The aerospace, defense, and automobile industries have long been reliant on obsolete processes for hardware design and manufacturing that do not harness technology. First Resonance, launched by former SpaceX engineers, is the modern manufacturing intelligence platform that allows next-gen hardware companies to innovate, iterate, and get products to market faster with unprecedented real-time visibility into production status. Replacing spreadsheets, documents, and costly legacy manufacturing processes, First Resonance’s ion Factory Operating System leverages data science, API integration, and machine learning to provides flexibility and collaboration between knowledge teams in established manufacturing workflows.
LA TechWatch caught up with CEO and Cofounder Karan Talati to learn more about First Resonance, its impact on manufacturing, how its platform built with engineers and technicians in mind, and the company’s future plans as its emerges out of stealth.
Tell us about the product or service First Resonance offers.
Companies like Tesla and SpaceX have introduced a whole new way to design and manufacture products that uses data across phases of a product’s lifecycle to continually improve other “phases” of development. But startups who want to adopt similar agile manufacturing processes have been forced to stick with outdated manufacturing processes or customize software platforms that were built for other industries, leaving these startups to figure it out for themselves.
Our ion Factory Operating System is a software platform that pairs commonly-used manufacturing workflows with data science, machine learning, and flexible API technologies to break down the barriers between design, manufacturing, and product delivery. This is helping engineers from next-generation hardware companies in aerospace, robotics, and automotive move faster and continuously innovate on delivering better hardware to the world.
Ion is being used by a number of cutting-edge startups including Phase Four, Joby Aviation, and Iron Ox.
Our team is made up of former engineers from SpaceX, NASA, Lexus, and other leading aerospace and automotive manufacturers. After experiencing bottlenecks created by trying to design and manufacture modern hardware products using standard manufacturing processes, we set out to build a modern manufacturing intelligence platform to help hardware companies design and deliver products with the speed and efficiency needed to move these massive industries forward.
How is First Resonance different?
Next-generation hardware manufacturers in fast-growing industries are in a race to get reliable products to market faster. But, unlike software development which has gained huge efficiencies in the past decade, hardware design and manufacturing processes haven’t changed in nearly a century.
We built ion to meet the needs of these up-and-coming hardware companies. It replaces spreadsheets, documents, and outdated, expensive manufacturing and supply chain processes and tools that dominate manufacturing today. Unlike previous generations of manufacturing software, ion emphasizes flexibility and collaboration between both people and automated processes, including machinery, test equipment, and predictive data analysis.
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
We are addressing the needs of the manufacturing execution system market which is anticipated to grow to $14.9B by 2025. This figure is being rapidly accelerated given the massive shift in supply chains and manufacturing landscape brought on by COVID-19 and geopolitical tensions.
What is the business model?
We make it extremely easy for manufacturers to get onboarded. With our cloud infrastructure, a manufacturing company can start using ion in seconds – not wait months to go through process mapping, requirements gathering, and implementation plans. We also make pricing very simple to start, and we even publish it on our website. It’s a simple $100/user/month to get started.
How has COVID-19 impacted the business?
COVID-19 has opened up a number of new opportunities for us. That’s because the issues facing startup hardware manufacturers has become even more acute now, with startup manufacturers forced to figure out how to deliver hardware while their team works from home and deals with broken supply chains caused by COVID-19 restrictions.
Our customer, Phase Four is a perfect example. After the company introduced safety measures to combat the spread of COVID-19, the Phase Four engineers had to figure out a way to continue delivering hardware while working from home. With dedication, rotating shifts, and using the right tools to stay connected, the Phase Four team was able to do it. Engineer Austin Prater used ion to create, review, and share the processes for engineering development hardware running the critical tests while he was at home.
He was able to run a series of critical tests and maintain total traceability of his work using ion’s rich data collection fields, timestamps, and sign-offs. This enabled the Phase Four team to move efficiently while maintaining the required level of data quality that the team needed to qualify and deliver hardware. Whether working in a busy factory or remotely during a global pandemic, ion helps Phase Four deliver hardware with confidence.
Tell us what building your company in LA has been like?
LA has a rich history of manufacturing, especially in aviation. That’s why we started the company here. In the past few years, it has been amazing to watch LA really pop up as a major tech hub. It went from being known for only Hollywood to being the headquarters for some major tech companies, including SpaceX and Snapchat. The diversity and quality of talent is also amazing. For us at First Resonance, it is great that we can get talent from some of the best universities in the world and experienced people who have worked on real tough problems.
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
We are bringing ion out to more customers. In the next 6 months, we plan to increase our customer base substantially while continuing to provide the same great customer experience to get manufacturers on the path to connectivity and automation. We are going to be doubling the team soon to support those efforts, as well as diversifying our customer base into other manufacturing verticals.
What does being “Made in LA” mean to you and your company?
Made in LA means that the product, whatever it may be, has a dynamism and liveliness that is hard to find elsewhere. The diversity of inputs coming from the engineers, designers, and entrepreneurs in LA has a richness to it that reflects the city that it comes from.
The diversity of inputs coming from the engineers, designers, and entrepreneurs in LA has a richness to it that reflects the city that it comes from.
What else can be done to promote early-stage entrepreneurship in Los Angeles?
I think there are a massive number of opportunities to invest in the things that we’re already good at. Rather than following the Silicon Valley or New York playbooks and looking for entrepreneurs tackling those similar challenges, LA is uniquely positioned to solve some of the nation’s tougher challenges. In technology, this could be in transportation, hardware, or logistics. In education, LAUSD is one of the largest school districts and LA has some of the best universities in the world.
What is your favorite restaurant in LA?
That’s a tough one! Given that we are based in DTLA, I have very much enjoyed the rise of the east side food scene. One of my recent favorites is Bavel, so I’ll have to give them the shout out.
You are seconds away from signing up for the hottest list in Los Angeles Tech! Join the millions and keep up with the stories shaping entrepreneurship. Sign up today