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Tech Startup Funding: How Can Federal Grants Help

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Xipeng Shen, a professor at North Carolina State University and co-founder and CTO of CoCoPIE LLC., wrote about how they started the high-tech startup. Their team, composed of researchers with PhDs, ventured to solve the crisis of chip shortage. 

Shen, also an ACM Distinguished Member, tells how the team aimed to operate and power the next-generation technology. The challenge was to do this without the need for expensive hardware that would cost dollars in the billions. They felt the need to put their ideas into action as the same hardware takes years to be deployed.

Deep tech startups, especially those in need of funding, will find the capital game a complicated scenario. The venture capital world focuses mainly on low investments but high returns deep tech companies. That being said, it is also impatient when it takes a longer time for these to get tech startup funding. 

PitchBook, a SaaS (Software as a Service) company that delivers data, research, and technology covering private capital markets, stated that the VC landscape leans towards megadeals amounting to $100 million and more. However, this does not generally apply to startups in their early stages of existence with only a few employees in their team.

Shen also added that they did raise funds from Sequoia Capital, one of the VC world’s top players. This was when they got into the Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) program. Despite this, they knew that their solution had much more value than a chip that would go straight to the reject line.

This has then led them to apply for a federal grant. This is also why they believe that deep tech companies should add “America’s Seed Fund” to their fundraising endeavors.

Credibility First

Shen states that SBIR/STTR programs abound. Their difference is that the National Science Foundation powers them. He says that grants such as these are on the high-competitive levels, and those chosen enjoy the benefits of a strong and established company technical image that proves credibility in the market.

Candidates in tech startup funding are in the thousands, and if chosen, it grants them the privilege of signaling that their innovation has robust technical and commercial merits. It also gives the high potential for a substantial impact on the U.S. economy. It will be a badge that lures in potential investors. And in the event that you don’t get chosen, the review committee will impart feedback that will be invaluable to your company.

Authority and Equity

When a startup receives funding, it usually isn’t for free, and you have to give something back. This can be in the form of interest payments for loans or equity for VC funds. The SBIR/STTR programs let you keep full ownership of your business and IP. They aren’t concerned with boosting strategy, instead, they believe in your company’s vision. Thus, they aim to assist you in bringing your ideas into reality with the goal of investing in a better future for the American public.

Shen adds that CoCoPIE’s vision is to allow real-time AI for off-the-shelf mobile devices. When the semiconductor, digital media, and IoT industries adopt it, we’ll see an improvement in how we consume, learn, and interact with our devices.

Potential Tech Startup Funding

The SBIR/STTR program operates on three gated phases that further your products towards commercialization. Up to $2 million in funding is what they can get, but in Phase III, you will compensate for the precise enterprise through authorities procurement contracts.

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12 Best Manufacturing Software for Businesses in 2022

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Small or mid-sized companies in the manufacturing sector acknowledge that manufacturing software helps them keep up with orders and production jobs. This software allows business owners to come up with accurate bills of materials as well as inventory management. 

There is plenty of manufacturing software available in the market today. To help you find the right tool, we’ve compiled the best manufacturing software solutions rated well by real software users. We’ve listed twelve products that stood out among thousands of applications in manufacturing that deliver excellent value.

1. Odoo

odoo logo

Odoo is an open-source business management tool that offers various applications to streamline every company’s needs or processes. Its features include enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM), point of sale (POS) system, accounting, manufacturing, email marketing, and invoicing. 

2. Genius ERP

genius ERP logo

Genius ERP is a manufacturing ERP software made for custom manufacturers. It assists manufacturers in reducing costs, increasing productivity, and improving business performance. Genius ERP’s key features are accounting, scheduling, product engineering, production planning, and job costing.

3. JobBOSS

jobBOSS logo

JobBOSS is a job shop management software for manufacturers and job shop owners. The answer can assist with quote processing, order processing, shop floor control, inventory control, shipping, estimates, and data visualization.

4. Epicor Kinetic

epicor kinetic logo

Epicor Kinetic is an ERP solution that helps manufacturing plans and manages its resources. The software has all the features you need to scale, compete, and attract top talent to your organization. These include CRM, advanced planning and scheduling, supply chain management, product lifecycle management, and a quality management system.

5. NetSuite

netsuite logo

NetSuite is a business management solution that integrates various applications such as ERP, accounting, CRM, HCM, omnichannel commerce, reporting, and analytics. The solution offers real-time operational and financial performance insights while automating core processes.

6. DEAR Systems

dear systems logo

DEAR Systems is an ERP software specifically created for small and medium businesses. The comprehensive solution has modules dedicated to manufacturing, purchasing, sales, inventory management, accounting, POS, and warehouse management.

7. Fishbowl Inventory

fishbowl inventory logo

Fishbowl is a popular manufacturing and warehouse inventory management solution for small and medium enterprises. The software enables the user to generate work orders and track inventory. Likewise, it integrates with accounting software to scale your business.

8. Katana Manufacturing ERP

katana ERP logo

Katana Manufacturing ERP lets you gain clear visibility over inventory sales and order management. The solution also controls the total shop floor while tracking manufacturing costs based on product operations.

9. MRPEasy

MRPeasy logo

MRPeasy is a manufacturing software for small companies that integrates various modules in one solution, including procurement, supply chain management, and CRM. It also streamlines the purchasing process while managing every purchase order and organizing purchase cycles.

10. Prodsmart

prodsmart logo

California-based Prodsmart is a manufacturing execution solution for portable and mobile devices. The floor supervisors and machine operators can use the software directly from their workstations rather than stepping away from the floor.

11. Sage 100cloud

sage 100cloud logo

Sage 100cloud is an ERP solution for discrete manufacturers, wholesale distributors, and professional service processes. It streamlines the manufacturing business to provide greater visibility into every item’s status and optimized inventory.

12. Statii

Statii logo

Statii is an ERP and MRP software created for small manufacturing firms. The solution helps create work orders, scheduling, inventory, purchase orders, invoicing, contact management, and reporting.

Conclusion

Adopting technologically advanced manufacturing software can give your business all the functionalities the tool offers to ensure maximum productivity. These solutions allow you to efficiently handle shop floor management, scheduling, time tracking, and accounting. Finding a platform that’s easy to use can be a great way to start your software-buying process. 

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Why Fiber Optic Technology Business is Booming

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Fiber optic technology is a major foundation of the internet. Fiber-optic subsea cables covering thousands of miles connect continents together, allowing faster exchange of data. Meanwhile, the massive data centers that host all of our cloud-based applications also rely on fiber connections. Increasingly, these fiber connections travel directly into peoples’ homes, providing them with fast, reliable internet. Sadly, only 43 percent of U.S. households have access to a fiber internet connection.

“In some cases, especially in rural and far-flung areas, it can be prohibitively expensive to deploy fiber and it can be very expensive for households to pay for it,” says Julija Jurkevic, a senior research analyst at S&P Global Market Intelligence.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law enacted in November 2021 aims to bridge this digital divide. A total of $65 billion dedicated to expanding access to broadband internet to all Americans. The government support, along with some other factors, have caused an increase in the demand for fiber products.

Fiber-Based Networks 

With fiber-optic broadband driving internet service adoption worldwide, Kagan’s survey of global fixed broadband status indicates that 1.06 billion homes will have a fixed broadband subscription by the end of 2021. Fiber-to-the-premises, or FTTP, comprise 56 percent of the total by year-end, with just 18.7 percent of fixed broadband homes still relying on xDSL, while cable will hold an estimated 21.4 percent in the market share.

Still, an estimated 11.9 million homes will drop xDSL in 2021. At the same time, fixed broadband penetration is expected to reach 47.6 percent of existing households worldwide by end-2021, surpassing the 50 percent threshold by year-end 2024, as subscriptions rise to 1.18 billion, and past 1.2 billion by 2025, equating to a 3.7 percent  compound annual growth rate (CAGR) across 2020-2025.

To understand the technology behind fiber-optic internet and how the market for fiber products is changing, CNBC visited Corning’s optical fiber and cable manufacturing facilities in North Carolina. 

Most famous as the maker of Gorilla Glass for iPhones, Corning is also the world’s largest producer of optical fiber by manufacturing capacity and market share, as well as the largest manufacturer of fiber cable in North America. In Q2 2022, Corning disclosed that the optical communications business was its largest segment by revenue, reaching sales of $1.3 billion.

North America lags the global fiber-optic broadband

fiber optic wires

While fiber dominates globally, its availability and service take-up differ greatly across regions and individual markets.It is estimated that by 2025, fiber will become the dominant fixed broadband platform in all regions but North America and the Middle East and Africa. As of 2021, the technology dominates only in Asia-Pacific and Eastern Europe.

Asia-Pacific is the largest market for fixed broadband and full fiber, the latter forecast to represent more than 80 percent of the region’s subscribers by year-end 2021. The world’s largest broadband market, mainland China, will account for 53.1 percent of global fiber homes by year-end. 

Fiber is the dominant platform in Asia including in the less developed markets of Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. The affordability of broadband services has helped drive fiber adoption, evidenced by our affordability index, which shows a relatively low threshold of 1 percent to 1.3 percent as of end-2020. The Philippines had an affordability index of 2.1 percent as of end-2020. Thanks to the archipelago’s challenging geography, fixed wireless dominates the market, and fiber’s share is estimated to lag behind the Asia-Pacific average  which recorded 38.8 percent at end-2021. Asia will also account for 74.2 percent of the world’s FTTH subscribers by year-end.

For other news and stories, read more here at Owner’s Mag!

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BeReal App: Will It Survive Its Instagram Clone?

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bereal vs ig

Social media trends fads come and go. Short-video hosting app TikTok might be dancing in glory right now, but a newcomer, BeReal app, is about to steal the spotlight. Amusingly, it is partly because of TikTok users sharing their reviews about BeReal, saying that the app has exploded so quickly

What is BeReal App? 

bereal app

Source: Android Police

BeReal app is a new social media phenomenon that operates under a simple premise at works this way: 

  • Once a day, the app will alert you to take a photo. It will take one from your rear camera and one from your front camera a few seconds later. 
  • You will have a two-minute interval to take this photo to capture candid images. 
  • Then, the BeReal app will lay your front photo over your rear photo. 
  • You can share it with your friends. However, you won’t be able to see their posts until the next day. And if you missed the two-hour window, you’ll have to wait until the next day. 
  • You can also react to your friend’s posts by sharing a quick selfie attached to their post.

The premise behind these weird shooting windows is to encourage people to share snippets from their lives that aren’t just hand picked from parties or any planned events. But, it’s not the first app to go for the candid angle. Back in 2016, Casey Neistat of YouTube developed an app called Beme. The app encouraged users to take videos with their phones clasped to their chest so that, allegedly, they could stay focused on the moment. Later that year, CNN bought the app but ultimately shut it down in 2018.

BeReal vs Beme

What BeReal had that Beme didn’t was the ability to operate for two years with the increasing number of users showing for it. Based on a BeReal app job posting, the app has more than 10 million daiily users. It also says the company’s goal is to increase this number to over 100 million. Quite an ambitious goal but recent reports project the mid-size social media network Snapchat at about 350 million daily active users.

As Snapchat popularized the concept of communication through disappearing messages, BeReal may be relying on its own style to continue and encourage future partnerships with other businesses. Clubhouse, an audio-based social app that went live around the same time as BeReal, had plenty of activities to back it up, but things have quickly cooled down. It is recently experimenting with new features to make the app nteresting enough to attract more users.  Meanwhile, the novelty of BeReal is still fresh, but once the surge of interest from TikTok has mellowed down, it will need to learn to be independent and beat the competitors.

What is an Instagram Candid?

Meta seems to be working on a feature called “Candid Challenges” for Instagram. Discovered by self-described reverse engineer Allessandro Palluzzi, users would be notified once a day to take and share a “candid.” It also copies BeReal right down to the last detail, giving users just two minutes to take the candid.

An Instagram spokesperson told Engadget that the feature was an “internal prototype” and with no users testing the feature. Still,  we are yet to see this announced soon in an Instagram update.

While Meta has been the only company confirmed to be working on a BeReal clone, it wouldn’t be surprising if Twitter or TikTok followed suit as well. Twitter, specifically, might see BeReal candid shots a fit for the microblogging platform, but considering its brave attempt at copying Snapchat’s stories and the on-going buyout buzz with Elon Musk, it’ll need to stride carefully.

While BeReal is becoming popular, it faces an uncertain future. Will it end up being defeated by Meta as have many other successful startups that even vaguely have a conflicting interest with its existing properties? Or will it fail to innovate like Clubhouse did and die off after its 15 minutes in the spotlight? It might be a welcome change to the airbrushed faces and saturated filters from Instagram, but BeReal might just end up being a little too real for its own good.
If you’re interested in trying out the BeReal App, download it from the Play Store. Just remember you know how to take a selfie before you start aad that you’ll only get one shot daily.

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