Fri Apr 24 '20 Announcement
over 1 year ago
– Fri, Apr 24, 2020 at 05:59:03 PM
Dear fellow air breathers,
We’re going through final testing right now, and everything is looking solid. ? We just went Gold Master on our firmware last week and are shipping out our first batch of production units to some lucky beta testers and some of our Mila Cares package recipients next week. We wish we could get them to all 248 of you who signed up to be beta testers (that’s amazing, thank you!!!), but we had to trim the list down due to air freight costs.
That’s the good news. The bad news is the unprecedented demand for personal protective equipment (PPE) has resulted in the Chinese government placing restrictions on all melt-blown fabrics, the raw material behind HEPA filters and N95 masks. Similar measures have been taken across the world, and some governments have banned the export of these materials altogether. ?
Thankfully, we pre-ordered all our stock in anticipation of the demand so the skyrocketing costs haven't affected us too much. But the restrictions are wreaking havoc on our filter manufacturer’s supply chain. In addition to absorbing the increase in costs, they are reaching deep within their network of suppliers to responsibly secure the melt-blown fabric needed.
What this means is that instead of shipping out all units on April 30 at once, we will stagger shipments starting on May 15 through May 30, barring any unexpected issues that come up with this initial production run. We don’t expect there will be, but COVID-19 has put us all in uncharted waters so we want to be transparent with any uncertainties.
We hate these delays as much as you, but our suppliers are managing a supply chain that's been turned on its head over the past few months. We recognize/applaud how hard they have worked to rebuild the pieces since reopening last month while taking on additional safety measures to keep everyone healthy.
The silver lining in all this is that when you lock a bunch of engineers in their homes for a few weeks, they can be quite productive. ? Here are a couple things we have been cooking up over the quarantine ...
We had a sound designer add a series of tones for different Mila interactions. He didn't have much to work with because Mila just has a simple piezo speaker, but he's like the Mozart of beep tones. ? We think you'll like it.
- Mila received her final lens.
Here’s a sneak peek of the final result as snapped on our iPhone.
- We gave Mila bamboo legs.
We swapped these out for the earlier wooden legs because they are sustainably grown.
- We finalized our packaging. It looks epic. ?
Mila was always pretty smart, but unlike some of us, she is really thriving in this new home schooling environment :) We've rewritten big chunks of the control system to make it faster, more robust, and way smarter. Part of that is we've enabled it to improve its predictions over time. We've also made some pretty good progress on a super secret feature we might have let slip once or twice. That feature may be ready for launch.
- We put Mila in the Thunderdome ⚔️ with Molekule to get some head-to-head tests.
A ton of you have asked us for our opinion on Molekule. We’ve tried to be polite in expressing our reservations because Mila is a ? not a ?. More importantly we didn't have any real test data. Our opinions were based on a) reading their studies (which we felt were misleading), b) the Wirecutter and Consumer Reports reviews (which were bad), and c) the recent report from the advertising watchdog National Advertising Division (NAD) which rejected all 26 of Molekule's 26 marketing claims (which is really bad).
But as you know, we’re big fans of specificity so we decided to put Mila and Molekule in the Thunderdome test chamber for the past couple weeks. ⚔️⚔️ We ran a whole range of tests and this may be one of the most comprehensive third party studies ever done on Molekule, as neither Wirecutter nor Consumer Reports have access to the type of test chambers we do.
We’ll be sharing our findings with you in a separate update, but in a nutshell, Mila blew Molekule out of the water. It wasn't even a fair fight. In fact, we redid some of the tests because we actually didn't believe the results the first time. The results for Molekule were worse than the worst reviews said it was. Stay tuned for the full, detailed report.
We’ve got a couple more in the works with Dyson and Coway right now.
We know these are challenging times for everyone, and we hope you and your families are staying safe and healthy. We'll continue to share updates as we have them, including weekly production updates in our comments.
Stay safe ??
The Mila Team
Sat Mar 28 '20 Announcement
over 1 year ago
– Sat, Mar 28, 2020 at 10:53:51 PM
Dear fellow air breathers,
First, we hope you’re staying safe and healthy, both physically and mentally, in the face of COVID-19.
Over the last month, we’ve been keeping you updated about the impact that COVID-19 has had on production. The good news is that we’re continuing to see our manufacturing partners resume operations as the situation in China stabilizes.
We had previously mentioned that our tooling partner was the biggest bottleneck as they waited for government approval to re-open. This restriction has now been lifted and they have made the necessary modifications. Given where we are now, and based on discussions with all our vendors, we’re anticipating shipping on Thursday, April 30.
We’ll continue to post regular shipping updates as comments. If we have any major production updates, we’ll issue an update.
Mila’s Assembly Partner
Mila’s assembly partner is located in Suzhou, a city approximately 60 miles from Shanghai in Jiangsu province. Our partner employs more than 2,000 employees on-site, specializing in manufacturing household electronics such as vacuum cleaners and air purifiers. Their clients include household names like Electrolux and Philips.
Even though they were among the first allowed to re-open on Feb. 10, it has taken over six weeks to start to regain any sense of normalcy. As of earlier this week, 30% of assembly line workers remain quarantined either in their hometown or locally in Suzhou. “When Chinese New Year first ended, we only had 10-20% of our team back,” recalled Edward, who works closely with the Mila team. “The only people you saw were those that chose to stay in Suzhou for the new year.”
As a result, only three assembly lines were open for February, and even then, were running at one third capacity given limited manpower and resources. Re-opening of the factory has been slow, like it has been for all our partners, due to a combination of government regulations and increased safety measures.
In order to re-open, the local government requires factories to meet a series of requirements, including having enough masks for all employees and demonstrating a clear business reason to resume operations. On the factory floors, new measures have been instituted for everyone’s safety, which include:
Additionally, anyone who is traveling back to Suzhou from outside provincial lines is subject to a 7-14 day quarantine. Those coming from Hubei, the province hardest hit, are quarantined for 14 days under medical supervision in pre-designated housing blocks set by the local government. All other returning employees are quarantined for 7 days either in their own homes or in temporary housing the factory has rented on their employees’ behalf.
While safety remains the top priority, work capacity is expected to increase next month. “Our customers have been very understanding of the circumstances, and we have committed to ramp up in April to make up for the lost time,” said Edward. This includes hiring temporary laborers and negotiating additional hours with existing employees.
When asked what he would share with those currently experiencing the effects of COVID-19 and similar lockdowns that had engulfed China just last month, Edward has this to share: “Use this time to spend more time at home with family and loved ones, to watch movies, read, and slow down. In Chinese, there is a phrase that goes ‘in the warmth of spring, flowers bloom.’ We’re optimistic, and have learned a lot from this experience. Know that we can get past it.”
Mila’s Filter Supplier
On the other side of China, Mila’s filter supplier sits in an industrial park in Shenzhen, a booming high-tech metropolis nearly 1,000 miles away in Guangdong province. Our supplier employs about 100 employees, who have now all returned to work. Any employees traveling from outside Guangdong province were similarly placed under a 14-day quarantine before being allowed back on site.
They, too, have instituted additional safety measures, which include:
All these measures are being taken for the safety of the team and their customers. The team has also noted very minimal risk on the filters themselves. “The biggest challenge is actually the increase we’ve seen in demand for HEPA’s base materials,” said Lynn, who works closely with the Mila team. “We’re seeing increases of more than ten-fold in both demand and price as these materials are also used in face mask filtration. However, we have previously communicated Mila’s needs with our suppliers and they have already reserved these materials for us.”
Like our assembly partners, Lynn’s team is excited to resume work, although she did enjoy her extended time off to pick up baking :)
We hope this gives you a glimpse into the work that goes on behind-the-scenes, the people that are involved and the steps our partners are taking to ensure everyone’s safety — including yours.
Thank you to the 188 of you who have completed your Backerkit surveys (that’s a 63% response rate!) - we’ll be “locking down” the survey at 12 a.m. PDT on Thursday, April 2 to finalize manufacturing counts and guarantee your perk shipping as soon as possible. You’ll still have an opportunity to update your address until closer to shipping.
If you haven’t had a chance to fill out the survey, now’s the time to do it (find your survey at https://mila-igg.backerkit.com) - note that because of how InDemand refund periods work, it will take 11 days for your survey to show up in Backerkit. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. For those of you who have already filled it out, you’ll also have an opportunity to update your answers until April 2.
To cleaner air for all,
The Mila Team
Wed Mar 25 '20 Announcement
over 1 year ago
– Wed, Mar 25, 2020 at 06:04:11 PM
Dear fellow air breathers—
Thank you for your patience as we worked to get you all the information you need for your Backerkit survey. With the unexpected impact that COVID-19 has had on production, our sourcing and operations team has also been hard at work to find ways to improve on quality while reducing costs, including:
- Lower costs for The Rookie Parents and The Mama-to-be filters. Both will be $10 lower than communicated during our campaign as we were able to get better volume pricing on the anti-bacterial coatings. These will be available for $59 and $69, respectively — exclusively for early Indiegogo and Kickstarter backers.
- Introducing The Over-reactor (thanks to one of our earliest backers, Branden M., for the suggestion!)! This triple threat filter includes H14 HEPA + anti-bacterial coating + 1.58 lbs of carbon, with an estimated CADR of 203.
- Introducing Mila Socks, thanks to our backers Olivia V. and Abdelrahman. This is our updated and improved version of the traditional fixed mesh pre-filter, and will cut down on the risk of inhaling resuspended particles usually associated with traditional pre-filters. Simply pull these off and wash them in the sink. And as an additional thank you to our backers, we’ll be including one Mila Sock in each of your pledges.
Bulk-friendly shipping prices for Mila filters (and Mila units). One of the most commonly asked questions we’ve received on shipping is for filters, which is why our team has worked particularly hard to secure the lowest possible prices for global delivery. Plus, we’re helping subsidize shipping for those ordering multiple filters or units. For US backers, shipping is $5 for one filter, and orders including two or more filters will ship for just $10. For international backers, shipping is $10 for one filter, and $15 for two or more filters
Your Backerkit survey will be coming your way over the next 72 hours, and will be sent to the e-mail address associated with your Indiegogo account, with the subject line: “Response Needed —Get your reward for Mila: A smarter, more thoughtful air purifier.”
In your survey, you'll be asked for the following:
- Confirmation of your shipping address
- Your Mila color choice (White or Black)
- Your filter choice (we've put here for a refresher on how each Mila filter compares in this Mila Filter Primer)
- You will also have the ability to buy any additional items (at exclusive Indiegogo prices) that will be shipped alongside your perk.
We know there are often questions that can arise with surveys and shipment, and have included a FAQ for you below. If you have a question that you don’t see an answer to below, please send us a message or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’d be happy to help you out!
What is Backerkit?
For those of you who may not be familiar with Backerkit, it's a third-party service that helps streamline the survey process to make it as simple as possible for you to get us the information we need -- and for you to get your Milas as quickly as possible. Backerkit has powered the fulfillment process for hundreds of projects so you’ll be in good hands :)
Where can I find my survey?
You’ll be receiving a link in your e-mail from Backerkit that will be sent to the e-mail address associated with your Indiegogo account (don’t forget to check your spam folder).
If you placed your perk order before March 19 and don’t receive a survey by Saturday, March 29, please go to https://mila-igg.backerkit.com/.
When will I receive my survey?
For everyone who pledged before March 19, you should receive your survey no later than Saturday, March 29. If you made a pledge after March 19, please allow for 11 days after you made your pledge (Indiegogo's refund period) for your information to show up in Backerkit. For example, if you made a pledge on March 21, your information will show up in Backerkit on April 1.
What if I’m planning a move?
You should enter your current shipping address, and can change your shipping address any time up until we lock down the Backerkit surveys (you’ll receive a notification by e-mail before this happens).
If you have any other questions, we’re here to help. E-mail us at email@example.com. We know that these are crazy times for everyone around the world right now, and here at Mila, we’re doing our best to keep ahead of changing schedules while making the most of this time to improve on your Mila experience. We’ll also be sending another update specifically focused on production, which will include a behind-the-scenes look at the measures our partners are taking to ensure everyone's safety, including that of their team and customers.
To cleaner air for all —
The Mila Team
Mon Mar 16 '20 Announcement
over 1 year ago
– Mon, Mar 16, 2020 at 11:50:41 PM
Dear fellow air breathers —
It’s Jeremy from the Mila Engineering team! I wanted to jump in with a short product update on some of the work we’ve been doing behind the scenes. While we have had delays to our hardware production because of COVID-19, we’ve been able to use this time to continue to fine-tune and iterate on the overall user experience.
Some are features we’ve planned for, and others are areas we’ve been able to accelerate thanks in part to your support.
We partnered with our friends at PurpleAir to add 6,000 more outdoor air quality stations to the Mila database.
We upgraded the display ... then we upgraded it again ...
We designed a bunch of new screens in the firmware.
We reworked the app onboarding process to make it simpler, more secure, and sooo good looking.
We started on smart home integrations with Alexa and Google.
We’ve been testing the control system and added some fun new modes.
We finalized our lens selection.
We tried many different lens variations, and we finally settled on IMD (“In Mold Decoration”). This option was a lot pricier than we expected, but the results are second-to-none.
While COVID-19 has had an undeniable impact on all of us, know that we’re working as quickly (and safely) as possible with our partners to get your Milas to you while looking at all the ways we can make the most of this unexpected production downtime. We’ve also been able to use this extra time to work on delivering a better, more thoughtful experience to all our backers, and hope you appreciate the improvements that will be part of your Mila (these are just a few of the upgrades we have in store for you :)).
On the manufacturing front, our biggest roadblock continues to be our tooling partner. While they have been permitted to re-open in the last couple weeks, re-staffing the team back to full capacity remains a challenge. We will have a more concrete timeline to share in the coming week, and will issue another production update at that time. If you have any specific questions, please do not hesitate to reach out and we appreciate your patience and understanding. We're thankful our immediate team has remained safe and healthy, and we thank everyone for expressing their concerns and wishing us good health.
Join our beta crew!
We’ve absolutely LOVED hearing the thoughtful feedback you’ve had to share and are looking for backers who may be interested in joining the inaugural Mila beta crew. This may include being asked to share your thoughts online, by phone or in-person on upcoming features, products, etc. We're looking for backers who enjoy digging into products and how they work to deliver the best user experience. If this sounds like you, we’d love to hear from you — please fill out this short survey here.
To cleaner air for all —
Jeremy and the Mila Team
Thu Mar 12 '20 Announcement
over 1 year ago
– Thu, Mar 12, 2020 at 02:07:30 AM
Dear fellow air breathers —
As promised, we’re excited to share the results and final specs on all six filters. We wanted to publish this update separate from the Backerkit survey (which you'll be soon) to give you time to review and ask any questions before finalizing your filter order.
Which Filter Is Right For Me?
At Mila our goal is to provide you the right filter for the right job.
Unlike traditional air purifiers that have one generic filter that tries to do a little bit of everything (and ends up doing nothing well), Mila has designed six unique filter configurations to address your specific needs.
For those of you who just want to know what’s best for you we have provided a TL;DR summary below.
But as many of you know, here at Mila we're big fans of specificity. If you enjoy diving into the details, we have also provided the technical specs and performance figures on each filter.
Over the last few months we have been running each Mila filter in test chambers filled with all sorts of nasties to evaluate performance and optimize the design.
Our VOC tests are done over 60 minute intervals in a 1,059-cubic-feet (30 m3) test chamber (using the GBT 18883-2002 standard). The “TVOC Removal Rate” (Total VOC Removal Rate) includes all 9 chemicals in the test chamber at the same time but we have tested each individually.
Our CADR tests are done at 20 minute intervals to determine the particulate volume each filter can effectively process in a standard 1,008-cubic-foot (28.5 m3) test chamber.
Curious about what goes into each filter? This handy chart is for you.
We’re continuing to see strong performance from filter life, and expect them to last 6 months, depending on use. Additional filters can be added when you receive your Backerkit survey.
What are VOCs?
VOCs are vapors/gases that can come in different shapes and forms — below are the ones that are most commonly found in households and that Mila can help combat.
Due to Indiegogo's character limitations, a full version of the filter primer can be viewed HERE.
As mentioned in the comments, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has impacted Mila's timelines like it has for so many others. February 24 was the first day nearly all of our manufacturing partners resumed operations, more than two weeks after their planned returns from the Chinese New Year. While many teams (including our own) have been working from home for the last month, some of our manufacturing partners continue to remain understaffed. Although travel bans have started to lift, teams continue to face challenges returning back to their work-sites (travel bans, quarantines). Where needed, they are also actively hiring.
Currently, our biggest roadblock is with our tooling partner, who only received approval to re-enter their factory a few days ago. However, staffing and bringing their operations back to full speed will require more time, and we expect production to be pushed out a couple of weeks. We plan to issue another update on this next week with more concrete timelines, and are closely following the status.
The good news is that the situation has been stabilizing in China, and operations are slowly starting to resume across the country. We are thankful our immediate team is healthy and well, and have stayed in close touch with our partners as they navigate this incredibly fluid situation. Our engineering team has also used this extra time to improve on your out-of-the-box experience, and we'll be sharing an update here shortly on some of the improvements we've made from a software/firmware perspective.
Thank you to those of you who have reached out to check in and share your well-wishes — your concern and empathy has meant so much to our team and partners, and we're grateful to have such thoughtful backers as part of the Mila community.
As always, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
To cleaner air,
The Mila Team