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Friday, December 10, 2010
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Is that a Robotic Elephant from the Future to Save Mankind? Or is that a Filter Qualification System?
Lesson Points from the Education of a Driptech Social Venture Fellow:
- Thinking really outside-the-box gets your brain to churn out options that you may not think you would have…especially cool ones like the fire hydrant idea.
- However, connecting the dots is just as important…all big ideas are nothing without practical execution and understanding of the resources at your disposal.
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Monday, November 22, 2010
The installation team from our local NGO partner takes me around the house to where Krishna, the house’s owner, has his fields. Four rolls of driptape and several bags of components lay waiting for us, beside a field that’s intercropped with papaya and eggplant.
We’re here to do a demo installation on Krishna’s field – he’s been selected by the NGO to be a model drip irrigation farmer for the surrounding community. His demo field will be an educational and marketing aid to show the benefits of adopting our low-cost drip irrigation.
Three sweaty hours later, we pose for smiling photos in front of our newly installed drip irrigation. Krishna flips the switch on his electric water pump and we all watch with excitement as the water starts to flow through the pipes and drip lightly onto the waiting plants.
I hop back on the motorcycle and we zip off again through the jumble of small-plot farms. As the fresh rural air blows through my hair, I smile to myself - another installation complete, another partnership underway!
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Within a packed lecture hall with standing-room only, Peter shared his experiences, from building a product in the classroom to converting Driptech’s first sales in India and China. He emphasized the importance of prototyping your product, understanding your customers, and getting your hands dirty.
The panel went overtime, as eager minds posed insightful questions to the social entrepreneurs. Through Q&A, Peter explained why Driptech’s drip irrigation product is scalable. First, the product design allows flexibility to accommodate specific customer needs by scaling up or down based on the size of a farmer’s plot. This ability broadens the range of customers that Driptech is able to serve. Second, Peter explained that Driptech connects with local partners to leverage the existing distribution channels and infrastructure. This approach allows the team to focus on refining the technology, while getting the product out into the hands of customers quickly.
The panel attendees walked away that night with a profound appreciation of what makes Driptech and other social enterprises successful.
Things are VERY exciting right now at Driptech, so be sure to follow us on Facebook!
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Here at Driptech, we strive to simultaneously develop our technology and ship our products. Recently, we finalized a large agreement with a partner organization (stay tuned for more details). Hand-in-hand with this exciting news, we are proud to be scaling up our production capacity.
On the technology development side, we recently received and installed a Haas VF-1, which will allow our engineers to rapidly fabricate, learn from, and improve their designs. Anyone who knows Peter will not find it surprising that he excited about our new ability to CNC our own parts.
Unloading our shipment at the CFS station near SFO.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Peter addressed the challenges of growing the company from a project for the Stanford University class “Entrepreneurial Design for Extreme Affordability” to a professional operation employing over 20 team members in India, China, and the US. He described an early prototype of Driptech’s proprietary manufacturing technology, packaged in a suitcase to demonstrate its portability, and he outlined his vision for the future.
The first step toward this vision will be to transition production to where the markets are, establishing the distributed manufacturing model. The “factory in a shipping container” will enable Driptech to scale huge and fulfill its potential for maximum impact.
Peter closed by sharing three valuable insights acquired along the way:
- Always bring a prototype. People understand best when they can see what you’re talking about.
- Get your hands (and feet) dirty. There’s no substitute for actual experience, and those you meet will welcome you if you pitch in.
- Customers are your best salespeople. Keep them happy and they become an invaluable resource.
Listen to the audio recording at http://www.scu.edu/sts/PublicEngagement/speakers/archives/20092010/driptech.cfm
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
To start off the day, investors in the sustainable agriculture space, including Omnivore, Acumen, and Root Capital, discussed their investment philosophy and portfolios. Following this, we heard from investment banks, the US government, the IFC, the academic community, and heavy hitters in the agriculture space like Coca-Cola and John Deere – all of whom have a stake in sustainable agriculture. I was personally most fascinated by the work of AgDevCo – a non-profit that takes the early stage risk of setting up sustainable agriculture projects in Africa and then hands them over for private sector investment.
After that it was time to share Driptech’s exciting success so far on the Investment Opportunities panel, where I discussed our cutting edge technical development, rapidly growing manufacturing capabilities, and distribution through strong local partners. I also got to share some news fresh from the field – some of our farmers are seeing their crops go for 2x the price per kilogram they sold for before due to dramatically higher quality. (Below, learning about this in Hubli, India.)
Driptech’s simple but powerful mission seemed to resonate deeply with all kinds of people, from industry to government to bloggers. Additionally, as one participant pointed out, my outfit had ended up matching Driptech’s logo, making for a particularly striking presentation. A subconscious sign of innate devotion? All I can say is that my lifelong favorite color is green, and, having spent six years in New York, I also own a lot of black.
Finally, I’d like to share a couple of great statistics that reinforced for me the urgency of Driptech’s mission:
- From Columbia University - the world’s population is expected to increase by 3 billion people by 2050, but 80% of all farmland in the world is already being cultivated
- From the USDA - remaining cultivable land is particularly scarce in Asia – only 15 million hectares remain versus 123 million in Latin America and over 200 million in Africa
Monday, September 13, 2010
Monday, September 6, 2010
The farmers made for enthusiastic interview subjects, offering outspoken opinions alongside piping hot milk tea. Never mind that when the temperature is above 100 F, you’re not in the mood for hot tea; it was a great time, and we enjoyed the opportunity to meet our potential customers and learn more about their lives.
Friday, August 13, 2010
Thursday, August 12, 2010
In Which the Intern Recounts the Quest for the Plastic Packaging Bags
We have had our eyes on a certain bag for packaging our systems in Beijing. In China, it seems that half the travelers at the train station own this type of bag, yet do not recall where they purchased it. I know this because I have enthusiastically asked half the travelers at the train station. This is a bag that an average person has lying around the house, not a bag that an average person goes shopping for.
I did find my elusive plastic bag. But it was hard not to walk aimlessly around in circles. I was almost lured in by the flashing orbs and party crackers at these stands in particular.
I found the door before I made any regrettable purchases for the office.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Trevor contributes to the clean up operation
One of the highlights of the barbecue was the arrival of “Drip Beerigation”, a custom built kegerator inside a Driptech barrel. Expertly designed and built by our friends at Monkey Wrench Design and graciously filled by Dan Gordon at Gordon Biersch (who also provided a wooden keg for the event), Drip Beerigation now sits proudly in our lobby dispensing root beer and looking impressive.
The Team poses with Drip Beerigation and the wood keg
Monday, July 5, 2010
Thursday, July 1, 2010
We are extremely excited to have finished fourth in BusinessWeek’s “America’s Most Promising Social Entrepreneurs” 2010. The contest, which profiles companies who “all share a commitment to using business to create a broader benefit”, recognizes start-ups as well as established businesses that are trying to make a significant impact on worldwide issues. While being selected among the top 25 finalists is a fantastic accomplishment, to be voted in the top five most promising social startups is a monumental achievement and a testament to the Driptech mission. For those of you who voted, thank you for your support: we couldn’t have done it without you.
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Driptech's table featured a simple demonstration of our driptape that attracted many curious attendees. Driptech was one of the few organizations focused on water-saving technology, and many people from all different backgrounds left with our brochures.
Though it is not technically planting season in China yet, Driptech is busy sowing seeds for future partners and sales!
Next stop: June 30 JUCCCE China Energy Forum!
Friday, May 14, 2010
May 13, 2010:
Driptech is laser-focused on making affordable irrigation technologies for small farmers in developing countries. Our early-stage, privately-funded, Mountain View, CA based venture is scaling up for high-volume commercial roll-outs in India and China. By joining the Driptech team you will be part of a compelling social venture that aims to produce a global impact.
We are looking to turn our current prototype, proof-of-concept drip-irrigation manufacturing system into a commercial-grade solution to be installed in factories overseas. We are working hard to develop a vertically integrated manufacturing line capable of meeting our growing sales demands by the end of 2010. In fact, we are currently refusing incoming sales orders until we can ramp up our production system, so we need your help!
Driptech is seeking an enthusiastic and highly capable Engineering and Product Development Manager. This full-time (50+ hours per week) position is available immediately.
This position requires strong technical skills as well as managerial experience. The ideal candidate will have knowledge of how products are specified, designed, developed, validated, manufactured, inspected, and released for sale. This requires direct experience in all aspects of product development.
1. Lead the commercial-grade design of our proprietary laser-drilling machinery and develop a manufacturing line capable of meeting high volume demand. We have working proof-of-concept machines but we need to massively expand our capability and reliability as we gear up for overseas production.
2. Identify critical process parameters that control final product quality, reliability and performance.
3. Lead and manage the development of mechanical, electrical, and software systems for performing, monitoring and controlling all aspects of our manufacturing process.
4. Lead and manage the design of mechanical and electromechanical measurement tools for received goods inspection, post-process inspection and final inspection.
5. Develop and refine our innovative product line to meet and exceed the demands of our customers. You'll be working closely with the CEO, business partners, and development teams.
1. Coordinate the efforts of a small team of electromechanical engineers to design, build and validate a complete manufacturing solution.
2. Oversee establishment of manufacturing line and operations team in the US, India, China, and possibly other nations as our operations continue to grow.
3. Help create a prototyping and manufacturing machine shop capable of supporting R&D and operations.
4. Help establish specifications and procedures for the manufacturing line.
5. Help write protocols for evaluating the manufacturing equipment and the products of the equipment.
6. Assist in establishing QC department and procedures that are appropriate to our field of operations.
7. Working with component suppliers to insure delivery of components that meet specifications set by the product development team.
Background and Skills:
1. 3 years minimum experience in a mechanical product development firm that did some or all of its own manufacturing and assembly.
2. Bachelors in Mechanical or Industrial Engineering focusing on machine design (or equivalent).
3. Knowledge of geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GD&T).
4. Knowledge and skill with Gantt charts and project schedule management.
5. Knowledge and experience with inspection plans, lot sampling, and process control practices.
6. General knowledge of digital electronics suitable for electromechanical systems.
7. General knowledge of embedded software development suitable for electromechanical systems (ie C for microcontrollers, assembly language, etc).
8. Strong leadership characteristics and a great, can-do attitude are absolutely required.
1. Optics and laser experience highly valued.
2. Experience working in China and India deeply appreciated.
3. Prototyping skills highly desired, we're a hands-on kind of company.
4. Experience working in highly innovative, design-driven environments a plus.
5. A desire to change the world and empower farmers throughout developing nations will be invaluable and rewarded.
Driptech offers a competitive salary and benefits package commensurate with our funding stage.
How to Apply:
Please submit your resume and cover letter to: firstname.lastname@example.org with "Engineering Manager" in the subject.
To learn more please visit our website at www.driptech.com
Sunday, April 4, 2010
Driptech is happy to announce its participation in the Cool Products Expo again this year. The Expo will be held at the Arillaga Alumni Center on the Stanford Campus on this Wednesday, April 7th from 12-6pm. Our demo will be held in the outdoor section of the expo on the south side of the building. It is predicted to be 70 degrees and sunny so come talk to us there and check out our new mobile demo of Driptech tubing! For more details on the event go to http://coolproductexpo.stanford.edu/
Take a look at this video taken by one of our visitors last year: