Reed Ginsberg, VP of Engineering at Shinkei

Reed Ginsberg is the VP of Engineering at Shinkei, a robotics company building fish processing robotics to improve fish quality and shelf-life.

This week we had the opportunity to sit down with Reed to talk about about his background, his life running a start-up, and novel challenges they're tackling at Shinkei.

Background & Experience

Contact: Linkedin


I graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and was fortunate to be part of the Management & Technology (M&T) Program, graduating with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and degree in Economics from Wharton. After undergrad, I stayed for one more year to get my MSE in Robotics. One thing I loved about studying at Penn was the ability to take classes on both the engineering and business sides concurrently, which fueled my realization that a good engineering product wasn't very useful without a good business that went with it.

From sophomore year of college onward, my goal was to work at SpaceX. I knew, from friends who had interned there, it was a place that would challenge me and give me responsibility to design real hardware. I interviewed many times for internships but struggled to make it through the multiple rounds of technical interviews. Determined, I studied hard during graduate school and was fortunate to secure a full-time role working on SpaceX's first government satellite program.

Over 3 years, I applied to a total of 16 positions at SpaceX, went through 2 separate phone call interview processes unsuccessfully, before eventually landing a full-time role.


I spent four and a half years at SpaceX with a majority of time on Starship. I grew into a leadership role where I eventually managed the Starship Avionics team of 10 engineers + interns in Starbase, TX. I absolutely loved my time at SpaceX and would not be even half the engineer I am today without it. SpaceX taught me to dream big and go to work with an intense sense of urgency every single day. I had some incredible managers there as well.

I eventually had the entrepreneurial itch to found or join an early-stage company and felt the time in my life was right. I worked a few months at Anduril as a Senior Product Manager before eventually leaving to join Shinkei full-time last December. I met Saif (Founder/CEO of Shinkei) while I was still working at SpaceX. From our initial conversation, we hit it off and both felt like it was only a matter of time before building something together.

Experience at Shinkei

Founding Team at Shinkei

Company Background

Shinkei builds fish processing robotics to improve fish quality and shelf-life (more details in our TechCrunch release). We're building a core team of top-tier engineers from companies like SpaceX, Anduril, Relativity, and others. We like to say that our values are finding engineers in the middle of the Venn diagram between smart and nice.

Our current robot merges novel mechanism design, advanced computer vision, and motor control to leverage the Japanese method for humanely killing fish: Ike Jime. When done correctly, it can extend shelf life by more than 3x.

Life in a Day

I truly love working with the team of individuals we have at Shinkei. While the expectations on speed and delivery of results can be daunting at an early-stage company, Shinkei has been a dream job for me.

Working at a 1-10 person hardware company is similar to SpaceX in lots of ways, but also very different in others. Overall, I believe being a lead engineer at SpaceX was solid training ground for leading a team in a start-up. Even though SpaceX has 10,000+ employees, there is an intense sense of urgency that pushes folks to move as fast as possible, especially on Starship. Elon's 5-step algorithm is a list that's been engraved into my brain that I constantly call upon.

1. Question every requirement.
2. Delete any part or process you can.
3. Simplify and optimize.
4. Accelerate cycle time.
5. Automate.

At SpaceX though, you have such a wealth of resources (via vertical integration) such as in-house machine shops and test engineering resources that enable iteration cycle times orders of magnitude faster than dealing with out of-house vendors. It is really difficult to convince a vendor to treat every day with the same sense of urgency your employees exhibit.

The day-to-day is quite different. My role has a lot more breadth in my current position. At SpaceX, I didn't handle office lease agreements, act as our IT team when we have office networking issues, take out the trash/do the dishes, figure out the power requirements for the entire building, or help write patents with our attorneys.

Technical Achievements & Challenges

Shinkei has invented a novel way to constrain live fish of various sizes and species. We've also developed a computer vision model to locate anatomical features on various fish species, which guide the trajectories for each mechanism.

Prior to our seed round, Shinkei had already earned revenue from a prototype Ike Jime robot and proven the value for the system. We have many exciting challenges ahead as we scale the robot for production. Reliability is a focus for upcoming deployments on commercial fishing boats where environmental conditions are rougher than on more stable fish farms.

Hardware & Software Stack

For CAD, I am a big fan of NX. In my opinion, it is far superior to any other CAD tool and enables our mechanical design engineers to move quickly to design large assemblies. Teamcenter is a CAD management tool that is quite expensive, so we don't use it just yet. There is probably room in the market for something that can be a less expensive solution for startups like us who need to be scrappy.


Favorite Invention

My favorite invention ever has always been the phonograph, but that was well over 100 years ago now. Something about the ability to play a recorded sound has always fascinated me. In the last 100 years, I'd say it is the Apollo Lunar Module. The fact that those engineers were able to achieve that only 10-20 years after the transistor and integrated circuit were invented is mind-boggling. I greatly admire that team of engineers and the brave astronauts who made that trip.

Favorite Interview Questions

Behavioral: Tell me about a time in work or life where you displayed grit?


  • Walk me through how you would design a diving board for a swimming pool?
  • How would you prevent a camera from overheating in space?

If you're interested in learning more about Shinkei, stay in touch through LinkedIn or apply to their open roles on their job page.

About the author
Benjamin Chia

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