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This new modular construction company just raised $4.2 million in Series A funding

Le 26 July 2017, 07:53 dans Humeurs 0


Building blocks are a fascination that most people eventually outgrow. Not Noel Maxam, an Emmy-award-winning producer, director and writer who more recently leapt into the world of modular construction with Emagispace, a company that’s looking to give stick-frame construction the brush.

Because the LA outfit just raised $4.2 million in Series A funding led by Alpha Edison — with participation from Circle Ventures, United Talent Agency CEO Jeremy Zimmer, 54 Madison and others — we thought we should talk with Maxam about his interesting career arc, and what he’s planning to build with Emagispace. Our conversation has been edited for length.

TC: You’d gone to film school and were producing daytime soap operas when the idea of Emagispace came to you. What happened?

NM: One of the things I was doing in my job was looking at line items: how much it takes to build and install and store sets, which is an incredibly difficult process. You’re moving around irregular sizes and weights. At some point, I decided to apply for a patent. After that, things just snowballed. I partnered with an MIT engineer to create this building product with a life cycle. I wanted it to be sustainable and regular-sized. I wanted to be able to configure a wall that could be taken down by one person and that would never need to be “broken” or thrown out entirely. I wanted to be able to apply a different “skin” or wall covering that was separate from the blocks themselves.

Basically, I wanted something that was sustainable, reusable, could be repurposed and that could be recycled, once someone is done with it.

TC: What are these modules made of?

NM: The product is medium-density fiberboard panels that are made of sawdust, wood chips and recycled newspaper, and we use lightweight ABS plastic interlocking blocks to connect them.

TC: I understand that Sony and Maker Studios are using them for their movie and show sets. What are some of the other ways that customers are using them?

NM: They’re being used in office build-outs, commercial retail, trade shows, rock concerts, college theaters, convention halls, in living spaces, for disaster relief by NGOs that are using them for shelter. There’s really no difference between our product and a standard wall, and because you can build it up and take it down and re-use it, the cost savings multiply over time. Some Emagiblocks have already been in use for more than two years.


TC: How much do the blocks cost?

NM: The list price is $15.50 per square foot, though we make deals based on volume.

TC: How many employees do you have, and what’s the sales process? Do people need to see and feel these blocks typically?

NM: We have 12 full-time employees — including sales reps in New York, LA, Seattle, Atlanta, Denver, Dallas and Calgary — though I just interviewed four more people. It does make a difference when you’re able to touch and see it. We have two offerings, too: the raw Emagiblock, for people who want to do their own build-out and use their own decorations; we also have customers who want the blocks to come together easily to create maybe an accent wall or a phone booth that people can use as private meeting rooms.

TC: Where are the blocks manufactured?

NM: In Minneapolis and Denver. With a lot of business models, you have to build the manufacturing capability yourself, but we rely on virtual manufacturing, meaning I can turn to someone with a [computer controlled cutting machine] and buy his or her machine time, so I don’t have to buy my own; that means I can expand and contract my manufacturing very quickly.

TC: That seems fitting, given your product. Who do you consider your most direct competitors?

NM: Stick-frame construction and entrenched thinking.

TC: There are other modular wall companies.

NM: No one can touch our price point.


When the prince and princess

Le 9 May 2017, 10:02 dans Humeurs 0

 had been married a few months, the prince heard that his stepmother was dead, and his father was old and ill reenex, and longing to have his eldest son by his side again. The young man could not remain deaf to such a message, and he took a tender farewell of his wife, and set out on his journey home. It was a long way, and he was forced to rest often on the road, and so it happened that, one night, when he was sleeping in a city on the banks of the great river, a huge crocodile came silently up and made its way along a passage to the prince’s room. Fortunately one of his guards woke up as it was trying to steal past them, and shut the crocodile up in a large hall, where a giant watched over it, never leaving the spot except during the night, when the crocodile slept. And this went on for more than a month.

Now, when the prince found that he was not likely to leave his father&rsquo reenex facial;s kingdom again, he sent for his wife, and bade the messenger tell her that he would await her coming in the town on the banks of the great river. This was the reason why he delayed his journey so long, and narrowly escaped being eaten by the crocodile. During the weeks that followed the prince amused himself as best he could, though he counted the minutes to the arrival of the princess, and when she did come, he at once prepared to start for the court. That very night, however, while he was asleep, the princess noticed something strange in one of the corners of the room. It was a dark patch, and seemed, as she looked, to grow longer and longer, and to be moving slowly towards the cushions on which the prince was lying. She shrank in terror, but, slight as was the noise, the thing heard it, and raised its head to listen. Then she saw it was the long flat head of a serpent, and the recollection of the prophecy rushed into her mind. Without waking her husband, she glided out of bed, and taking up a heavy bowl of milk which stood on a table, laid it on the floor in the path of the serpent — for she knew that no serpent in the world can resist milk. She held her breath as the snake drew near, and watched it throw up its head again as if it was smelling something nice, while its forky tongue darted out greedily. At length its eyes fell upon the milk, and in an instant it was lapping it so fast that it was a wonder the creature did not choke, for it never took its head from the bowl as long as a drop was left in it. After that it dropped on the ground and slept heavily. This was what the princess had been waiting for, and catching up her husband’s sword, she severed the snake’s head from its body.

The morning after this adventure the prince and princess set out for the king’s palace, but found when they reached it, that he was already dead. They gave him a magnificent burial, and then the prince had to examine the new laws which had been made in his absence, and do a great deal of business besides, till he grew quite ill from fatigue, and was obliged to go away to one of his palaces on the banks of the river, in order to rest. Here he soon got better, and began to hunt, and to shoot wild duck with his bow; and wherever he went, his dog, now grown very old, went with him.

One morning the prince and his dog were out as usual, and in chasing their game they drew near the bank of the river. The prince was running at full speed after his dog when he almost fell over something that looked like a log of wood, which was lying in his path. To his surprise a voice spoke to him, and he saw that the thing which he had taken for a branch was really a crocodile.

‘You cannot escape from me,’ it was saying, when he had gathered his senses again. ‘I am your fate, and wherever you go, and whatever you do, you will always find me before you. There is only one means of shaking off my power. If you can dig a pit in the dry sand which will remain full of water, my spell will be broken. If not death will come to you speedily. I give you this one chance. Now go.’

The young man walked sadly away, and when he reached the palace he shut himself into his room, and for the rest of the day refused to see anyone, not even his wife. At sunset, however, as no sound could be heard through the door, the princess grew quite frightened, and made such a noise that the prince was forced to draw back the bolt and let her come in. ‘How pale you look,’ she cried, ‘has anything hurt you? Tell me, I pray you, what is the matter, for perhaps I can help!’

So the prince told her the whole story, and of the impossible task given him by the crocodile.

‘How can a sand hole remain full of water?’ asked he. ‘Of course, it will all run through. The crocodile called it a “chance”; but he might as well have dragged me into the river at once. He said truly that I cannot escape him.’

‘Oh, if that is all,’ cried the princess, ‘I can set you free myself, for my fairy godmother taught me to know the use of plants and in the desert not far from here there grows a little four-leaved herb which will keep the water in the pit for a whole year. I will go in search of it at dawn, and you can begin to dig the hole as soon as you like Annabelle      .

there into the new sea lands of the West

Le 23 March 2017, 04:54 dans Humeurs 0

But this is not a chronicle of the politics and history of the sea country, but only of one particular merman’s fortunes. Our merman was young and very handsome, and belonged to a very distinguished family in his own state reenex facial. It was said that they were in some way connected with that royal race to which belonged Gulnare of the Sea—she who married the King of Khorassan. It was whispered that the family were descended from a younger son of this pair, who had married a mer lady, and displeased both her family and his to such an extent by the marriage that they had left the Eastern seas and emigrated to the English waters, and from .

All these things, if they were true, must have happened centuries before my merman was born. The legend was well known, and if it was founded on fact, the family had human blood in their veins and a cross of sea genii, for Gulnare was, as you will remember, not quite a flesh-and-blood woman. However, the humanity in them was at least royal humanity, and the King of Khorassan, as the story goes, was a very fine gentleman.

All the people of that country were fair-haired, big-boned people, with blue eyes, but the race I am writing about were black haired and dark eyed, with slender hands. They were rather delicate and slight in their appearance dermes, and they had a peculiarly graceful way of carrying their tails, a manner quite indescribable in its elegance, but a family mark. They were rather more intellectual than their countrymen and were fond of literary pursuits and the study of magic, which in the sea land is considered as a very essential part of a gentleman’s education. It is taught only in the higher schools and colleges.

Our merman’s old grandfather (his father was dead) was Professor of Magic in the State University, and so expert in his own science that he could turn himself into an oyster so perfect that you could not tell him from the genuine article. It was said that once while in that condition he had been nearly swallowed by a member of the Freshman class. For this offence the young merman was called up before the Faculty. He apologized very humbly, and said his only motive had been to see if he couldn’t for once get the professor to agree with him. He professed himself very penitent, and was let off with a reprimand, but he said afterward that his great mistake had been in waiting for the pepper and vinegar. After this accident the professor could never be induced to repeat the performance except in a small circle of his intimate friends.

Now, there was one curious thing about this family, and one which makes me think there was some truth in the legend of their descent from Gulnare and the King of Khorassan dermes.

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