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Fiberplane nabs € 7.5M seed to bring Google Docs-like collaboration to incident response

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Fiberplane, an Amsterdam-based early stage startup that is building collaborative notebooks for SREs (site reliability engineers)  to collaborate around an incident in a similar manner to group editing in a Google Doc, announced a ​​€ 7.5M (approximately $8.8 million USD) seed round today.

The round was co-led by Crane Venture Partners and Notion Capital with participation from Northzone, System.One and Basecase Capital.

Micha Hernandez van Leuffen (known as Mies) is founder and CEO at Fiberplane. When his previous startup, Werker was sold to Oracle in 2017, Hernandez van Leuffen became part of a much larger company where he saw people struggling to deal with outages (which happen at every company).

“We were always going back and forth between metrics, logs and traces, what I always call this sort of treasure hunt, and figuring out what was the underlying root cause of an outage or downtime,” Hernandez van Leuffen told me.

He said that this experience led to a couple of key insights about incident response: First, you needed a centralized place to pull all the incident data together, and secondly that as a distributed team managing a distributed system you needed to collaborate in real time, often across different time zones.

When he left Oracle in August 2020, he began thinking about the idea of giving DevOps teams and SREs the same kind of group editing capabilities that other teams inside an organization have with tools like Google Docs or Notion and an idea for his new company began to take shape.

What he created with Fiberplane is a collaborative notebook for SRE’s to pull in the various data types and begin to work together to resolve the incident, while having a natural audit trail of what happened and how they resolved the issue. Different people can participate in this notebook, just as multiple people can edit a Google Doc, fulfilling that original vision.

Fiberplane incident response notebook with various types of data about the incident.

Fiberplane collaborative notebook example with multiple people involved. Image Credit: Fiberplane

He doesn’t plan to stop there though. The longer term vision is an operational platform for SREs and DevOps teams to deal with every aspect of an outage. “This is our starting point, but we are planning to expand from there as more I would say an SRE workbench, where you’re also able to command and control your infrastructure,” he said.

Today the company has 13 employees and is growing, and as they do, they are exploring ways to make sure they are building a diverse company, looking at concrete strategies to find more diverse candidates.

“To hire diversely, we’re re-examining our top of the funnel processes. Our efforts include posting our jobs in communities of underrepresented people, running our job descriptions through a gender decoder and facilitating a larger time frame for jobs to remain open,” Elena Boroda, marketing manager at Fiberplane said.

While Hernandez van Leuffen is based in Amsterdam, the company has been hiring people in the UK, Berlin, Copenhagen and the US, he said. The plan is to have Amsterdam as a central hub when offices reopen as the majority of employees are located there.

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Source: https://techcrunch.com/2021/09/16/fiberplane-nabs-e-7-5m-seed-to-bring-google-docs-like-collaboration-to-incident-response/

Startups

The 12 TikTok facts you should know

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Many people don’t understand the cause behind the hype in TikTok usage. All this exists even though many businesses and brands use it. You are totally out of the loop if you have never heard anything about TikTok. With the current internet, many apps and trends emerge every day. You can overlook many of these hypes, but you should be keen on TikTok and start getting TikTok followers. The spread of TikTok in the world can match a bush fire as it happens within a short period. It’s a social media platform where users can make and share short videos between 15 to 60 seconds. Here are the facts you need to know about this TikTok platform.

  1. It started in China

Many famous social media platforms like Instagram and YouTube started in the USA. TikTok came from China. It started as a Chinese project (Douyin) in 2016, the app’s name in Chinese. A vast Chinese technology company called Bytedance owns TikTok. The US tries very much to stop this Chinese social media platform from its fast growth globally. It’s the reason why Trump, the former American president, tried to block it out of the USA.

  1. Active TikTok users are over 800 million

It’s a colossal usage! The latest research shows that more than 800 billion people worldwide are active on it. The number is already more than that of LinkedIn, Twitter, and Snapchat.

If you thought TikTok was a lousy video platform for Gen Z, then you have to rethink. The app is gaining fame day and night, especially for the generation between 10 to 29 years.

  1. It’s the world’s most expensive startup

A private company Bytedance owns the TikTok platform. The company started in 2012, and in 2021, it’s the most valuable startup globally. The estimated value of Bytedance is over USD 75 billion. A startup is a company that is privately owned which makes it to lead. Most of the high companies in the world are not private entities. From the growth statistics, it’s evident that the Bytedance company is healthy. The firm valuation of the company indicates that TikTok will not get sold anytime soon. 

  1. TikTok focuses on Gen Z but not kids

TikTok holds the massive potential to cover all age groups and many continents. The most predominant group on the platform is the young ones. When compared to other social media platforms, TikTok has the youngest user base. Around 70% of the users are between 16 and 25, meaning that only 30% are 26 years and above. Many people ignore TikTok because of its demographics. It’s the reason why it’s a massive hub for the young. When Facebook came, it was an excellent platform for the young. The young generation switched to Instagram when the old started hanging on Facebook.

Many parents and grandparents aren’t aware of how TikTok works. It makes many young generations as early as 10 years stick to TikTok.

  1. 34% active posts every day

The activity level on TikTok is very high than on other platforms. More than 30% of the users post every day. If you need to grow your following, you have to post every day like on any other platform. The platform gives its users a unique and organic reach. Even if you don’t have followers, your post can go viral to reach millions of users.

  1. TikTok isn’t fake like Instagram

Browsing on TikTok makes you feel you are next to ordinary people. Most users on TikTok don’t love Instagram because of the highly polished aesthetic. The platform is more natural. Instagram influencers mainly use the big show-offs via entirely faked shots. The TikTok teenage influencers use it from the comfort of their seats or bedrooms. The platform users need honesty.

The Forbes statistics say that TikTok has overflowing niceness. It has vast comments that empower and encourage people.

  1. Localized content

Despite TikTok is a global app, it aims at raising and popularizing local content. Through such content, hashtags, and challenges, it concentrates on local trends. It makes it adorable to users. On TikTok, you can see content from anywhere in the world. Even if the person who posted the content isn’t your follower, you will see it. That’s why you don’t need a following to go viral with your excellent content.

  1. TikTok isn’t for lip sync only

Most people understand TikTok as musical.ly, a lip-synchronization app. At the end of 2017, after TikTok’s invention, the Bytedance company bought musical.ly. They merged the newly bought app with other features into TikTok. The TikTok videos are broader than the musically videos.

Conclusion

From any of the above factors and others not discussed, it’s evident that TikTok won’t die anytime soon. If you still can’t understand the cause of the TikTok ever-rising hype, download and use it. You will understand better.

Source: Plato Data Intelligence

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Aerospace

TrustPoint raises $2 million for GPS alternative

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SAN FRANCISCO – TrustPoint Inc., a startup developing a global navigation satellite system (GNSS), has raised $2 million in seed funding from venture capital firm DCVC.

With the funding announced Oct. 18, TrustPoint plans to expand its engineering team, continue developing core technologies, including satellite payload testing, and extend key partnerships.

Heavy global reliance on GPS, Europe’s Galileo, Russia’s Glonass and China’s Beidou for everything from communications and transaction timing to maritime and aircraft navigation is prompting companies and government agencies to look for backups and alternatives.

TrustPoint founders Patrick Shannon, a former Astro Digital vice president, and Chris DeMay, former Hawkeye 360 founder and chief technology officer, said GPS alternatives are necessary because the current system is inaccurate, slow, unencrypted, and susceptible to jamming and spoofing. What’s more, GNSS systems alone are not precise enough for many of the emerging commercial applications like drone delivery, self-driving cars, urban air transportation and augmented reality, Shannon and DeMay said.

TrustPoint’s GNSS alternative is intended to provide government and commercial customers with improved service, security and reliability. Promised improvements “include better accuracy, quicker time to first fix, and anti-spoof and anti-jam capabilities,” according to the news release.

“NewSpace startups have been successfully revolutionizing a host of space applications, like launch, earth observation and communications for the past decade,” Patrick Shannon, TrustPoint co-founder and CEO, said in a statement. “Our effort to develop a fully commercial GNSS service is the logical next step to this trend, a much-needed layer of security for today’s GPS users, and an enabler for nascent applications in the autonomous navigation sector.”

DCVC Partner Chris Boshuizen, who led the firm’s investment in TrustPoint, said in a statement, “It’s easy to imagine TrustPoint’s innovative and fast-evolving commercial service alongside government GNSS, or even as the primary solution.”

Boshuizen, the former Planet CTO and co-founder who was one of the passengers on the recent Blue Origin New Shepard flight, will join the board of directors for TrustPoint, a firm based in Silicon Valley and Northern Virginia.

DCVC also has invested in radar satellite operator Capella Space and launch vehicle provider Rocket Lab.


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Source: https://spacenews.com/trustpoint-seed-round/

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Startups

Customer Acquisition: 5 Cost Effective Ways to Reach Customers Online

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Returning customers will spend 57% more money than new customers. However, this doesn’t mean that you must focus all your resources on keeping current customers.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to reach new customers. The presence of online marketing platforms provides cheap marketing alternatives. Small businesses can now convert new leads without investing in an expensive marketing campaign.

So, how can you reach new customers? Here are five effective strategies for new customer acquisition.

  1. Use Social Proof

You’ve told your customers that your services and products are of the best quality. Yet, most people will believe your claims if another person praises your products or services. These individuals shouldn’t be associated with your company.

The majority of customers buy products recommended by their relatives or friends. It’s important that you request your current customers to provide their honest reviews of your products. You’ll then post positive customer testimonials on your website and social media platforms.

Social proof will increase your brand’s positive reputation and attract new customers.

  1. Use Chatbots

Interacting and answering customer questions is a time-consuming process for any busy marketer. However, you should get chatbot software to converse with and attract customers. The chatbot can answer common customer questions and introduce them to your business.

Unlike human agents, chatbots have a 24/7 online presence. They’ll be doing the job of your sales and marketing team members. You can also use AI to improve the chatbot’s responses to customer queries.

  1. Design Gated Content

If you’re creating good content, you can create restrictions around it. A person will only be able to read that content after they’ve filled a form. This is a smart method since customers will be providing their information in exchange for free content.

Your gated content can include reports, guides, and white papers. The content should be well-researched and present current information.

  1. Create an Optimized Website

Your websites should be popular and easily accessible if you want to attract more customers. You can create a marketing funnel on your website to categorize potential customers into segments. Targeted ads can then be shown to each segment of customers.

The websites should have visible calls-to-actions on every page. This call to action can appear at the bottom of your pages or as pop-ups.

You must also ensure that your website is mobile-friendly. Visitors to your website will only become customers if they get a good experience while browsing your website.

Learn more about these strategies by consulting a reputable SEO company.

  1. Create Attractive Social Media Profiles

Your social media followers should be the first people to know about your latest offerings. Therefore, there should be regular product highlights on your social media profiles. Images and videos must accompany these social media posts.

It’s also a good idea to connect your social media profiles to your website. For example, each social media post can have a link or call to action button to your website.

Use Customer Acquisition Strategies to Boost Sales

Customer acquisition is one of the most important things that any business can do. New customers will buy more products and services, and this will increase your overall sales. You can use affordable and straightforward strategies to attract new customers.

For more practical Tech and digital marketing tips, please read our other blogs.

 

Source: Plato Data Intelligence

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Biotechnology

Volta Labs: Improving workflows for genetic applications

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The cost of DNA sequencing has plummeted at a rate faster than Moore’s Law, opening large markets in the sequencing space. Genomics for cancer care alone is predicted to hit $23 billion by 2025, but sample preparation costs for sequencing have stagnated, causing a significant bottleneck in the space.

Conventional sample preparation, converting DNA from a saliva sample, for example, into something that can be fed to a sequencing machine, relies on a liquid-handling robot. It is essentially a mechanical arm equipped with pipette tips that moves liquid samples to plastic plates and other instruments placed on the deck. These systems involve multiple fluidic transfers that lead to poor utilization of reagents and samples, which means less DNA sequenced. Moreover, they are systems of separate data silos that lack integration and rely on expensive consumables.

Unlike traditional liquid-handling automation, the suite of solutions developed by MIT Media Lab spinoff Volta Labs provides end-to-end integration for a wide variety of workflows. It’s a sleek alternative to costly liquid handling machines and manual pipetting. “Our technology is a small-scale, benchtop device that is low-cost and has minimal consumable usage, enabling rapid and flexible composition of new biological workflows,” says Volta Labs co-founder and Head of Engineering Will Langford SM ’14, PhD ’19.

The Volta platform is based on digital microfluidic technology developed at MIT by Langford’s co-founder, Volta Labs CEO Udayan Umapathi SM ’17. The core principle behind the innovation is called electrowetting. It allows its users to manipulate droplets around a printed circuit board to perform biological reactions, automating from raw sample to prepared library that can be run on a sequencing machine.

Umapathi arrived at the Media Lab with what he describes as “a fascination for building automation from the ground up.” Though trained as an engineer, Umapathi has applied his skills to a variety of fields. In 2015, he founded a startup that created web and physical tools to enable content creation for digital manufacturing. However, it was while working for a synthetic biology company, engineering liquid-handling systems for genome engineering solutions, that he identified the scaling up of automation as a pain point for the field.

Meanwhile, Langford spent his MIT days at the Center for Bits and Atoms, a proudly interdisciplinary program that explores the boundary between computer science and physical science. His research centered on the idea that engineering could learn from biology. Put another way, all of life is assembled from 20 amino acids, so, thought Langford, why not attempt something similar with engineering?

In practice, this meant he built integrated robots from a small set of millimeter-scale parts. “Ultimately, I was trying to make engineering more like biology,” he reflects. “I see Volta as an opportunity to flip that on its head and use automation to treat biology more like engineering. We want to give biologists tools to manipulate liquids and biological reactions at a finer granularity and with more digital flexibility.”

While Volta’s automation platform simplifies sample prep by integrating complicated workflows, it also drives down costs in the space with a new consumable construction. Between the circuit board and the sample board is a consumable layer, which is removed and replaced after each run. Conventional consumables are expensive, conductively coded plastics or large microfluidic structures. Volta, however, uses a simple plastic film to reduce the cost of consumables, which opens the door for the widespread adoption of gene sequencing.

All of this points to a more efficient and inclusionary model in the gene sequencing space. Thanks to Volta, soon, it won’t be just large biotechnology companies with the ability to invest in automation. Academic labs, core facilities, and small-to-medium biotech companies won’t need to worry about whether they can afford an expensive mechanical robot. “The thing that excites me is that we’re providing early-stage and mid-to-low-throughput biotech companies with powerful tools that will allow them to compete with bigger players, which is good for the industry as a whole,” says Umapathi.

And the fact is that traditional automation machines used in the biotechnology space come with their own set of problems. They’re error-prone and you can’t scale them. Consider Illumina’s NovaSeq sequencer. It’s capable of sequencing 48 whole human genomes in under two days — that’s 20 billion unique reads — but there is currently no automation to feed those machines at scale. “To run those machines day in and day out, the cost simply doesn’t make sense, which is why we have to tackle the cost of sequencing and sample prep,” says Umapathi.

Volta’s system is built on solid-state electronics, and the Boston-based startup is looking to leverage the scalability of the semiconductor fabrication industry and the PCB manufacturing industry. “The goal,” explains Langford, “is to enable biologists to create an experiment and modify it quickly, iterate on it, and generate the data necessary to see biology at scale.”

Beyond the sample prep bottleneck, eventually, the work of Umapathi and Langfordwork will impact a variety of applications in the synthetic biology industry and the biopharma industry. Diagnostics will be transformed, according to Umapathi. “We can help the biology industry by cutting down on the use of pipette tips by 20 or 50 times. In specific workflows, we can almost entirely eliminate this bottleneck in the supply chain,” he says.

To accomplish all of this, to truly innovate in a field as complex as biology, Umapathi and Langford insist that a multidisciplinary systems perspective is essential. It’s what informs the Volta approach to genomic sequencing in particular, and biology as a whole. “Volta is a new type of biotechnology company,” says Umapathi. “It’s inevitable that more engineers and systems thinkers and those who want to build tools to engineer biology better will join companies like ours or start their own.”

Turning biology into an engineering principle is no small feat, but according to Umapathi and Langford, it’s a necessity.

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Source: https://news.mit.edu/2021/volta-labs-improving-workflows-genetic-applications-1014

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