Day: January 15, 2019

GBatteries let you charge your car as quickly as visiting the pump

A YC startup called GBatteries has come out of stealth with a bold claim: they can recharge an electric car as quickly as it takes to full up a tank of gas.

Created by aerospace engineer Kostya Khomutov, electrical engineers Alex Tkachenko and Nick Sherstyuk, and CCO Tim Sherstyuk, the company is funded by the likes of Airbus Ventures, Initialized Capital, Plug and Play, and SV Angel.

The system uses AI to optimize the charging systems in electric cars.

“Most companies are focused on developing new chemistries or materials (ex. Enevate, Storedot) to improve charging speed of batteries. Developing new materials is difficult, and scaling up production to the needs of automotive companies requires billions of $,” said Khomutov. “Our technology is a combination of software algorithms (AI) and electronics, that works with off-the-shelf Li-ion batteries that have already been validated, tested, and produced by battery manufacturers. Nothing else needs to change.”

The team makes some bold claims. The product allows users to charge a 60kWh EV battery pack with 119 miles of range in 15 minutes as compared to 15 miles in 15 minutes today. “The technology works with off-the-shelf lithium ion batteries and existing fast charge infrastructure by integrating via a patented self-contained adapter on a car charge port,” writes the team. They demonstrated their product at CES this year.

Most charging systems depend on fairly primitive systems for topping up batteries. Various factors – including temperature – can slow down or stop a charge. GBatteries manages this by setting a very specific charging model that “slows down” and “speeds up” the charge as necessary. This allows the charge to go much faster under the right conditions.

The company bloomed out of frustration.

“We’ve always tinkered with stuff together since before I was even a teenager, and over time had created a burgeoning hardware lab in our basement,” said Sherstyuk. “While I was studying Chemistry at Carleton University in Ottawa, we’d often debate and discuss why batteries in our phones got so bad so rapidly – you’d buy a phone, and a year later it would almost be unusable because the battery degraded so badly.”

“This sparked us to see if we can solve the problem by somehow extending the cycle life of batteries and achieve better performance, so that we’d have something that lasts. We spent a few weeks in our basement lab wiring together a simple control system along with an algorithm to charge a few battery cells, and after 6 months of testing and iterations we started seeing a noticeable difference between batteries charged conventionally, and ones using our algorithm. A year and a half later of constant iterations and development, we applied and were accepted in 2014 into YC.”

While it’s not clear when this technology will hit commercial vehicles, it could be the breakthrough we all need to start replacing our gas cars with something a little more environmentally-friendly.

4 Crucial Business Development Lessons for First-Time Entrepreneurs

Completing my business studies, I knew that I wanted to create something on my own. I had ideas and was eager to materialize them as soon as possible. I had the so-called “entrepreneurial drive” and a wish to put it into practice while I was young.

Since I had been freelancing for a while, I thought that I had certain competencies which would be helpful in setting up a business. Keeping in mind all the aforementioned, I embarked on a journey of developing a virtual content marketing agency.

As it turned out though, however fruitful and satisfying, setting up a business is not a straightforward and effortless endeavor. While developing my agency, I made many mistakes and learned a myriad of lessons.

Below, I am including 4 essential lessons for entrepreneurs.

Time spent on legal and financial due diligence can never be wasted

When I set forth on my entrepreneurial journey, I was full of ideas. I seemed to have clear, well-defined goals and a feasible, meticulously designed plan.

What could possibly go wrong?

I missed a crucial point — viable ideas are not enough.

Every business operates in a certain environment. The two central constituents of any business environment are the legal and financial settings. Surely, as a business graduate, in theory, I knew this well. However, in practice, everything was much more nuanced. Laws and regulations are in a constant change.

I did some research on employment and tax laws and put together a plan. Believing that I knew everything that was necessary, I went to the local registrar and registered my business.

A day later, I received a call. It turned out that the tax laws for VAT for small and medium enterprises had changed just a day before my registration. Hence, I had to make some additional payments.

On top of that, any business that works with international clients must realize that risks, such as exchange rate fluctuations, are hard to avoid. A week after I had signed my first contract, local currency appreciated against dollars. I wasn’t prepared for it since it was a bit atypical. I ended up losing some money.

Last but not least, managing corporate finances goes beyond the accounting compliance. For one thing, no matter the size of one’s business, one must know the basics of the time value of money. Otherwise, half of the company’s earnings will be lost.

The sooner one learns to make money work for them, the better their chances of accomplishing their financial goals.

The bottom line: Learn all the ins and outs of your business environment.

Slow down, prioritize, and do not expect immediate results

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After tackling the legal and financial issues, I commenced the operations right away. I set up a website, all social media accounts, subscribed to all the necessary services, and started the recruitment process. Since I had a very detailed plan, I thought everything has to go smoothly.

I was mistaken.

For one thing, managing the company’s communication channels and information systems is not as simple and free from contingencies as it might seem. I was collaborating with a couple of freelance Canadian writers and Indian developers and we were providing services to American, British and Australian clients.

Briefly, after we started the operations, issues such as time zone differences and cultural communication barriers kicked in. On the other hand, working in virtual environments assumes utilization of version control and project management tools, which can sometimes be complex. It took a lot of time, iteration, and nerves until we managed to develop processes that worked for our international team.

The bottom line: Be patient and take your time.

Doing a high-quality job is not enough

As a hopeless perfectionist, I knew that I wanted quality to be the core competence of my business. I was certain that if we provided services of exceptional quality, we would have no difficulty with gaining and retaining customers. Moreover, I was gullible enough to believe that after a couple of successful deals, we would have an endless influx of excited customers.

What a naiveté!

After some time of operations, I noticed that even though the few customers that we had were pleased and loyal, we failed to get as many new customers as we expected. Moreover, some slightly less qualified competitors seemed to receive more attention.

Under such circumstances, one could be tempted to think that either the quality-focused positioning did not work or that the company failed to deliver its promise. However, considering the high satisfaction of existing customers, I realized that the problem was somewhere else.

The key issue was that our small team spent a lot of time and financial resources on creating the promised quality. However, we did not spend enough on promoting what we did.

We neither spent a dime on paid media nor did we spend a decent amount of time on promoting it organically. Hence, many qualified prospects could not find us; they did not have a chance to test our service.

The bottom line: Do once, promote twice.

Learn how to ask for help

Last but not least, I learned that in business, one cannot go too far without learning to ask for help.

Luckily, we did not have to cope with a single customer crisis. That is, all our customers were satisfied with the service that they got.

We expected that this alone would be enough to trigger “word-of-mouth” marketing and get some referrals. I did not see the necessity of asking someone for testimonials, referrals or just “cold emailing”. However, while for a part-time freelancer such approach may be satisfactory, for an agency aiming to scale and grow, reliance on quality-induced word-of-mouth is not enough.

We were struggling to make our “bold statement” in the field until the moment that we started to communicate with existing players to become part of the existing community, to cooperate, as well as to reach out to people and organizations that seemed to need our services.

The bottom line: Don’t be a lone ranger – give and receive.

Conclusion

Being an entrepreneur is perhaps the most comprehensive business education that one can get. During my business development journey, I had a chance to learn a lot. I figured tons of things about the business realm and the way that the “Big World” works.

Hopefully, the lessons for entrepreneurs that I highlighted above will help you to be more efficient in achieving your goals.

See Also: Top Lessons From Successful Entrepreneurs You Need to Know Now

The post 4 Crucial Business Development Lessons for First-Time Entrepreneurs appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Hulu unexpectedly releases “Fyre Fraud” days before Netflix’s competing documentary

Not since the literary biopic showdown between “Capote” and “Infamous” has there been such an intense battle for the attention of viewers. This time, the fight is between Hulu and Netflix’s competing documentaries about the disastrous Fyre Festival, a 2017 music festival whose failure led to eight lawsuits and a six-year prison sentence for co-founder Billy McFarland. Hulu unexpectedly released its film, “Fyre Fraud” today, just four days before Netflix’s “Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened” was scheduled to premiere. Both films are helmed by award-winning filmmakers.

Entertainment Today reports that Hulu hopes its documentary, directed by Emmy-nominated, Peabody-winning filmmaking team Jenner Furst and Julia Willoughby Nason “will provide enlightening context ahead of [co-executive producer Elliot] Tebele’s Netflix documentary.”

“Fyre Fraud” contains exclusive interviews with McFarland, who co-founded Fyre with rapper Ja Rule, and people who used to work for Tebele’s marketing agency FuckJerry, one of the festival’s promoters. Some of Tebele’s former employees claim in “Fyre Fraud” that Tebele asked them to cover up early warning signs about the festival.

McFarland was later sentenced six years to jail in for defrauding investors, while Ja Rule is fighting to be removed as a defendant from a $100 million class action lawsuit. Attendees paid thousands of dollars for tickets, expecting a luxury music festival in the Bahamas, but instead found themselves staying in tents, no Internet service, no water, and food like processed cheese sandwiches. Delayed flights made the experience even more nightmarish, as guests were forced to wait hours in the heat for their charter flights back to Miami.

In response, the makers of Netflix’s “Frye,” directed by Chris Smith (whose “American Movie” won the Grand Jury Prize for Documentary at the Sundance Film Festival in 1999), told Entertainment Weekly that even though they worked with Tebele and Jerry Media (a FuckJerry brand), “at no time did they, or any others we worked with, request favorable coverage in our film, which would be against our ethics. We stand behind our film, believe it is an unbiased and illuminating look at what happened, and look forward to sharing it with audiences around the world.”

Smith told Entertainment Weekly earlier this week that McFarland wasn’t included in the documentary because he “wanted to get paid” for appearing and “we didn’t feel comfortable with him benefitting after so many people were hurt as a consequence of his actions.”

TechCrunch has contacted Netflix and Hulu for comment.