Start-up companies Ishita Prasad and Maya Balakrishnan do not all launch the same startup as their first company, Polymer, but not all startups are inspired by a chocolate factory.
Coming from the hugely successful (and very expensive) chocolate factory Dandelion Chocolate in San Francisco, Polymer raised $ 2 million early in the year to embrace Prasad's passion for crafting of chocolate. as an engineer at Alphabet.
Society was born of Dandelion's needs, Prasad tells me.
"We started building it last October … and we started building it just for Dandelion," she said. Polymer has software that uses iPads and Android phones coupled with proprietary software to monitor the compliance and efficiency of lines in small factories.
Workers take pictures of their equipment settings and monitor what they put in the equipment or on the line. This is uploaded into a centralized database to give employers an overview of what is happening with their equipment and what is happening in the factory. Traditionally, this monitoring has been done manually with a pen and paper, says Prasad.
The software also collects data directly from the factory equipment, according to Prasad.
These ideas were still available to major manufacturers, but small businesses like Dandelion had to fend for themselves, Prasad said … until now.
"Our first initial target market is for smaller manufacturers that employ up to 500 people," Prasad said. "They have tracking systems and ERPs that are really expensive."
With the requirements of the Food and Drug Administration, every small food company must track inputs and equipment for retrievals in the event of a potential recall. The factories still want to have ideas, because if there is a problem on the line, it is best to be able to identify it quickly and take steps to ensure that more batches are not affected by a defective product.
The problem was convincing enough to convince Prasad's colleague Stanford and his good friend Balakrishnan to quit a job at Goldman Sachs in New York and go out to San Francisco to get Polymer off the ground.
In the United States alone, 85% of manufacturers are considered small businesses employing between five and 500 people. Prasad estimates that nearly 200,000 small businesses in the United States could be customers of the company's software.
Of course, Dandelion co-founder Todd Masonis, who had already started the professional networking company Plaxo, was convinced. He joined Harrison Metal, who led the round, along with other angel investors like Andrew Chen from Uber, Brian Balfour from Reforge, Daniel Lurie and Jonathan Bruck from Pocket; and Bubba Murarka, as well as other undisclosed investors.
With regard to the manufacture of a polymer by a chocolate manufacturer, Prasad said the name had been chosen because "we wanted to build a tool allowing manufacturers to see the connections between Every part of their factory.As with polymers, we have created a product which together is much more useful than the sum of its individual parts.The use of our tool allows manufacturers to better understand their operations that they were looking at individual data.
Featured Image: Emi Moriya / Flickr UNDER A CC BY-SA 2.0 LICENSE