August 8, 2013 AT 3:30 pm

How TechShop is changing the way hardware companies are born

SF MakerSpace
How TechShop is changing the way hardware companies are born

TechShop is a maker space where, for a monthly fee, members get access to equipment and software, from a ShopBot CNC wood router to a 3D printer. Since opening its first location in Menlo Park in 2006, TechShop has expanded to six locations across the U.S.

CEO Mark Hatch described it as the democratization of hardware. Instead of paying $30,000 or $300,000 to start a hardware business, creators can invest a few hundred dollars in materials and a maker space membership and launch something big.

Hatch said there have been five inventions from TechShop members that he believes changed the world. There was Square, which gave anyone access to a payment system. Then there was a nitrogen detection machine that can tell farmers the minimum amount of fertilizer they need to apply. An improvedirrigation systemcooling cabinet for servers and low-cost sleeping bag that protects premature babies from hypothermia were also prototyped at TechShop.


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