Kairos’s Engineering, Manufacturing and Testing Capabilities Get Major Boost with Relocation to New Facility in Sunnyvale, CA

Blog Post

Kairos Aerospace shares its origin story with many other successful tech ventures in Silicon Valley: a couple of intrepid engineers experimenting out of their garage.  Since then, our company has evolved through multiple stages of growth and shifting markets, always maintaining a focus on delivering actionable data to our customers.

Basing Kairos in the heart of Silicon Valley enabled us to grow a core team of talented scientists, engineers, and computer scientists committed to building reliable, safe, and novel technology. To this end, Kairos recently relocated its headquarters to Sunnyvale, California, to a new facility that provides space for the expansion of our sensor manufacturing and continued growth of our team.  With our new office, we now have the capability to upscale our product offerings in order to deliver more accurate and efficient insights to our customers.

We are more passionate than ever to grow our impact by advancing our hardware and software tech while expanding to international markets.  We are fortunate to be backed by investors that share in our vision and work tirelessly to help our company succeed in meeting the growing demand of an emerging market.

As the efficacy of our technology evolved, so did Kairos’s impact. Since 2019 and through the end of 2021, our technology has helped prevent the release of over 46 billion cubic feet (BCF) of methane into the atmosphere, an equivalent of taking almost 4.7 million cars off the road or closing down 40 coal-powered plants, all while creating value and delivering savings for our customers in the oil and gas industry.

One beneficiary of this new space, Head of Hardware Engineering Alex Wolff, has been with Kairos since the early days. As a lead figure in developing our hardware engineering processes, he’s seen firsthand how the company has evolved to meet the need for methane emissions tracking, monitoring and reporting in the oil and gas industry. Below, he shares his experience from the start of Kairos to today.

 

Q&A

 

How long have you been with Kairos and what was it like in the early days of the company?

This October will mark five years at Kairos for me.  I was hired into a team composed primarily of scientists and software engineers with the company focused on demonstrating the capability of our early hardware.  Elena Berman, who now is our Chief Science Officer, was hired on the same day. Together, we were well suited to lead the effort to productionalize the first iteration of the Kairos product given our backgrounds: Elena’s deep understanding of photonics and spectroscopy and my experience in satellite operations and aerospace system design.

Those first couple of years were a ton of fun from a creativity standpoint.  As an engineer, I love solving problems and there are plenty of those at an early stage startup. Initially, we didn’t need too much space for our prototyping.  Our office was located on the second floor of a retail building and we were sandwiched between a first floor full of dentist offices and a shared second floor with a law firm.  Sometimes you couldn’t tell if the drilling noises were coming from a patient getting a filling downstairs or one of our technicians using a Dremel!

 

How has Kairos grown since?

When I first joined Kairos, we had two prototype units which were the starting points for the design of our first production unit.  We kept our team small and spent those first two years iterating on designs while we waited for the market to mature. Then in 2019, we hit an inflection point and the market started to catch up to our technology.  We used our first couple of production units, the LeakSurveyor™ pods, to complete pilot projects with various customers and successfully completed the world’s largest survey of oil and gas emissions at the time, the basin-wide survey of the Permian in West Texas in 2019.

This boost in demand strained our production and manufacturing pipelines and the impact of COVID throughout the world further complicated our supply chains.  The shift to remote work allowed the hardware team to reorganize the office space to optimize for production.  That reorganization enabled us to build and maintain up to ten production pods.  However, that scale was about all the original office space could allow and in 2021 we started looking for a bigger facility.

Currently, the Kairos team is pushing one hundred members.  We’ve come together from a diverse set of backgrounds to share in our company’s mission and together I believe we are the world’s experts when it comes to oil and gas related methane emissions.

 

What’s different about the new office space?

First and foremost, the new office is four times the size of our old space.  Secondly, we no longer need to share our bathrooms with a team of lawyers.  Jokes aside, our new facility is configured specifically for our needs.  The space is split up into two areas: one side is outfitted for engineering work and the other is organized for manufacturing and testing.  In between those two large areas are two lab rooms which are used to perform calibration and testing on all of our cameras and spectrometers. 

We’ve already seen the expansion of our production capability since moving in.  We now have built and are supporting 20 pods and have plenty of space to increase our output.  This has enabled us to expand our services to our customer base and to increase the amount of their assets that we can service. 

 

What are you excited about for Kairos’ future?

I am excited to be a part of an extremely talented team that is elevating the ESG performance of the oil and gas industry and I am optimistic about the level of impact we can have through reducing methane emissions. We are focused on efficiently scaling our product offering and operations while maintaining safety at the forefront of our design. The last five years have been both challenging and rewarding and I am excited for the impact that Kairos will make in the future.

 

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