What’s inside the Energy Integration Lab?

Zachary Mazur Uncategorized Leave a Comment

One of the exciting pieces of TBEIC’s Energy Integration Lab is the IoT lab. The lab is filled with useful Keysight equipment that we’re fortunate enough to be provided with. Here are details on just a few of the unique pieces that makeup a portion of our lab.

A

The Keysight N6705C DC Power Analyzer can become a DMM, oscilloscope, arbitrary waveform generator, and datalogger. The interface has been revised to make it even easier to use. It outputs a beautiful dashboard to our desktop with data in units of seconds, minutes, hours, and days to see current consumption of the device under test. A test you can create on the power analyzer!

B

Keysight 34460A 6.5-digit Truevolt Multimeter with 1000V max voltage input and 3A max current input. This device is perfect to test low power devices with low DC current [100 µA to 3 A]. The machine has color, graphical display with built in bar chart, histogram, and math stats to show results. The accuracy of the device allows for calibration of some of our equipment without the use of shunts. The 34460A gives a serious productivity boost!

C

Keysight InfiniiVision MSOX4034A Mixed Signal Oscilloscope is the best on the market! Beginning with the massive 12.1” capacitive touch display screen to the Touch Zone Trigger feature. The unit has a built-in help feature that displays information on any button you press and hold down. The scope has an 8-bit digitizer or 256 discrete voltage levels on the screen for maximum signal resolution. The machine also has a consistent and quick update rate. When attached to a frequency counter, it sees 613kHz (waveforms) per second. The best thing is when enabling digital channels and serial decode, the update rate is not affected. This is accredited to the Megazoom IV ASIC Technology which does digital acquisition and serial decode in hardware. This machine handles memory depth automatically, hence the high update rate. The scope uses Segmented Memory feature to capture data you want and ignore the rest to maximize storage.

Interesting in seeing the equipment in action? Contact TBEIC by visiting HERE.

Six Steps to Starting Your Startup, Step Two: Secure Funding

Daniel Sylak Uncategorized Leave a Comment

This post is the second of a six-part series on some recommended steps to launching a startup business. (Here is the first post in the series.) However, there is no one way to start any business, so you should always consult multiple sources and/or authorities on what your business may need before you start it.

Getting Funded

Every business needs money to operate, and startups especially need money to get going. Startups need a business plan (as we mentioned in the first post in the series) to procure the money that can help them get the funding they need to begin work and to continue operating. Once you have made a business plan, you can give it to investors or financial institutions to procure funding or a loan.

Types of Funding

Incubators and accelerators are one form of early-stage funding for startup companies, usually called seed funding. Investors may give you money in exchange for an equity stake in your company if they see value in your company and its ideas. Financial institutions, on the other hand, will give you a loan with a somewhat high interest rate. Because of the lower cost of capital, it’s generally a better idea to get an investor in your business or go to an incubator or accelerator.

Types of Investors

Incubators, accelerators and investors all provide funding, usually for a stake in your company’s equity, but accelerators and incubators usually supply initial funding alongside support services and guidance. Until your idea and business is a little more mature, an incubator or accelerator is likely a better bet for your business to secure funding. After you’ve developed your business and are better able to demonstrate its value, seeking funding from a venture capitalist or angel investor is good idea. An angel investor is usually a single investor looking to invest a little in a company while exercising a somewhat higher risk tolerance. A venture capitalist is usually a large firm with a lot of money to invest which usually has a slightly lower risk tolerance.

Finding Additional Funding

Once you are ready to seek series A funding (your first foray into larger amounts of funding from investors) and beyond, finding venture capitalists is your best bet. For those residing in Ohio, you can seek out funding from Youngstown’s Valley Growth Ventures. VGV is a for-profit investment fund created to support high-growth companies across the state of Ohio. 

More Reading:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/mnewlands/2017/03/02/how-to-get-funding-for-your-startup/#70ae3a0c1ccb

http://www.valleygrowthventures.com/

References:

https://neilpatel.com/blog/get-startup-off-ground/

https://startupnation.com/start-your-business/seed-money-entrepreneurs-get/

Six Steps to Starting Your Startup, Step One: Write a Business Plan

Daniel Sylak Uncategorized Leave a Comment

This post is the first of a six-part series on some recommended steps to launching a startup business. However, there is no one way to start any business, so you should always consult multiple sources on what your business may need before you start it.

What is a Business Plan?

In short, a business plan is a plan for what you want your business to become and how you will get it there. It generally outlines the first three to five years of your business. Not only does a business plan help you identify the direction you want your startup to go in, but it allows you do so in a more tangible way that is understandable and approachable by other people.

Why Do You Need a Business Plan?

A business plan helps other people to understand the purpose and goals of your business. Once people understand your business, you can use your plan to obtain access to important financial resources like investment capital and loans. Access to capital means you now have the means to continue launching your startup.

What Goes Into a Business Plan?

Depending on your needs, you can write either a lean startup plan or a traditional business plan. A lean startup plan covers high-level items and only the key elements of your business, and takes as little as an hour to write. On the other hand, traditional business plan is very detailed, comprehensive and takes a considerable amount of time to write.

Where Do I Start?

Well, a good place to start is with the Small Business Administration’s guide to business plans (see the references at the end of the article). Another helpful tool for people residing in Ohio is the Small Business Builder from Gale. To access it, you’ll need a free library card from the Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County. You can then go to Research>Business Resources>Research & Information>Business Plans and you’ll find the Small Business Builder. Click, sign in using your library card number and you’re all set to start using the free and intuitive tool for planning your business.

More Reading:

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/281416

References:

https://www.sba.gov/business-guide/plan-your-business/write-your-business-plan

https://neilpatel.com/blog/get-startup-off-ground/

What is a Coworking Space?

Daniel Sylak Uncategorized Leave a Comment

TBEICArtboard 1Infographic

What is Coworking?

Coworking is, put simply, a variety of people getting their respective work done in a shared space. These people may be entrepreneurs, freelancers or even employees of larger companies whom work remotely. The shared space, referred to as a coworking space, is often designed specifically with its users and their intent to work in mind, possessing amenities and resources to meet their various needs. But another key component of any co-working space is the sense of community between co-workers which is facilitated by the space or the co-workers themselves.

The Benefits of Coworking

Coworking presents many benefits over working in typical spaces like home, a coffee shop or even your usual workplace. The first of these benefits is the space’s dedication to the purpose of work makes it a better place for people to get things done, free of the noise and distractions that typically accompany a coffee shop or home office. Coworking also makes dedicated work space more accessible for entrepreneurs and free-lancers who usually lack access to office space due to its cost prohibitive nature. The variety provided in a coworking space can make individuals more productive for those working remotely for their regular job in a coworking space. Lastly, the sense of community developed in co-working spaces can create a greater sense of purpose and build professional networks and personal connections between people who may not otherwise interact.

Who Uses Coworking Spaces?

As previously mentioned, coworking spaces are usually inhabited by entrepreneurs, freelancers and employees working remotely, among others. The common thread between these people that finds them utilizing a co-working space is their need for a place to work. While the possibility of using a library, coffee shop or similar space exists, these spaces often lack amenities like access to a variety of resources such as high-speed WiFi, printing and private meeting space. These amenities, though not always necessary to complete work, can definitely make working easier.

How to Find a Coworking Space for You

The first step in finding a coworking space is by doing a simple web search with the location you want to work in along with “coworking space”. You can also search on platforms like Facebook, Coworker.com and other sites that host business listings. The next step is to carefully examine the coworking space’s listings and website to see which one offers the amenities you need. Once you’ve picked a coworking space – or a few, you should contact them for pricing information. Oftentimes, coworking spaces offer you a free first day of coworking so you can try the space before you make any commitment. If you decide you like the coworking space, sign up and get to work!

More reading:

What is Coworking? | Coworker

Why People Thrive in Coworking Spaces | Harvard Business Review

References:

https://www.coworkingresources.org/blog/what-is-coworking

https://www.chargespot.com/workspaces/coworking-spaces/

Notable Startups to Come from Incubator Programs

Daniel Sylak Uncategorized Leave a Comment

About (Change)

Business incubators have churned out a lot of successful startups. While not all startups engaged in incubator programs are successful, some startups have experienced explosive growth from the help of an incubator. You may even be familiar with some startups to have come from incubator programs and the work they’ve done in the time since they’ve worked with an incubator. Today we’ll discuss four startups that came to success out of two of the most widely known incubators. PillPack and Sphero both came out of Techstars while Genius and Dropbox were members of Y Combinator’s program.

PillPack

TJ Parker and Elliott Cohen started PillPack in 2013 at Techstars Boston. In starting PillPack, their mission was to alleviate the complexity of managing multiple prescriptions and simplify the entire pharmacy process. During their time in TechStars’ three month program they raised $4 million in seed funding, followed by a total of $117 million in Series A through Series D funding. Perhaps the most notable of PillPack’s accomplishments, aside from working continuously towards their mission, is their acquisition in 2018 by e-commerce giant Amazon for $1 billion.

Sphero

Sphero started at Techstars in 2010 with a seemingly simple idea that would ultimately prove popular among many: a robotic sphere that could be controlled with a smartphone and used as a toy. The popularity of the idea allowed Sphero to create a BB-8 (from “Star Wars”) branded Sphero toy after a stint in the Disney accelerator in 2015 and secure over $90 million in funding as of 2016. Beyond their popularity as toys, Sphero’s robots can also act as tools for education, encouraging STEAM-based learning curriculum in grade schools.

Genius

Genius, started in 2009 as “RapExegesis”, and later renamed Rap Genius, joined Y Combinator in 2011 as a site to annotate rap lyrics so people could better understand the songs they listened to. Eventually, Genius moved beyond rap annotation to every genre of music, poetry, news and the Bible, before dialing in its focus purely on music. The same year it joined Y Combinator, Genius secured $1.8 million in seed funding, followed by $15 million in funding in 2012 and an additional $40 million in funding in 2014. Now, Genius enjoys increased exposure through annotation integration with Spotify.

Dropbox

Drew Houston founded Dropbox, and shortly joined the Y Combinator program, in 2007 when he struggled to find a cofounder. 4 years later, the popular digital file storage solution obtained funding from venture capitalists at a valuation of $4 billion. This growth, while astounding, is even more significant as Dropbox went on to become the first Y Combinator company to go public in 2018 with a valuation shortly after its IPO of more than $11 billion.

Further Reading:

Techstars Startup Success Rate Sets

Y Combinator Top Companies List

References:

https://venturebeat.com/2014/07/13/the-history-of-rap-genius-from-rap-lyrics-blog-to-annotation-powerhouse/

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/03/23/y-combinator-notched-its-first-ipo-with-dropbox.html

https://www.techstars.com/content/accelerators/pillpack-techstars-class-22-acquired-amazon/

https://www.sphero.com/about/