexity.

To build tools based on machine learning, one needs data — and that’s something Mailchimp already had.

“We’ve been doing marketing for decades,” Mailchimp CPO Foreman said. “And we have millions of small businesses on the platform. And so not only do we build all these tools ourselves, which allows us to integrate them from a visual design perspective — they’re not necessarily acquisitions — but we have this common data set from years and years of doing marketing across millions of businesses, billions of customers we’re talking to, and so we thought, how can we use intelligence — artificial intelligence, machine learning, etc. — to also sand down how all of these tools connect.”

Chestnut says he isn’t likely to put the company on a similar transformation anytime soon. “I really believe you can only take on one major transformation per decade,” he said. “And so you better pick the right one and you better invest it. We’re all in on this all-in-one marketing platform that’s e-commerce enabled. That is unique enough. And now what I’m trying to get my company to do is go deep.”

Startups – TechCrunch

Tools to help your business grow — Entrepreneur’s Handbook 3,2,1 Dispatch

Tools to help your business grow — Entrepreneur’s Handbook 3,2,1 Dispatch

Hello everyone, welcome to our fourth bi-monthly dispatch to help you better navigate your business or start a new one.

This 3,2,1 houses our 3 most viewed articles, 2 of our personal favorites, and 1 of our oldies but goodies that resonated with a lot of readers.

3 Most Read Articles

Steve Jobs’s Definition of “Smart” Will Reprogram Your Idea of Intelligence by Alan Trapulionis

Amazon Is Offering 33,000 Tech Jobs Paying $ 150k, And You Should Take It by Alan Trapulonis

2 Most Powerful Ways to Remember Everything You Learn by Thomas Oppong

2 Editor’s Picks

Airbnb’s CEO Brian Chesky Says This Is How To Build The Best Company Culture by Amardeep Parmar

Meet the Programmer Who Could Have Bought Google for $ 1 Million by Aaron Dinin, PhD

Editor’s Note: We want to congratulate Aaron on connecting with many of the most important innovators in internet history for his new Web Masters podcast. The first edition is with Louis Mounier, the man behind the world’s first popular search engine.

1 From The Vault

According to Steve Jobs, This One Thing Separates The Doers from The Dreamers by Michael Thompson

Thank you for reading and supporting us.

If you would like to submit a new article please read our submission guidelines and use the google form on a Monday.


Tools to help your business grow — Entrepreneur’s Handbook 3,2,1 Dispatch was originally published in Entrepreneur's Handbook on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Entrepreneur's Handbook – Medium

Deel nabs $30M more for payroll, compliance and other tools to run global workforces

Remote working has become the norm for many of us not on the front lines, and what’s been notable is that this is also changing the mindset for a lot of organizations, which are now hiring from an increasingly global talent pool. Today, a startup called Deel — which provides payroll, compliance tools and other services to help businesses do that in a more seamless way — is announcing $ 30 million in new funding to double down on the opportunity.

“We want to give access to services that remote workforces have typically not had access to,” said Alex Bouaziz, the CEO who co-founded the company with Shuo Wang (the CRO). “We want to be the platform for employees and contractors who are working abroad. We went to give them all the same level of care as employees working in the main office.”

The Series B is being led by Spark Capital and comes closely on the heels of Deel raising $ 14 million in a Series A only a few months ago led by Andreessen Horowitz. Deel is an alum of Y Combinator and counts the incubator, along with Nat Friedman, Ryan Petersen, John Zimmer, William Hockey and Alexis Ohanian, among its other investors.

Deel has now raised some $ 48 million to date, and while Bouaziz said that the startup is not disclosing valuation, he did confirm that the number has grown three-fold since May.

That may sound like a very rapid (too rapid?) progression, but it speaks to the company’s momentum. Deel is now being used by more than 500 companies (adding over 100 since May) and covering thousands of employees across 140+ countries. And it also underscores the specific market area in which Deel is working and the demand for what it offers.

In the words of Spark’s general partner Yasmin Razavi, who led the investment for the firm after proactively reaching out to Bouaziz over Twitter to get acquainted, all of the buzz these days is about workforce productivity tools and cloud services to manage data securely and efficiently among newly distributed workers, but Deel is helping fix something even more fundamental to keep from putting the cart before the horse, so to speak, when it comes to employing people across borders, whether they are employees or contractors.

“Everyone keeps talking about tools like Slack, Notion and Zoom as enablers,” she said, “but the reality is that if you can’t hire and pay people, there is no workforce.”

The problem that Deel is solving is the fact that up to now it’s not been very easy to do this. Companies either have to set up or already have in place local entities, or work with local legal teams to get things right. Chances are that if you are scaling quickly, you may not have these in place already, and might not have the funds to set it up if you don’t. That, in turn, might keep an organization from making the leap to working with the person abroad, or at least limiting the scope of engagement between the worker and company as a result.

(Deel is priced on a per-seat basis starting at $ 35 per person per month, but that varies by volume, services used and whether the person is a contractor or employee, and so on.)

Deel today already provides various tools to employees and the organizations that they work for, such as payroll services, tax compliance information, assistance on building contracts, invoicing services and a range of insurance options covering health and other areas related to working life.

The range of services currently includes lots of localised options: the contract tools, for example, help organizations build contracts that comply with local labor laws; the payroll offers different options localised for the best way to pay people in specific markets; and Deel provides comparative scenarios for employers to figure out if it’s best to keep people on contracts or take them on full time.

Now the plan is to continue building out that stack with more services aimed at both the workers and their employers. That includes loans based on salary for workers, more insurance and benefits options and so on. Interestingly, the fact that Deel offers so many integrated services that include recurring payments means that its life cycle with customers (and within the bigger two-sided marketplace, with employees) extends beyond simply just onboarding workers.

Razavi, Bouaziz and Wang are themselves the products of the rapid workforce globalisation that Deel has identified and builds products to support. The two co-founders met as students at MIT, but Wang comes from China, and Bouaziz is from Paris with family also in Israel, while Razavi herself is from Canada.

All effectively converged in what had become the de facto center of the tech universe, San Francisco — but these days they are not at all in the same places. Razavi spoke to me from Toronto, where she was quarantining before returning to the U.S. after a necessary trip to Portugal. Bouaziz spoke to me from Israel, where he went to see his family at the very start of the pandemic and has remained ever since. Wang is still in San Francisco for the moment.

It’s anyone’s guess where the three will be a year from now, and the point of Deel is that the company’s tools remove that variable from the equation. If things continue the way they have for the last eight months, that variable — where are you working from? — is going to be an increasingly common one, but with the help of a service like Deel’s, not a deal-breaker when it comes to getting a job or hiring the right person for a role.

There are a number of other companies out there that are disrupting the very incumbent world of payroll services, including the likes of Gusto and Rippling. The interesting thing with Deel is how it has focused squarely on the opportunity of providing services for people who are working across national borders. If that does become more commonplace, it’s likely to see significantly more competition, but for now, it’s a huge opportunity that’s only just opening up.

Startups – TechCrunch

Sarbacane, maker of Mailify, raises $27M for marketing tools

Marketing technology — and specifically tools that help companies leverage the internet to connect with customers in a way that is compliant with a new wave of data protection and privacy policies — continues to see a lot of traction with businesses and investors. In the latest development, Sarbacane, the French company that makes the Mailify SaaS-based email and text marketing platform, along with other other martech software, has raised $ 27 million, funding that it plans to use to continue building more technology in areas like AI-based marketing automation, as well as to continue its international expansion.

French investment company IDI is leading the investment with a $ 10 million stake, with management — led by founder Mathieu Tarnus — also investing. Tarnus has been and remains the majority shareholder. Paul de Fombelle, the COO who was on the founding team of the company, said the valuation is around $ 45 million with this investment.

Sarbacane — an instrument that has dual (relevant) meanings, an ear trumpet (for hearing better), and a blowpipe for sending out darts — is not exactly a startup in the strictest sense. The company is based out of the north of France, in a town called Hem, and it has been around for nearly 20 years — founded in 2001. It is already profitable, and it has raised some money in the past but has never disclosed how much.

It has some 10,000 customers on its books already, with a heavy emphasis on small and medium businesses, but also government agencies and a number of big names such as Christian Dior, L’Occitane, Mondial Relay and Warner Music, which do some self-service but also lean on consultancy from Sarbacane itself to help fine-tune how it all works.

All this, actually, makes Sarbacane quite a typical European startup, where we see a lot of businesses bootstrap themselves for years and turn profitable before at some point tapping investors, while still staying private, to take some money to boost growth. (In fact, just yesterday Mollie out of the Netherlands announced funding around a similar kind of growth/profit story, but there are a number of other examples across the whole of the continent.)

Sarbacane’s flagship product is an SaaS-based tool that lets businesses craft, send out, measure and respond to marketing campaigns over email and text messaging, which is sold as Sarbacane in France and Mailify outside of Francophonic countries. It competes with the likes of Mailchimp (the US-based martech ‘startup’ that’s also been around for ages and remains bootstrapped) and accounts for the majority of the $ 13 million in revenues that Sarbacane made last year, and the $ 16 million it expects to make this year.

Other products that it has moved into over the years include Layout for email design; Sarbacane Chat (for running chatbots); and Touchdown (a kind of all-in-one, multichannel marketing platform akin to Salesforce’s or Adobe’s marketing clouds), and it has more recently started to also grow by way of acquisition, acquiring the Datananas B2B prospecting platform to more deeper into CRM.

De Fombelle said that the company plans to use some of the funding to continue making acquisitions as we continue to see more consolidation in the fragmented world of marketing technology.

“We raised this money because in Europe, the players in email marketing and marketing automation are ten times smaller than they are in the US,” he said. “The market is huge in Europe but still very fragmented and so we have a big ambition to be a part of the consolidation.”

There has been a large swing in recent years where people have become acutely aware of marketing technology, but not for a great reason: it’s because of the gradual realisation of just how much of our data is sucked up and used by a wide range of companies to profile us and sell more to us in the future. Sometimes this is used in pretty nefarious ways, sometimes innocuously, sometimes actually quite usefully. Now, a wave of new regulations is making us all too aware of just how much of this happens, and is in the most proactive cases helping us cut down some of those vines, by giving us more control over how our data is used online.

All that potentially puts martech companies, and businesses using a lot of marketing and advertising technology, into an interesting, and sometimes not great, position, but de Fombelle said that in fact it’s been a big benefactor of the rise of GDPR, not least because it has always had a strong view on data protection and put a lot of the measures required by the regulations in place well before they were conceived.

That’s one reason why investors are interested even if Sarbacane itself hasn’t been trumpeting its own brand much.

“The Sarbacane Group is accelerating its development through the growth of its various brands, all of which are leaders in their respective markets. We are thrilled to partner with the team in the implementation of this strategy, and in its diversification and acquisition projects in the field of marketing software and B2B services,” said Julien Bentz, a new investor and member of IDI’s executive committee.

Startups – TechCrunch

Tools to help your business grow — Entrepreneur’s Handbook 3,2,1 Dispatch

Tools to help your business grow — Entrepreneur’s Handbook 3,2,1 Dispatch

Hello everyone, welcome to our third bi-monthly dispatch to help you better navigate your business or start a new one.

This 3,2,1 houses our 3 most viewed articles, 2 of our personal favorites, and 1 of our oldies but goodies that resonated with a lot of readers.

3 Most Read Articles

Google’s Genius $ 49/mo Course Is About to Replace College Degrees by Alan Trapulionis

How 7 Lines of Code Turned Into a $ 36 Billion Empire by Alan Trapulonis

Why $ 50,000 a Month Should Be Your Revenue Goal by Travis Hubbard

2 Editor’s Picks

5 Ways to Monetize Your Mind by Michael Thompson

Elon Musk’s 2 Rules For Learning Anything Faster by Jake Daghe

1 From The Vault

This Is What It Takes to Go from $ 0 to $ 1 Million in Less Than One Year by Stephen Moore

Thank you for reading and supporting us.

If you would like to submit a new article please read our submission guidelines and use the google form on a Monday.


Tools to help your business grow — Entrepreneur’s Handbook 3,2,1 Dispatch was originally published in Entrepreneur's Handbook on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Entrepreneur's Handbook – Medium

Eden intros SaaS tools in a bid to become a more comprehensive office management platform

Eden, the office management platform founded by Joe du Bey and Kyle Wilkinson, is today announcing the launch of several new enterprise software features. The company, which offers a marketplace for office managers to procure services like office cleaning, repairs, etc., is looking to offer a more comprehensive platform.

The software features include a COVID team safety tool that tracks who is coming into the office, and lets them reserve a specific desk to help ensure social distancing precautions are being taken.

“For us, the pandemic really accelerated our plans around enterprise tools,” said Joe du Bey. “We realized by talking to our clients that what they need right now isn’t services. Services are important, but what they really want in this moment is to have software so they can get back into the office.”

Eden is also introducing a service desk ticketing tool to allow workers to make requests or file a ticket for a broken piece of equipment from their own desktop, as well as a visitor management tool and a room booking tool.

The company’s acquisition of Managed By Q, its biggest competitor in the services space, also greatly accelerated its ability to deliver software. Managed By Q, which was acquired by WeWork in 2019 for $ 220 million, was already on the trajectory of building out software well before its acquisition by Eden, and had itself acquired companies like Hivy to offer SaaS-based tools to customers.

As Eden grows its product portfolio, competition still abounds. Envoy (with just under $ 60 million in funding) has been in the visitor management space since its inception and is looking to broaden its product portfolio beyond office visitors. UpKeep is charging into the service ticket space with a mobile app to make it easier for service workers within an office to do their job and move seamlessly from task to task. Meanwhile, Robin is in the mix with its own room booking platform.

The point? There is clearly a rush to build out a platform that helps folks manage the physical space of an office and the people within it. Eden, with $ 40 million in total funding, is well positioned to duke it out for the top spot among a variety of competitors who are angling to ‘do it all.’

“This is a board meeting question: are we fighting too many battles or is comprehensiveness our most important asset?” said du Bey. “We have a completeness to our vision. A lot of our customers are saying they want a few tools from one place versus the very fragmented experience they have today. But there are trade offs in comprehensiveness. It means that someone can can spend all day building a hundred integrations for their app that for us might not be possible. So, there are some really interesting trade offs.”

That’s not without hardship, however. Eden had to layoff about 40 percent of its workforce amid the coronavirus pandemic. And though COVID has slowed growth, du Bey says that revenue in April 2020 was still higher than it was the year prior.

Alongside trying to support marketplace partners and customers through the pandemic, Eden has also introduced new ways to search for service providers, including a way to solicit a bid from black-owned businesses in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement.

The Eden team is 52 percent female. Black employees represent 12 percent of the workforce, and Latinx employees represent 8 percent of the workforce.

Startups – TechCrunch

Tools to help your business grow — Entrepreneur’s Handbook 3,2,1 Dispatch

Tools to help your business grow — Entrepreneur’s Handbook 3,2,1 Dispatch

Hello everyone, welcome to our second bi-monthly dispatch to help you better navigate your business or start a new one.

This 3,2,1 houses our 3 most viewed articles, 2 of our personal favorites, and 1 of our oldies but goodies that resonated with a lot of readers.

3 Most Read Articles

From Programmer to Billionaire at Age 33 by Alan Trapulionis

The 5 Habits of Eventual Millionaires by Niklas Göke

The Disney Way to Defining Your Startup’s 3 Pillars by Geoff Cook

2 Editor’s Picks

The Fight to Save My Company and My Life by Kevin Swan

Stop Cheating On Your Business Idea by Matt Sandrini

1 From The Vault

According to Warren Buffett, Honing This One Skill Can Improve Your Worth by 50 Percent by Michael Thompson

Thank you for reading and supporting us.

If you would like to submit a new article please read our submission guidelines and use the google form on a Monday.


Tools to help your business grow — Entrepreneur’s Handbook 3,2,1 Dispatch was originally published in Entrepreneur's Handbook on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Entrepreneur's Handbook – Medium

FT Global Legal Hackathon gallery: from whistleblower shields to disruptive compliance tools – Financial Times

FT Global Legal Hackathon gallery: from whistleblower shields to disruptive compliance tools  Financial Times
“nigeria startups when:7d” – Google News