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?


What’s up Driptech friends! Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. My name is Frank, and this is my post to give you an inside look at the eventful life of a Social Venture Fellow. Everyone at Driptech comes from different backgrounds with distinct skills. Together, we form a powerful fist that punches poverty in the face. Our mission is to empower farmers in developing countries by producing affordable micro-irrigation systems. Before Driptech, I worked for a consumer products company, first as an engineer and then as a marketer, on brands like Bounty and Prilosec OTC. In September, I joined Driptech as a Social Venture Fellow. Today, I want to share my experiences in one of my first projects.

The Driptech irrigation system is tailored to the unique needs of small-plot farmers in India and China. We make our system modular, so the farmers can either size up or down, depending on their plot space. Since our farmers are very price sensitive, when we design each system component, our team has to maintain a delicate balance between cost and performance. One of my first projects was to qualify our selection of cost-effective irrigation filters.

The nature of this project reflects the entrepreneurial culture at Driptech. I had to put my engineering skills to work and qualify selected filters by simulating actual field conditions. To irrigate up to one acre of land, I estimated that 300 gallons per minute (GPM) of water flow is required. The problem was, well, 300 GPM is a LOT of water! How could I move so much water at one time to qualify these filters? Luckily, our engineering team consists of some of the smartest out-of-the-box thinkers I have ever met. These guys really understand how to solve a problem with the limited resources of a start-up. We bounced several ideas off of each other. One of the coolest ideas was to rent a fire hydrant from the city of Mountain View. Our garden faucet produces about 10 GPM of water. A fire hydrant produces about 50X that flow rate. I was excited about this idea. I mean, when is the next time I will get to play with a fire hydrant?

Unfortunately, the moon and stars did not align for me on the fire hydrant idea. The upfront cost to rent from the city was too high. However, I did end up building a filter validation system with a 6.5 horsepower gas pump, a 600-gallon inflatable swimming pool, and some plumber-grade piping.

The day of our first run was about 20 degrees too cold. Our office park neighbors looked curiously at our 600-gallon swimming pool sitting in the back parking lot. After 1.5 hour of setting the system up, we were finally doing some major filter qualifications! As Thomas Edison once said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Well, maybe our first run wasn’t that dramatic, but the filter qualification system did blow up a few times under high water pressure. Unfortunately, the explosions were not captured on video, but here is footage when the system was working properly:

video

One of our original intents was to qualify plastic filters that could complement the much more expensive metal filters. After some fine tuning of the filter qualification system, we found two plastic filters that could accommodate water flow rates for farmers with less than 0.5 acre of land and farmers with up to 1.0 acre of land. Victory.

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.

Follow us on Facebook, and stay connected for more EXCITING updates!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Of Eggplant & Papaya

Perched on the back of a red Yamaha motorbike, I whiz through the Jharkhandi countryside. We pass road side tea stalls, creaky buses, a herd of cattle tended by a young boy, and finally turn off onto a crowded market street and then onto a narrow dirt track. We bounce over the ruts, round a bend and come to a stop in front of a small farmhouse.

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 ask the team what they think. “It’s good, Krishna will be able to show the village how to use drip.” Krishna says, “When I plant my other field, I’ll extend the drip system to cover that too.”

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

Why is Driptech Scalable?

In November, Stanford University invited Peter to speak at a panel discussion on Social Innovation and the Social Entrepreneur. The panel consisted of leaders from different social enterprises, including Driptech, OneBreath, and Avanti Fellows.

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

Moving Product

"Ship it!"

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.

We are now CNC capable!

On the production side of things, we are shipping tons of tubing, and each month we increase our production. How many angel-funded startups out there can make the same claim? We have hired several more production associates to allow our engineers to stay focused on developing the next generation of manufacturing equipment.



Unloading our shipment at the CFS station near SFO.

Keep checking back for more updates to see how we put the CNC machine to use, and how our production numbers continue to increase in the coming months!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

From Suitcase to Shipping Container


At the invitation of Santa Clara University’s Center for Technology and Society (CSTS), Peter recently treated a roomful of interested SCU students and staff to his perspective on the founding of Driptech. The CSTS manages the nomination and application process for the Tech Awards, the signature program of The Tech Museum, and the organization’s ongoing interest in Driptech as a 2009 Tech Awards Laureate is always appreciated.

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:
  1. Always bring a prototype. People understand best when they can see what you’re talking about.
  2. Get your hands (and feet) dirty. There’s no substitute for actual experience, and those you meet will welcome you if you pitch in.
  3. Customers are your best salespeople. Keep them happy and they become an invaluable resource.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Driptech at Agriculture 2.0

Hello Driptech friends, I’m Sarah, and this is my first blog post as Driptech’s Director of Business Development. Following three weeks in India meeting with local partners, I flew to New York to present at the Agriculture 2.0 conference. This event is hosted by New Seed Advisors several times a year to promote investment in agricultural technologies that are socially, environmentally, and financially sustainable. I’d say that fits us to a ‘T’.
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:
  1. 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
  2. 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

Lights, Camera, Irrigation


We were excited to have the producer and camera crew of the Korean Broadcasting System’s "Science Café " visit Driptech in Mountain View recently to shoot footage for an upcoming episode of the weekly one hour television documentary.
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Science Café’s mission is to make practical science issues fun and accessible. To illustrate how technology can be applied to help people in the developing world, the KBS crew also visited Driptech advisor Paul Polak, National Geographic Museum’s “Design for the other 90%” exhibit, The Stanford University Institute of Design , the San Francisco chapter of Engineers Without Borders, and companies such as Vestergaard Frandsen.
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Members of our Mountain View team demonstrated the Driptech system and enthusiastically provided on camera interviews.
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Peter awoke ridiculously early in Beijing in order to make a guest appearance via Skype from our new office there.
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The KBS crew pointed out that although drip irrigation itself may not be high tech, everything supporting the business of bringing it to the small-plot farmers of the world is. We look forward to seeing the show when it’s first aired later this year. Stay tuned!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Interviews at the End of the Road

Earlier this summer, Driptech colleagues and I spent a month crisscrossing our way around northern and western India, conducting interviews with farmers who had been shown a demonstration of our affordable irrigation solution. Our goal was to learn more about the rural environment in India and to gauge reactions to our product.

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.

We learned more about the difficulties that farmers in Rajasthan face with water shortages and the hot season, we heard about family members who had left for the cities to look for more opportunity, we heard about the time spent (wasted?) on making mud irrigation channels to move water through the fields in Karnataka, we heard about the material and technological developments that are slowly filtering down from the cities to towns and then on to the villages. In the end, we came away with a much better understanding of our potential customers that will only allow us to serve them better.



Friday, August 13, 2010

Peter Speaks at Stanford d.School

Yesterday, Peter spoke to a small group at the Stanford Design School’s weekly Brown Bag lunches. The program, designed for the Social E Lab’s summer residents, brings in established Social Entrepreneurs to share their knowledge and experiences with the next generation of product designers. The informal sessions are a great way for us to share Driptech’s mission with others, as well as practicing the ol’ presentation skills.

Peter in full presentation mode

The small group setting of the event allowed for a more intimate interaction and greater flexibility of discussion. Peter spoke to the group for about 15 minutes, before opening up the floor to an extended Q&A session. He fielded questions about all aspects of running a social business, from specifics about affording the Dripech system to his favorite and least favorite things about working overseas.


The depth of the questions asked and the two-way flow of ideas and information were particularly striking. While the group was small, they asked an astounding number of questions, and many of them had to do with the business side of the operation. There was clearly an abundance of revolutionary ideas and talent in the audience that simply lacked the business guidance or leadership to be implemented successfully: if social entrepreneurship is to fulfill its potential for positive impact, the challenge is to find ways to connect these ideas with leadership and business acumen. Simultaneously, while the group did have a number of questions about the business side of social entrepreneurship, the event was by no means one sided. The audience contributed their own helpful knowledge from outside the field of drip irrigation. For example, one audience member suggested looking into a water purification company that was implementing a Distributed manufacturing model similar to what we hope to use eventually.

They also suggested we get these chairs. If they are actually chairs

As Driptech becomes commercially viable, it is good to see that we are not resting on our laurels, and instead are always on the lookout for new ideas.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Adventures of an Intern in Beijing

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.

With my host family’s guidance, I found myself this morning at the biggest department store I have ever seen: Jin Wu Xing, or Golden Five Star. Think Home Depot, Costco, and Wal-Mart rolled into one. A store filled with things that average people have lying around the house, as well as a million other things they don’t. The character at the end of the sign? That literally means “city.” If this store didn’t have the bag I was looking for, no place would.

I passed building materials and the furniture department before I finally got to the office supplies section. Rows and rows of stalls seemed to stretch into infinity.

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

The Tubing Arrives

After weeks of planning, organization, international phone calls, customs payments, late nights, early mornings, and lots of waiting, the moment is finally upon us: the 1 ton of plastic tubing ordered from China in early July has, at long last, arrived.

The arrival of the tubing sparks a swift transition of pressure in the office. For the last few weeks, Jean, our director of business operations, has tackled the problems associated with shipping a ton of plastic from China and hoping nothing unexpected transpired. With the tubing here, however, Jean can once again resume breathing while the engineering team takes over. They have the monumental task of punching all 1000 kilograms of tubing by the end of the month so it can be shipped to small farmers.

Jean is excited to see the tubing arrive...


...while Trevor, not so much

The engineers are very confident of their ability to meet the challenge, however, and rightly so: while the tubing has been in transit, the team has been ramping up our production capabilities, testing and recalibrating the manufacturing machines, finalizing production shifts, and mentally preparing themselves for the task ahead.

Trust us, there’s plenty to do

The tubing arrival marks an important step in Driptech’s history as we attempt to fill our first large order under the pressure of a deadline. As you read this, production is already underway, and we all hope for the best.


BONUS FUN STUFF
Danny, our returning mechanical engineering intern from last year, recently attended the Clean Tech Open in San Jose, where he was interviewed by Colleen Edwards of “The Real Story” blog. You can check out the interview at http://therealstoryblog.com/tag/driptech/

Additionally, we’re all very proud of the work that we do at Driptech every day, but some achievements are more impressive-looking than others. Brett recently finished one such project: the size alone makes it worth seeing.

For context, that black pipe at the end of the track is 10 feet tall

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Peter Goes To China, Brings Back New Friends

Last week, our esteemed leader Peter visited Driptech operations in China for ten days, which was a necessary and very important visit. However, more entertainingly, Peter returned with 11 new members of the Driptech team.

Acting in response to complaints that he never brought anything fun back from his trips, Peter picked up “Chairman Meow” and his 10 associates, who have joined the Driptech team as part of an extended HR push. Mostly, they drink coffee and waste company time on the internet.

However, they have had quite the impact on some of the team. Aaron in particular has drawn the eyes of the chairman, who seems to watch his every move.

In addition to our new team members, the China trip also yielded cool China pens and some brand new, hand carved signage to brighten up the office space.

All in all, a successful trip.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Job Posting: Lead Mechanical Engineer


Come join Driptech, a for-profit, socially-minded, high-visibility startup named by BusinessWeek as one of the world's most intriguing new companies, and voted by its readers as one of the top 5 most promising social ventures in America.

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 must currently refuse incoming sales orders until we can ramp up our production system, so we need your help!

Driptech is seeking an enthusiastic and highly capable Lead Mechanical Engineer. This full-time position is available immediately. It requires strong mechanical design, manufacturing, and product development skills. The ideal candidate will have first-hand experience with how products are specified, designed, developed, validated, manufactured, inspected, and released for sale. The position requires direct, hands-on experience in designing and manufacturing products, as well as a proactive, dedicated, and hardworking mentality.

Responsibilities:
1. Lead the mechanical design efforts of the next generation of our proprietary laser-drilling machinery. We have working proof-of-concept machines, but we need to expand our capability and reliability as we gear up for overseas production.
2. Create CAD models and manufacturing process documents for new parts and assemblies.
3. Build prototypes (some rough, some high-quality) of newly designed parts.
4. Work hand in hand with the team members working to develop the electrical, and software systems for performing, monitoring and controlling all aspects of our manufacturing process.
5. Develop and refine our innovative product line to meet and exceed the demands of our customers. You'll be working closely with the Engineering Manager, Lead Mechatronic Engineer, Quality Control Engineers, and business partners.
6. Help establish manufacturing lines and operations in the US, India, China, and other nations as we continue to grow.
7. Help establish specifications and procedures for the manufacturing line.
8. Help evaluate the quality and reliability of the manufacturing equipment and the products of the equipment.
9. Work with component suppliers to insure delivery of components that meet specifications set by the product development team.

Background and Skills:
1. 5+ years experience in mechanical design, product development, and manufacturing/assembly.
2. Bachelors in Mechanical or Industrial Engineering, focusing on machine design (or equivalent).
3. Demonstrated CAD skills.
4. Demonstrated machine shop skills.
5. Knowledge of geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GD&T).
6. Strong leadership characteristics and a great, can-do attitude are absolutely required.

Desired Extras:
1. Experience with high volume material handling and packaging strongly desired.
2. Electronics or mechatronics experience highly valued.
3. Optics and laser experience highly valued.
4. Experience working in China and India deeply appreciated.
5. Reliability engineering skills a plus.
6. Experience working in highly innovative, design-driven environments a plus.
7. A desire to change the world and empower farmers throughout developing nations will be invaluable and rewarded.

Compensation:
Driptech offers a competitive salary and benefits package commensurate with our funding stage.

How to Apply:
Please submit your resume and cover letter to: jobs@driptech.com with "Lead Mechanical Engineer" in the subject. We will be accepting application through July 31st.

For More Info:
See our website: www.driptech.com
Search for us at www.businessweek.com

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Driptech Turns 2!


Two weeks ago Driptech celebrated its second birthday at our brand new Mountain View office, taking advantage of the stunning Northern California summer weather to host 70 of our friends for a barbecue.


Some early party mingling

Floors were stripped and cleaned, furniture was moved and removed (and re-removed), and piles of tools, tubing, and electrical devices were organized and hidden: the team worked incredibly hard to get the place ready, and managed to pull it off.

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

Thank you to everyone who made it out: we hope you had as much fun as we did. For those of you who couldn’t make it, we’re sorry you missed out, and we hope to see you next year when we turn three!


Monday, July 5, 2010

Visit to Dindori (Madhya Pradesh)

By Vaibhav Lodha, Driptech, Business Development Fellow - India

My second field visit was to Dindori in the central part of the country. It was a part of the learning exercise with Driptech to understand about Indian agriculture in detail, and to gauge the need for drip Irrigation. We came to know of this place through our friend, Rikin Gandhi, CEO of Digital Green (DG). Rikin then introduced us to Mr. Gulzar who heads the operations for DG in Dindori, and also, Pradan which is DG’s local NGO partner in Madhya Pradesh.

Digital Green has a team of 4-5 people in Dindori who work in coordination with Pradan to spread the use of better agricultural practices through videos shown on a pico projector. Digital Green is a three year old nonprofit project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It was started as a research project at Microsoft and is now a successful separate organization headed by Rikin.

DG showcasing one of the videos to villagers with pico projector

Representatives of DG and Pradan during concept sitting explaining to farmers how DG can help them

The agricultural setup in that area is not well organized. Small land holders use traditional agricultural practices in the absence of knowledge of any new ones. In addition to groundwater, the community ponds and river channels from Narmada are the primary sources of irrigation water. There is heavy dependence on rains, the absence of which can cause serious impacts to day to day livelihoods. During summers 70% of the land is not planted due to water scarcity and the majority of the farmers are forced to take up work as laborers.

Large land portions underutilized due to water shortage, uneven terrains and rocky beds

Crops grown vary from rice during the monsoon season to oilseeds, pulses (legumes grown for their dry seed), and a few intercropped vegetables during winters. Summers generally see most of the land left barren or planted with millet, barley, and less water intensive crops. The vegetable market has not realized its true potential. Most of the farmers only grow them for their own subsistence. Drip irrigation could change this and allow farmers to grow vegetables for sale during the dry season. Some Digital Green videos show farmers earning up to two hundred thousand rupees in one season by doing this.

Drip Irrigation also perfectly suits the requirements for sericulture, where I believe it could have a long term impact. To promote the growth of silk, the government provides pump sets and seeds. It sets fixed prices at the start of the season, provides interest free loans, and pays for all the expenses incurred for crops during the first four years.

Worms which feed on Mulberry leaves and finally produce silk

Silk balls with worms inside are boiled to extract the silk

Despite certain bad experiences and credit terms in their past that make some farmers cautious about making an investment, the farmers seemed very excited about the potential of drip irrigation. We are looking forward to making our affordable drip irrigation available in the market.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Thank You for Voting Us #4 in America!



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 is getting the word out in China!

This week, we participated in the 2010 China Cleantech Business Forum as one of ten business showcases. The event included over 350 attendees from investment firms, industry analysts, academia, government agencies, media groups, and other startup companies.

The Driptech table, with demo kit and brochures

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.

Daniel explaining the Driptech system to an interested conference goer

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

Driptech Job Posting - Engineering Manager

From:
Peter Frykman
Founder, CEO
Driptech, inc.

May 13, 2010:

Job Posting: Engineering Manager

Come join a for-profit, socially-minded, high-visibility startup named by BusinessWeek as one of the world’s most intriguing new companies.

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.

Technical Responsibilities:
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.

Managerial Responsibilities:
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.

Desired Extras:
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.

Compensation:
Driptech offers a competitive salary and benefits package commensurate with our funding stage.

How to Apply:
Please submit your resume and cover letter to: jobs@driptech.com with "Engineering Manager" in the subject.

To learn more please visit our website at www.driptech.com

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Driptech at the Cool Products Expo

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: