Announcing our latest $3.5m funding round at First Resonance
I’m excited to share that First Resonance recently closed a $3.5m round of funding led by Blue Bear Capital. To date, that brings our funding to over $5.3m. Blue Bear is joining our great fleet of supportive investors who have helped us grow and get our product out into the market.
Just about a year ago, we were vying for product-market fit. We had just picked up our first customer and were hustling to just get ion working. When the pandemic hit and the world went into lockdown, we said to ourselves, “Uh oh”. But given that we had just gotten our first commercial traction at such a chaotic time, we had no option but to keep working. Why double-down? Well, we knew one thing: No matter what happened over the course of the next year, the world was going to look different.
Over the coming months, we heard stories about broken and fragile supply chains as the world scrambled to make enough PPE, ventilators, and other critical equipment. These stories confirmed our thesis we started First Resonance on and our own pains in managing manufacturing across aerospace and automotive. We need a better, more flexible way to build.
Quick lookback on 2020
Throughout 2020, we heard some of the same concerns confirmed by people that continued building throughout the pandemic. Though, our customers had the additional challenge of building physical hardware in a locked down world. Compared to our traditional competitors, I’m proud to say that First Resonance was able to be a big ally to these companies by getting them going on the ion platform fast and helping people stay connected to their factories and teams. This allowed us to go from no customers at the beginning of the year to over 15 by the end of the year.
As we were picking up steam, we knew we had cracked something big… and that we were going to need more help doing it. Thanks to our existing investors, we met Vaughn Blake and Ernst Sack from Blue Bear Capital late last year. We were psyched to meet investors who are squarely focused on solving hard problems in energy, climate change, and industrials. While on the surface, ion is a productivity tool, the types of companies that we are empowering are a perfect match for their investment thesis. After some thorough diligence and scheming on how we saw the future together, Blue Bear Capital took the charge on leading the round.
Momentum in 2020 came in two forms: 1) Picking up more customers across aerospace, automotive, robotics, and other complex hardware industries and 2) Increased demand from our earliest customers for more connectivity and traceability to help them accelerate their efforts of going from R&D to certified and reliable production of their products. These companies and their products are ambitious and seek to do things like transform air travel by going electric, making access to space more quick and agile, develop new types of sensors to empower entire classes of autonomous transportation, and more. These are demanding ambitions and exactly the types of ambitions that we started First Resonance for just over 2 years ago. We knew we needed to grow our team and fuel the fire to do a good job, so the fundraising round came at the perfect time. With this new round of capital, we are off to the races to immediately:
1. Hire top talent
We are helping manufacturers achieve the ambitious developments of this century. First Resonance has a front row seat to some of the most cutting-edge developments in hardware in a century. We are looking for software engineers who are excited about using the latest digital technologies (Kubernetes, GraphQL, React, and more) to bridge the physical and digital worlds. Our product and engineering team has a big task of powering multiple types of people that make up a complex hardware organization. We’re also looking for Customer Engineers to help our customers be successful with ion. Given the depth of knowledge and experience that is involved with the manufacturing industry, we’re looking for manufacturers who get it and have felt the pains of really getting a car, airplane, or rocket from concept to production. We’re lucky to have an early team of supportive Customer Engineers who work hard to get modern software and systems into the hands of manufacturers taking on big challenges.
2. Get ion into the hands of more manufacturers
With our fresh capital, a great product complemented by more Customer Engineers will allow us to get ion into the hands of more manufacturers. Our earliest customers are in the aerospace industry, and throughout 2020, we picked up customers in the automotive, robotics, and other complex industries. With this new round of funding, we are going to keep going down those avenues and have customers across multiple verticals. Of course, we are doing this methodically and have been successful thus far in working with companies that ion can really help. This funding will also help us broaden our footprint across the United States, as supply chains and the industrial sector continues to face new challenges and shifts.
3. Connect the factory and layer in data-powered manufacturing
So far, we’ve had to do a lot of work to catch up on critical features that our entrenches competitors already have. Some of these companies have been around for decades and have a strong hold on the manufacturing industry. We often hear from our customers just how user-friendly ion is. This goes beyond just the graphical user interface. We have multiple customers who are using ion’s powerful and open API to connect up their automated workflows and even machines. This is a game-changer. While we have seen the power of openness and connectivity on the internet. Applying these paradigms to connect to factory floor equipment and automated analysis, and for that integration to be done in a matter of hours — not weeks — is huge. By empowering the engineers who are defining the next generation of hardware and how it’s built, ion is going to accelerate how quickly companies can connect their equipment and products to their business tools. With how easy it is to connect with ion and given its modular architecture, we are able to put the data coming off of these workflows right back to work for these next-generation manufacturers. We are already beta testing new types of workflows that are fueled by data. Compared to traditional rule-based systems, these data workflows are a lot more flexible and responsive to the challenges companies face in this century. Like connectivity, we are all witnessing the power of data, ML, and AI and how transformative those technologies can be. At First Resonance, we are not relying on the infrastructure provided by software solutions from half a century ago. We are building from the ground up. While that takes some time, we’re already seeing the benefits of fast-tracking to rich data workflows that are intuitive and integrated with how users are already using ion. Stay tuned for more on this in the months to come. We’re really excited to share more on our work in this space.
We have a lot of work to do. First and foremost, I want to thank our incredible team punching way above its weight. I want to thank our new and existing investors for supporting our mission thus far, and I want to thank our customers. We’ve decided to work with companies that are specifically transforming tomorrow. This is a big bet, but it’s a bet that’s paying off as can be seen by recent news in our industry. We have a lot of work to do together, and I am sure that in a few years time, we will be looking at this time as the start of something new. A new way to build, to solve problems, and to go beyond our previous potential barriers to solve the world’s hardest problems for the next generation. Let’s get to work!
If you’re interested in the junction of hardware and software and want to join a lean, mean team helping to push the world forward, join us at First Resonance! firstresonance.io/careers