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Houston-based MacroFab Names Misha Govshteyn as CEO

MacroFab, a Houston-based electronics manufacturer is excited to announce that board member, Misha Govshteyn has moved into a new role as Chief Executive Officer where he will continue to focus on disrupting the $480B electronics manufacturing industry.

For the past three decades, nearly all investment in electronics manufacturing has gone into machinery and design tools, while little investment has been made to improve the interface between the customer and the factory floor. The traditional customer interface consists of decades-old processes that include emailing for quotes, working with overseas manufacturers that could lead to communication breakdowns and the risk of losing intellectual property to the black market.

MacroFab’s team of software developers have built an online platform that enables their hardware customers to get instant quotes, which effectively eliminates thousands of hours of back-and-forth communication with sales reps. MacroFab offers a mutual NDA to keep IP safe, and their responsive customer success team boasts an outstanding average NPS score of 57.

“MacroFab has built a software platform for hardware teams to get their product to market faster and with greater control than ever before, and I’m excited about the opportunity to grow our market, both with our customer-base and our network of factories,” Govshteyn said.

Hardware companies with high volume manufacturing needs can access MacroFab’s network of connected factories to scale their products faster and with greater control. This network means that customers won’t have to wait in a manufacturing queue to get their products built, and it occupies factories’ (both international and domestic) unused capacity, keeping business flowing.

“Our platform is creating the first marketplace for electronics manufacturing, Govshteyn said. This will simultaneously open up capacity for our hardware customers while creating more demand for idle factories.”

MacroFab is the only startup focused on full product delivery at scale. Currently, there is a gap for middle market manufacturers in this industry and Govshteyn believes it’s primed for disruption.

“What we’re seeing is a lot of large manufacturers that make prototyping and mid-volume production expensive for many small businesses and startups,” Govshteyn said. “MacroFab is making it affordable and more accessible for these businesses to get started and quickly scale their business. They can prototype with us, and manufacture units in the hundreds of thousands through one platform, all at globally competitive prices,” he continued.

MacroFab was founded in 2013 by Chris Church, former CEO, who is now the Chief Product Officer. Since 2013, MacroFab has raised $5.7M in funding from various VCs and is currently pursuing another round of funding. MacroFab’s key platform capabilities include greater command and control from a customer standpoint; orchestration of logistics; virtualization of capacity and manufacturing standardization. For more information, visit MacroFab.com.

The Office ‘Non-Denominational Holiday Mixer’: Tips for keeping Everyone Safe and Out of Trouble During the Company Holiday Party

There is a reason why Saturday Night Live (SNL), The Office, and Office Christmas Party poke fun at office ‘Non-denominational Holiday Mixers.’  Feel free to watch any of these videos at your own risk to see what I mean. It is the corporate world’s attempt to be inclusive while employees cut loose in celebration for various reasons. Because each company’s culture is unique, there is no right way to do this.  In this month’s blog, we give a few tips for the startup community to keep everyone safe and reduce risk.

Driving, Biking and Scooting Home

Making sure everyone gets home safely is by far the biggest concern executives should have when throwing a holiday party. The best tip here is to ask employees to use a ride share or take a taxi if they plan to consume alcohol. Some employers go to the extent of providing shuttles, ride share vouchers or by allowing employees to add rides to their expense reports. Scooters and electric bikes are the new craze, but keep in mind that it is illegal to ride them while intoxicated and dangerous to ride. Even if your employees have not had a drop to drink (and brought their helmet to the party), riding at night is not advised.  Potholes, curbs and other crazies on the road can be just as hazardous. Encourage everyone to have a plan prior to the party to avoid any game time decisions. We want to see everyone get home safely this holiday season!

Alcohol and Liability

Alcohol is part of many cultures in the startup community. The two biggest tips from a risk management standpoint are to use 3rd party vendors that carry liquor liability insurance and to have TABC certified servers serving alcohol. Using vendors who are in the business of serving alcohol and are trained to identify when someone has been over served shifts the liability off of your company and places it primarily on them. Be sure to ask for a certificate of insurance to verify they have liquor liability in place and not just general liability.

The next tip is to create an environment that encourages alcohol consumption in moderation. People tend not to over serve themselves when it is a cash bar vs an open bar. We have all been to parties where two or three drink vouchers are offered per person. Clearly this is not foolproof, but it helps limit how much the company is contributing towards consumption. Another tip is to limit the amount of time the bar is open. The longer the party, the more opportunity people have to consume alcohol. Shutting the bar down for about 30 minutes or 1 hour before the party ends is a good idea as well. The last tip is to make sure there are non-alcoholic drinks and food available throughout the night. This seems like a no-brainer, but making sure everyone has an option to drink something besides alcohol and offering food to fill their bellies is a good idea.

Holiday Traditions and Decorations

In today’s environment, companies even struggle over what to call the party. There are varying stances on this, but the bottom line is to be sure to consider the diversity and culture of your company when deciding what to call your party. You can attempt to be inclusive and call it a Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa party while unintentionally being exclusive to the folks who don’t celebrate any of these. Most companies are sticking with ‘holiday party’ but the title of this blog comes from the term the fictional company in Office Christmas Party came up with to make the party feel ‘more inclusive.’

Even if you call it a holiday party but put up a nativity scene with baby Jesus or a Menora, it can send the wrong signal. Some companies form a diverse planning committee on this to make different faiths feel represented in the planning process. Some company cultures might be okay with including symbols of all religions while others might prefer leaving them out completely.

The last tip here is to make the party completely voluntary with no judgement or repercussion for not attending. Even calling it ‘highly encouraged’ can have a bad connotation. It is hard to please everyone. Perhaps an individual has a religious conflict, a struggle with alcohol or a phobia of driving at night. Making sure the party is completely voluntary without judgement or repercussions gives someone an out.

How Does All of This Affect Insurance?

The most common question I get during the holiday season is what does my liability policy cover.

General Liability: From a general liability viewpoint, a company can be held liable if the proper precautions are not taken and someone is hurt from a drinking and driving accident after the party. This is why it is important to use third party vendors who are insured to serve alcohol. You may see that liquor liability is excluded on your general liability policy.  Keep in mind that liquor liability is excluded for companies who are in the business of manufacturing, selling or serving alcohol.  Since you are a tech company, this exclusion would not apply.

Employment Practices Liability: This is essential to a policy covering all HR issues related to the party. Discrimination and sexual harassment claims are possibilities here. We discussed discrimination based on religion above, but we have not discussed sexual harassment. Even with the best of intentions, alcohol can impair judgement. Perhaps an employee says something inappropriate to a co-worker or gets overly aggressive on the dance floor, making another employee feel uncomfortable. This is why it is important to make sure your employment practices liability policy is in place.

Our tip here is to ask your legal counsel about your liability and agent if you have questions about coverage for your holiday party.

Summary of Top Tips:

– Be cognizant of your company’s diversity and culture during planning
– Encourage everyone to have a plan for getting home prior to the party
– Encourage the use of a ride share such as Uber of Lyft
– Don’t ride scooters or electric bikes after drinking at night
– Use third party vendors and TABC certified servers
– Make it a cash bar or use drink tickets drink vouchers
– Don’t make it mandatory or ‘highly encouraged’
– Ask your lawyer or commercial insurance agent if you have questions

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About Lumen

Lumen Insurance Technologies is a boutique commercial insurance agency based in Austin, Texas. Lumen is hyper-focused on providing the technology startup ecosystem with quality commercial insurance coverage (e.g. D&O, E&O, Cyber, etc.) following a funding event and beyond.
Check us out on the web at www.lumeninsure.com to find more blog topics, general info,  or to get help with finding coverage. Email us at info@lumeninsure.com if you would like to suggest a topic for future blogs.

Ways Content Marketing Can Improve SEO Ranking

Before we get into how content marketing can improve your SEO ranking, first let’s dive into what makes up content marketing. Hubspot defines content marketing as an “effort that centers on creating, publishing, and distributing content for your target audience — usually online — the goal of which is to attract new customers” (Wainwright, 1). Basically, companies use content marketing to advertise their business in a digital space to attract new leads. Because the digital realm is crowded, it is important to make sure you are working towards your ultimate goal and are doing it right. It must add value to customers’ lives, be compelling, be creative, and stand out among the crowd. Another term to be familiar with is SEO. Search Engine Optimization is a system in which search engines (like Google) recognize unpaid webpages and reward them with organic visibility. It is important to maintain a good SEO ranking to have a greater chance of appearing in a search engine naturally with no spend.

Forbes states that SEO is a technical process which increases the quality and amount of traffic to your website while content marketing refers to the process of creating value by attaining new leads and driving business. We want to dig into this overwhelming world and discuss a few ways in which content marketing can improve your business’s SEO ranking.

Understand Your Current Ranking

Before anything improves, a business needs to know where they stand in their SEO ranking. How can you know if and where there is room for improvement if you do not first have an understanding of your website’s SEO metrics? There are different SEO tracking tools available for businesses to use to gain a deeper and more comprehensive understanding to their SEO health. Once you determine where your business stands within the SEO ranking, you can take the necessary steps to improve your content and boost your SEO ranking.

Incorporate Keywords

Keywords are the words or phrases people type into a search engine and are necessary to a website’s vitality. Think of them as beacons of light that bring people to a website. As such, it is important to have the right keywords for your business. To determine what to use, think about the essentials of your business. In other words, if you had to boil your webpage down to a few words or phrases, what would they be? Once determined, start incorporating those keywords into your created content. While increasing your website’s ranking, targeted keywords draw traffic to your site. However, it is necessary to note that there is such a thing as over optimizing your website. Do not try to overstuff your website with keywords, this could cause a backlash with the search engine.

Create Valuable Content

Good content adds value to your audience and value is created when a business knows exactly what resonates with their audience. In order to create valuable content, you must determine what people engage with the most and what resonates with your audience. If people enjoy your content, it will ultimately increase your SEO ranking. As your website generates more views (otherwise known as hits), search engines will know and your ranking will improve. It also benefits if you have the right keywords incorporated into your content as this will only help generate more content views. Everything works together. Creating valuable content is as good as gold in the SEO world.

The key factor with leads to your business is the creation of valuable content whereas SEO ranking is the vehicle to push your content into the eyes of consumers. SEO ranking determines your websites online health. In order to have a decent SEO rank, you need to know your websites current ranking before you can improve. If you want to talk to SEO professionals, feel free to give us a call or shoot us an email. We’d love to chat with you about your business’s SEO needs.

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