I hope all of you have had a great start in 2020 and the new decade. We made a lot of really good progress on our end since our last update that we’re excited to share with you. This update will be a bit long...so let's jump in!
We’ve been working hard on our tech development. Here’s the current state of affairs:
On the ergonomics end, we’ve been focusing on finding the right foam suppliers that can source and produce the right composition (weight, density, compression ratio, cost, longevity, support, etc.) of foam from renewable sources. We want this to be the best meditation cushion you have ever sat on both in terms of comfort and in terms of the environment. We're taking the same analytical focus when it comes to our sustainable fabric selection as well.
On the electrical end, we are nearing the end of the DFA/DFM stage (more info on that below). We've had to completely re-engineer the inside of Cushion design to ensure that it is reliable and able to withstand thousands of repetitive sessions without affecting the battery, electronics, and wiring. We’ve done a lot of research on power consumption and management and how that affects the circuit board design, motor selection and choosing our battery. We have increasingly narrowed our list of motors we want to use in Cushion from 50 to 30 and now 17 (yes!). Over the next month, we will be doing extensive firmware testing, developing our own GUI (graphic user interface) to test various parameters of these motors and finalize our selection based on efficiency, reliability, cost, "feeling" (yes, this is an important metric) and more.
We've also had to re-design our entire light/button interface. We're experimenting with the various light diffusion materials to make Cushion feel sleek and non-invasive and will share updates here in the coming weeks.
On the software side, we have done quite a bit of research into designing some of our features and need some more feedback, especially our community feature. If you'd like to participate in any of the testing and feedback sessions we are doing, please email us here.
After much work and deliberation, our new website is close to being done! We have been migrating to a better platform that will only serve us better as we scale.
We’re really happy with how it's turning out. We’ll be using this new platform to host our blog, continue pre-sales, and provide a fresh face for the company.
Team Aduri is growing - we’re excited to welcome Rita, Sam, Nate and Chirag!
Sam and Nate bring a combined 20 years of experience in electronics – from analog to embedded and everything in between. They have deep manufacturing experience and are going to head-manning the electronics design, testing, and production moving forward.
Rita brings half a decade of experience in finance, operations, and teaching meditation and yoga around NYC. She's a swiss army knife and will be heading up our meditation content strategy and business operations (among many other things, because, well, we are a startup :D) moving forward.
Chirag brings over 10 years of experience building mobile apps from consumer to enterprise. He will be developing our mobile app experience and are grateful to have him on our team.
We've also been accepted into XRC Labs, the premier consumer and retail tech accelerator based in NYC. Their expertise in manufacturing, investment opportunities and more put us on a great path moving forward. Our team is very excited!
The expertise our new members bring is unparalleled, and already we’re seeing the fruits of their labor contributing to the quality of our core tech and management. Our new teammates are helping push the product and business to be better and better. We’ll be sharing some pictures and details about the design work next month!
A few of you had asked about timeline updates – we figured an update was in order.
As we know from previous Kickstarter projects, delays are a frequent issue. We're doing the best we can to mitigate delays. Prior to our campaign, we spent a lot of time talking to other Kickstarter creators and manufacturing experts, trying to foresee what problems typically arise, and how we can mitigate them.
Despite our best efforts, and now having spent a couple of months working closely with our manufacturing team, understanding the implications of the coronavirus on manufacturing and a variety of other factors, it’s very unlikely at this point that we’ll be starting to ship Cushion in March 2020.
Below is a glimpse into the manufacturing process that I mentioned in the last update. Overall, there are 3 main reasons projects get delayed (and one unexpected reason!):
1. Major problems during DFM/DFA
Converting a prototype design to a scalable supply chain is complicated, and depends strongly on the design itself, and the engineer’s capabilities. We're 85% completed with this process and thrilled to have some of the most talented and experienced engineers and manufacturing partners with us taking us through DFM/DFA. These factories we're in conversations with design and manufacture millions of products every year, and will be leveraging that experience to tweak our design early in this phase and avoid critical problems later on.
2. Major problems during beta testing
The beta tests are when we will see our test units going through the range of real-world stress tests, where tiny imperfections start popping up. A good DFM/DFA process mitigates a lot of these problems. In particular, the factories that we’re prospecting have specifically dealt with in the past with soft goods, fabrics, digital electronics, and Bluetooth – the most unique parts of our design. Having seen all these issues in the hundreds of other designs they’ve made puts us ahead of the game in mitigating these problems early.
3. Stacking of frequent minor problems + unexpected problems
Major problems delay projects several months, but many minor problems delay by weeks. Certifications taking too long, motor/vibration tests that come back negative, plastic color problems --- there’s endless room for silly issues.
As some of our components will be made in China communication back and forth with the factory to fix several small issues can stack up, leading to overall delays in the order of months. As we are all aware, coronavirus has been a major threat to the health and wellbeing of people around the world, especially in China. As a result, many manufacturers (who are currently on Chinese New Year vacation) are advised to not open up for business for a couple of weeks. As some of the prospective partners (who will be producing a few of our components) are based out of there, there have been delays in communication. We're hoping to mitigate as much as we can with being ready with all of our documentation and clarity of our component selection.
For each of the potential issues above, we’re taking active steps to prevent problems before they arise. We wanted to share with you these insights into the process with you, to give context about the process. It’s hard to know what’s going on when you aren’t with us on the factory floor, so hopefully, these explanations help!
We'll go a bit further into the manufacturing process in our next update. The next month should see more specific details around our factory negotiations, as well as a finalization of our product requirement document (PRD) This will put us on a good road towards getting our alpha units this upcoming May, with the rest of the production process and tests following shortly thereafter.
Our CEO, Jesal, will be fundraising over the next few months. Beyond the Kickstarter, we want Aduri to become a huge success – that means more features, new products, and fast growth. To speed up the process, we’re raising a pre-seed round to help expand the team, and push more development.
If any of you know someone interested in investing in Aduri, have any connections to angel or VC investors passionate about meditation and health and wellness, or even can lend a couch in cities like San Francisco or Toronto, please send us a private message – let’s help Aduri grow together!
We’ll be keeping up the conversation on social media, the best place to find interesting mindfulness tips and pictures of our progress!
Like our Facebook page @aduriwellness and follow us on Instagram @aduri.co, and be sure to tag us in anything you find interesting! Links below!
As always, feel free to share any comments, questions, or feedback in the comments section of this post. We love to hear from you all - your comments are the only way for us to get your thoughts on Cushion by Aduri!
Until next time, we'll be busy prototyping, designing, and otherwise bringing Cushion to life!
- Team Aduri