Case Study “startup stories” Heila Technologies
Heila Technologies is a hardware technology startup founded out of MIT. They are working on making micro-grid scale energy production more accessible to businesses and towns. Heila Technologies believes that microgrids will play a critical role in this century’s global energy transformation, by increasing the penetration of renewable energy, strengthening the system’s resiliency, and reducing losses by producing localized generation.
Heila Technologies is designing the “brain” for the microgrids of the future. Their system controls, monitors, and provides an internet of things machine learning platform for communication between microgrid assets.
Heila Technologies first approached the Manufacturing Initiative in 2017. They were looking to The Manufacturing Initiative for help sourcing assembly of their printed circuit boards. The Entrepreneurs were fresh out of their MIT laboratory, they were software focused, and were unfamiliar with the wealth of manufacturers Massachusetts has to offer.
The Manufacturing Initiative; maintaining a large network of manufacturers across Massachusetts, connected Heila with three printed circuit board assemblers. Through our manufacturing onboarding process, we knew the three manufacturers had the capabilities Heila needed at the price point and volume they desired. Heila chose the best priced manufacturer to build their circuit boards, and the two companies are still working and growing manufacturing operations together.
Soon after, Heila realized they needed help sourcing the other components in their build. They recognized that a simple google search for “manufacturers in Massachusetts” was time consuming and unfruitful. They approached us hoping to tap our network for sheet metal fabrication, powder coating, power supplies, plastic components, and more. Using the same method of connecting Heila with three pre-vetted manufacturers for each need, we found the right manufacturer for each component. Soon Heila Technologies, a young startup with seemingly no influence over manufacturer's pricing, had many different manufacturers competitively bidding for their components.
Now that Heila has an MVP, they installed their prototypes with a solar field in Northern California. Their pilot turned out to be a huge success. In fact, their machines were rugged enough to survive the devastation of the 2018 Northern California wildfires. Their machines helped sustain the solar field’s operation and energy production while other local energy producers were incapacitated. The Manufacturing Initiative continues to working with Heila to find the next group of suppliers that are able to manufacture their units at a higher volume with a lower price.