So, uh... what's the big propulsion breakthrough? They have no website (well, they have this: http://epic-aerospace.com/) and I can't find any search results. They don't list the founder's name, and the only person I can find or other mention other than the ycombinator article is this: https://github.com/OmarBessa
I agree it's a big market, and it costs a lot more than $30 million to prove out a new propulsion system, especially one that can repeatedly take satellites from LEO to GEO.
If it's some reusable tug, I'm guessing it's able to be refueled in orbit? That'd be pretty epic indeed, because I'm not sure of anyone doing that these days. Though transferring fuel in zero g is a real interesting problem.
It is wasteful to have every
satellite carry the weight of its own propellant and engines.
Having a single device that can deliver quite a few satellites to their orbit through clever planning and efficient fuel use could save significantly on weight, design, and launch, costs and complexity.
That also doesn't feel like it is reusable given this definition. I'd assume reusable means you can use it now, and then use it next month on a completely different mission. So let's explore that.
GEO satellites are also generally a lot bigger than your typical cubesat / nanosats that are all the rage in the bulk launcher configurations, because you need a big dish, and a lot of power to transmit and receive signals.
> It is wasteful to have every satellite carry the weight of its own propellant and engines.
Even if a satellite was delivered to GEO without using an engine, satellites need engines to do stationkeeping and keep their orbit, which is the critical factor for the operational lifetime of a satellite.
It's more wasteful to have to have your orbiting tug do an orbital rendezvous with a satellite in LEO (takes fuel to rendezvous), go to GEO (the normal cost, but more expensive since you have to carry the fuel for the return trip), then come back from GEO to LEO (takes fuel).
Following this delta-v map, it looks like it takes about 4000m/s of delta-v to go from LEO to GEO, then the same the other way back down.
I don't know of any clever planning or efficient fuel use that can get over the raw amount of delta-v you'd need. Fuel use isn't really efficient, it's the engine that has to efficiently use the fuel, which is why I think there must be some breakthrough here.
Fuel also has to eventually be delivered up to the tug for refuel, so really it seems like all the mass savings is the dry mass of the 3rd stage.
Besides this, they would have to develop on-orbit refueling technology, as well as force the other spacecraft to use a bus that allows for rendez-vous and docking/proximity ops.
And also, how big is the market for satellite startups that are heading to GEO orbit? For now, it seems like it is just Astranis and GapSat.
Almost every large GEO player is developing new, smaller satellites. We will also modify existing interfaces to allow for docking. Rendezvous and prox-ops is all on our side.
Are you involved with this company?
That's the breakthrough. A sat manufacturer does not have to design, build and qualify their own propulsion system, but can pick this off-the-shelf part from Epic Aerospace.
The equivalent in electronics would be switched power supply modules in the 80s. When they were new, a PC/TV/hifi/other high tech product design team would design their own switched power supply, spending engineering time on that. Ten years later, they would just pick one from a supplier catalogue, and spend a lot less time on just integrating it.
And there are no existing off-the-shelf suppliers for satelite propulsion systems? That sounds unlikely.
And if you look at the spacecraft, it doesn't seem to have any kind of meaningful propulsion system.
I'm sure the other spacecrafts have a similar design concept.
And also, we could do GTO 2X cheaper than large rockets for even their nominal payload size. For smaller payloads, it's more like 10X.
Propulsion is itself a really hot topic in the NewSpace market the moment, ranging from tiny thrusters for precision attitude control of smallsats, to large systems for orbital transport. We recently published a review of smallsat thrusters, highlighting the rich spectrum of solutions being brought to market  (Disclaimer: I'm one of the co-founders at satsearch).
There's a lot of systems innovation that enabling fuel-efficient solutions to be developed. Particularly, there's a lot of progress being made on developing high-efficient electric propulsion. One of the trending areas is water-based propulsion, given that it's clean, non-toxic, storable, and also abundantly available in the Solar System .
With companies also look at building fuel depots to refuel spacecraft on orbit , there's a wide array of new solutions that are going to emerge for repeat use of tugs.
The traditional GEO market went through a massive dip last year , but there's renewed interest with the real prospect of small GEO missions materializing in the next 24 months. Another YC alum is targeting this market .
So in short, this is a really dynamic sector, going through a lot of changes at the moment. I'm eager to learn more about Epic, to see where they're carving a niche for themselves. Also, interesting to see YC's continuity in funding hardtech space startups.
How is it different from Lambda School? It’s not apparent from their website other than it’s based in Canada and they have a physical campus in Toronto.
Also,think about it from a recruiter point of view: Would you as recruiter rather pore through hundreds of resumes from people who have picked up courses online (and risk getting beat up by interviewers when a few of these don't perform well) or have a pre-screened/evaluated candidates? Worst case: you pass the buck on to Juno/Lambda. There is some incentive for a recruiter to look at Juno/Lambda candidates,no?
That being said, my experience with letting recruiters filter candidates haven't been the best in the past and my exposure to bootcamp grads is limited since that's just not much of a thing in the German market overall (I guess because there's no real need since traditional university/apprenticeship education paths are far more affordable around here). Is hiring these candidates common in the US outside of the usual startup circles?
I’m afraid I don’t know :-).
I’m from India this isn’t common here. Yet.
For the attendants or for Juno? ;)
I only partially agree with you. I also prefer learning with books and online courses but that's not everybody's case.
Some people benefit much more from a structured process where they can ask questions easily, be tested much more often and gauge their progress over time.
While that might be in Dropbox territory as well, I don't see anything other than monetary reasons for why somebody would prefer a 9 week course. Availability/geography can't be it for purely US based programs. Traditional university offerings have not only as much structure as you'd like but also give you knowledge in depth if you choose a good set of courses. All the while providing a pretty customisable, and mostly sane, pace through programs that gives you as many challenges or as much freedom to explore as you want. Not to say that universities shouldn't improve but I'm just quite bazzled as to why the market seems to think these bootcamps are such a great idea.
All so they can program the robot caregivers that will swaddle me someday.
I also thought about doing academia for a long time, but realized its just a sticker mark on your resume. Given that I graduate from undergrad, I'll hopefully get a good sticker doing masters.
I'm interested in learning how this can be VC scale. From what I understand, it is a very people-intensive business (look at the student:teacher ratio for one of their courses). How is it different from,say,a consulting firm in terms of scalability?
lumineye: I think this sort of technology can be very useful and I'm interested to see how it is used in the real world.
safely deposit: I like the simplicity, instant value to users, and the way it transitions physical documents to virtual ones. I think the price is a bit steep though.
puzzl: This seems like it erases a huge headache for its customers. I think about this one as provisioning people like VMs to be a physical presence. Why hire when you can rent on demand...
million marker: There are many people who are caring more and more about toxins in their environment, and this plays directly to their growing paranoia.
nomad: I personally don't use ride sharing, but this one seems like it could be competitive. It doesn't seem like there's much difference between the current options.
earth-ai: Of course! If they have a good solution then they may be able to find a lot of resources that we haven't fully exploited yet. This is the big one I think.
Discovery of unexploited mineral deposits is relatively easy already, this is not a big driver of commercial viability or mining economics. That will be a difficult part of the value chain in which to make money, the nominal value of extractable mineral is very weakly connected to market value of a deposit. A rich concentrate of valuable metals does not imply economic value in practice. Extraction economics, on the other hand, is everything and can vary widely. Most mining companies already have a huge back catalog of unexploited deposits that they do not count against reserves (and most mining companies are incentivized to lowball reserve estimates in any case).
Yes, this is a good look for a legitimate business.
Does anyone have the same feeling? Why it would be this way?
Most business don't have budget allocated at all for security. Big corps are the exception, but then you'll have the trust issue: they are unlikely to do business with startups when it comes to security.
I have also found that it's hard to find security experts who are willing to work for a startup. Given the salary options that security techs can get at big-corp/government/military, it's hard to be able to compete.
Consulting seldom requires venture capital and cannot scale at the level VCs expect.
Blinky boxes can, but customers are slowly catching on to the fact that adding another blinky box to the network is really not improving their resilience all that much.
On top of that, it's not always easy to identify the real economic buyer in an organisation, and e.g. a CISO might not have the authority to decide on installing new appliances but needs to collaborate with e.g. IT. It all makes for convoluted and longer sales cycles.
Personally I don't think any serious pentester will spend considerable time in this model though.
That said, I also think that one of the main challenges for buyers of pentest services these days is to evaluate the quality of a report or of the work done. Thoughts on how to improve that are most welcome.
I think the trick would be - somehow allow the blinky box to be secure (how do you even do updates if the networks you are "protecting" are not on the internet), this is difficult. And then giving the boxes away for free with a limited amount of stuff they can do without pen tester involvement.
Still is massively problematic.
From participating in that, my experience was that it’s really hard to disrupt in cybersecurity because businesses are skeptical about using young companies with no reputation and a beta product.
So it’s hard to start showing revenue or traction to get funded. The hunt for revenue then also forces you to focus on things like phishing protection instead of discovering zero days.
As to why there aren't many others, that's a great question. It's a hard space to get started in, since security is mission critical for essentially everyone, so that likely doesn't help matters. There's a lot more that needs to go into a viable MVP in cybersecurity than in other areas as well, since there's much less room for error and jank.
Those reasons likely contribute, but none of them are hard blockers.
From my experience working with a number of companies, the challenge seems to just come down to a lack of people in the industry.
Maybe I should do a separate comment for each startup saying "Great Idea! Guaranteed success!" so I can refer to it in five year's time and look really prescient.
TRM Labs: Banks are required to trace the source of their customers’ money. TRM helps banks identify and trace cryptocurrency fraud. They charge $20K per user seat. Though they couldn’t say the name, TRM says they recently signed a top-five global bank as a customer.
The $25 a month fee seems easy to get drivers to pay as they can pay that to uber/lyft everyday in commissions.
I suspect the subscription will not stay at that rate for long.
Also, it’s much cheaper to jump in and piggyback on the existing supply of drivers and riders than it was to create that market. It’s one more app to run/check, and many drivers already run two, and many riders check two. If Nomad runs super lean and they offer drivers and riders more income and cheaper rides, respectively, without singing the experience too much, I think they have a shot.
In any case, I’m rooting for them, it seems like it’ll put some more power in the hands of the drivers, away from Uber.
The "tech advantage" is not insurmountable. These are, at the core, just apps that let users hail a ride and pay. Uber-Lyft competition has already demonstrated that ride-sharing doesn't come with an automatic moat. Both drivers and passengers are willing to use multiple apps and both respond to prices. Hence price wars.
The big problems are network effect chicken-egg problems. You need enough drivers and passengers simultaneously. But, this only needs to be solved in one locale at a time.
Uber & Lyft put all their efforts into scale, assuming that winner-take-most dynamics will fix the economics eventually. They didn't.
It's not a terrible idea to start a competitor building a low cost/fee model from day one. Flat fees for drivers might be interesting because once the fee is paid drivers have an incentive to get their money's worth.
It's not an easy win to go after, but not impossible either. Ride sharing is not an airtight market.
The team is probably the founder and his little brother and the cat helping out when it can although its paws slip off the keys on the keyboard.
They have more important things to do although I do concede it's a pretty big glitch.
They'll get around to making it awesome.
The hard part is going to market and carving out a niche for yourself (not to mention the endless customer validation and following synthesis), especially in a crowded and rapidly commoditising market like this.
Spending a long time on your site in the early stages is a completely irresponsible and wasteful use of time, when you can be developing or outside validating.
It's served 25.9MB to me.
They are using ginormous background images, and loading multiples.
8000x4000 jpgs. 32 fuckign megapixels. For a background image.
And I have to agree with the OP, simple things like this instantly drive away my trust that they know what they're doing.
It inspires me with confidence that they are focused only on things that get them launched.
What else have they ignored that is going to bite them in the ass?
You're not wrong.
Why switch to a new service and be 100% likely to pay something, yet not 100% likely to get paid yourself at all?
Would rather start out with a 0e/month and get it up to, say, 50$ (or more) based on a rolling basis based on your revenue per month.
The app looks like a thousand other ride-hailing attempts as well. What the hell is the secret sauce here?
Green Tiger. The "Robinhood of India". We hear a lot about how private wealth management is an untapped goldmine in Asia. To the tune of $100T+. And I'm wondering if the barriers aren't more customer development oriented than a lack of actual trustworthy services?
How Asia Can Protect It's Crazy Riches
Besides the obvious privacy and security issues, I can see how you could get customers in the short term with savvy sales and marketing, but trends in development and tech don't seem to support this being a sensical approach for the future.
I mean, one of the examples given is Slack. Slack is already web-based, if you run it as a browser tab, you don't use much extra CPU/memory. But many run it in the Electron "desktop" app. Why? Because it's more integrated with the operating system and more like a first-class citizen app.
That will be solved now with PWAs and the new Web APIs being worked on, it's just a matter of time imo. When all these electron-based apps can just re-use the already running Chrome browser's rendering engine, and still look like a standalone app, who cares how much CPU Chrome uses?
It'll be basically the only UI app running on the whole machine.
Edit: mea culpa, Holy Grail is a play here of sorts.
I think we need to start investing in ideas that remediate actively and aggressively. Like “oh my god there’s a killer asteroid about to hit us” level of motivation.
I mean the planet will do just fine without us, but if we want to stay the dominant species (and not jellyfish), we had best do as inventors/investors what politicians and governments cannot.
* Make totally off the grid solar easier and cheaper than PG&E (remarkably hard to do today)
* zero petroleum scalable ag
* zero petroleum mass consumer packaging
* recycling that actually recycles
* economically profitable global scale carbon capture that can work in deserts and fires and extreme cold
Edit: Because this: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20745486
I am asking this because I was building on a similar idea a couple years back as a side project. I lost track but got curious seeing PopSQL.
The SQL building would be for programmers to setup say a few initial queries. But anyone can change (there would be a changelog) and share new things to track.
Perhaps it's worth releasing after all?
Of course, there are plenty of free and slick GUIs offering the basics of Git. I'd like to see how this is better. Maybe customer service?
I think you might be surprised. SQL is used a lot in businesses by non-programmers. It's embedded in all sorts of enterprise software, including SME stuff like Salesforce.
"Can't" is a strong word. Maybe they could use git, but most don't.
Seems like a gimmick to me. But who knows, maybe their sales are great? Also the real question isn't the upfront (or potentially distributed) engineering cost - it's real estate. Can the robot justify the larger footprint of a typical coffee vending machine by increased sales? My guess is they're targeting the place between vending machines and Starbucks, which seems like a pretty big void in the coffee market. I still don't understand why a robot arm would do anything other than add to the novelty.
It is subliminal stimuli.
Just imagine the complicated algorithms necessary to prevent literal virus injection attacks.
I can't see Lumineye as something other than military and police state tech pretending it's going to help first responders more than it will help special operations units kill people and police/FBI violate privacy even further. This should be disturbing, not cool.
I like what Well Principled is trying to do, but having worked in the consulting space for a long time, the disruptable segment of the management consulting market is not that big. A lot of clients don't hire McKinsey for actual insights or results, they hire for the brand name, someone to point the finger at when things go wrong, and as trusted outsider confirmation of what executives wanted to do in the first place. I have a feeling this will pivot into the financial engineering segment of the market pretty quickly or get bought out by one of the big 4.
No one want to have a camera installed at home to be monitored 24/24. However, something that could check your pulse or maybe if you have moved in the last 30 minutes remotely would be much more acceptable.
It is probably a much bigger market than law enforcement.
In more institutional places, it could probably be used in hospital, nursing home, psychic wards or prisons.
I've been setting up some pipelines at work. I was thinking recently, "huh, these pipelines aren't easily version controlled at all". Unless you use something that is completely configurable by text, which is pretty hard to accomplish, then it's basically impossible to get a snapshot of your services. It's even harder to roll stuff back. Or branch it off and test out a new configuration. I'd wager that a lot of issues in production are configuration related, simply because it's harder to introspect and code review versus code changes. Hopefully that can be fixed.
Azure DevOps supports both a graphical UI and YAML files. Pipelines created with the UI are versioned within Azure DevOps, rather than source control. I get the impression that the UI is considered deprecated, even if Microsoft haven't explicitly said so.
At my last two companies we used Terraform and Kubernetes with everything stored as text in git. Has worked pretty well.
On the other hand, if they can pull off automatic research and experiments at scale, it seems to be a real game changer.
It seems that Traces has slightly misunderstood the concerns of privacy-conscious consumers, so I would like to publicly make the following clarifications:
1. If your technology can track me as effectively as face recognition does, then it is not in any way "less invasive". You are still invading my privacy.
2. STOP. FUCKING. TRACKING. ME!
Leaving those problems to someone else and being second with much cheaper solution that can undercut the company that was first is often a pretty good strategy.
3 years for software is enough to 3 times succeed of fail.
Don’t reveal all, just a hint, like the industry.
Interesting to see that they got 10,000 paying customers in 2 years.