Chicago-based Inventables, a marketplace for technology and materials for developers and designers, has raised $3 million in new funding led by Tim Draper (via Draper Associates) with Dundee Venture Capital, Richard Yoo (founder of Rackspace), Georges Harik, and True Ventures participating. This brings Inventables’ total funding to $5 million.
By the end of the 40-day campaign, in June, some 4,500 backers had pledged $212,265 to make Une Bobine a reality. Along the way, Fuse Chicken had expanded its offerings, introducing a micro USB version of the charger suitable for Android handsets, as well as a shorter length option for each version.
It was an undeniable, unmitigated Kickstarter triumph. But as Fawcett would quickly learn, it was just the beginning of the Bobine’s journey.
The news about Logitech’s acquisition of TT Design Labs, a two-member startup that originated on the crowd -funding Kickstarter program, is generating feel-good vibes in the design and engineering community today.
TT Design Labs was founded by Zahra Tashakorinia and Derek Tarnow, two designers who developed TidyTilt — a little magnetic device which serves as an iPhone stand, mount and earbud-cord organizer.
The two entrepreneurs launched the company through Kickstarter, a requirement for their school project at the Institute of Design in Chicago. They had never designed a product for sale to the public nor launched a business. Kickstarter, a private for-profit company, provided them tools to raise capital. By early 2012, the pair had more than $223,000 from would-be customers who voted with their wallets via their Kickstarter campaign for TidyTilt.
Companies are looking at Kickstarter as a place to recruit talent. VCs are looking for companies to invest in. It will be interesting to see if Kickstarters will start more stand-alone companies or will it acquihires and VC investments for successful Kickstaters.
The maker culture and movement encompasses all types of communities such as UAVs, sports enthusiasts, bicycle makers, leatherworkers, blacksmiths, welders, fetishists, hackers, educators, librarians, molecular gastronomists, homebrewers, and the list goes on. Sparkfun’s business performance could possibly be an indicator for the electronics kits business or other companies that are in the kits industry but I can’t agree that they’re a reliable indicator for the maker movement which is obviously growing. The assumption that the article makes reveals a common misconception to people that are new to maker, hacker, and DIY culture: that it’s all about tech. We choose to see what we want to see, but there’s a lot more depth in the scene that just the technology/electronics/hardware aspect. If I could try and summarize what I think this culture is about, I’d say it’s all about craftsmanship.
Fabule Fabrications visited a number of factories during our participation in HAXLR8R, a hardware startup accelerator based in Shenzhen, China. During a three-month period we designed and prototyped a cute and deeply adaptable lamp, lining up component sources and manufacturers as a part of this process. Emerging from this program, we’d like to share some of our experiences visiting various factories and learning how many of our everyday things get made. This is the third in a series of posts on this topic, about how we found a factory for Clyde’s enclosure. (Our first post brought us to Jetta, who makes Makerbots, Furbies, and other consumer products. Our second post was about a factory whose working conditions we didn’t really like.)
We found our factory nearly by accident, and it never would have happened if we weren’t located right in Shenzhen. We hadn’t yet decided on a factory for the injection-molding that we’d need for Clyde’s plastic body. But, we needed to find a lens so we could lay out our high-power LED board to the correct proportions.
Today, we’ll be discussing common types of expenses and income that makerspaces around the world experience on a regular basis in order to help you create a business model for a space of your own. In the process of identifying these expenses and income, we’ll review examples from several well-established spaces across the U.S. for reference. Please don’t consider this an exhaustive list of either income or expenses; expenses vary wildly based on location and circumstances, and spaces have found a huge number of ways to make money.
MakerBot announces today that it has moved and expanded its production facility to a larger location in Brooklyn, where MakerBot currently employees more than 100 “productors” tasked with building MakerBot Desktop 3D Printers. And MakerBot is hiring another 50+ employees at its new location in coming months.
The MakerBot Factory, located in the Sunset Park district of Brooklyn, officially opens its doors on Friday, June 7, 2013, at 11:00 a.m., to invited guests and media. The facility boasts 50,000 square feet (4,645 sqm) of production and warehouse space. Invited guests are invited to meet MakerBot CEO Bre Pettis and have a tour of the MakerBot Factory.
148 39th Street (between 1(st) and 2nd Avenues) Brooklyn, NY
There seems to be a bit of confusion lately about the Maker Movement. As with reporting on any popular phenomena (like pop stars or smart phones), once there’s been coverage of the next big thing, the media inevitably moves on to covering how the next big thing is already doomed to die. And even while our own Maker Faire Bay Area recently enjoyed yet another blockbuster year, and crowdfunded endeavors by aspiring innovators continue to break records, we start to see headlines like this:
To be fair, the piece doesn’t make any predictions of doom-and-gloom. Rather, it contrasts the perceived popularity of the Maker Movement right now with the fact that one company, Sparkfun, which makes and sells breakout boards and electronic kits, saw only 9% growth last year after previous years of significant double-digit growth. I’d suggest that it’s unreasonable to try to find a trend in one data point from one still robustly-healthy company (let’s not fall into the trap of assuming anomalous short-term growth is realistically sustainable – I’m looking at you, Apple stock speculators) in one still wide-open and still-growing product category (1 million Raspberry Pis sold, Arduino kits showing up in Radio Shack stores around the country, and other companies in the space – like Adafruit Industries – tripling year-over-year).
The emerging Internet of Things — essentially, the world of physical devices connected to the network/Internet, from your Fitbit or Nest to industrial machines — is experiencing a burst of activity and creativity that is getting entrepreneurs, VCs and the press equally excited.
The space looks like a boisterous hodgepodge of smart hobbyists, new startups and large corporations that are eager to be a part of what could be a huge market, and all sorts of enabling products and technologies, some of which, including crowdfunding and 3D printing, are themselves far from established.
Smartphone and tablets are so 2013. The future of computing is all about “wearables, drivables, flyables and scannables,” says Internet analyst Mary Meeker.
Meeker released the latest version of her Internet trends report Wednesday at AllThingsD’s D11 conference. The 117-page opus is packed with predictions.
Among them: The third wave of technology will come in such forms as eyewear (Google Glass), watches, GPS-enabled drones, self-driving cars and more sophisticated uses of barcode-like QR codes. Apple CEO Tim Cook made some of those same points Tuesday, saying he was “incredibly interested” in devices on wearable technology, especially (hint, hint?) those that one might sport on one’s wrist.
Meeker, a partner with the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, is a former Morgan Stanley analyst known as the “Queen of the Net” for her prescient calls ahead of the 2000 dot-com bust.
In the race to be the world’s dominant economy, Americans have at least one clear advantage over the Chinese. We’re much better at branding. American companies have these eccentric failed novelists and personally difficult visionary founders who are fantastic at creating brands that consumers around the world flock to and will pay extra for. Chinese companies are terrible at this. Every few years, Chinese officials say they’re going to start an initiative to create compelling brands and the results are always disappointing.
According to a recent survey by HD Trade services, 94 percent of Americans cannot name even a single brand from the world’s second-largest economy. Whatever else they excel at, Chinese haven’t been able to produce a style of capitalism that is culturally important, globally attractive and spiritually magnetic.
Brand managers who’ve worked in China say their executives tend to see business deals in transactional, not in relationship terms. As you’d expect in a country that has recently emerged from poverty, where competition is fierce, where margins are thin, where corruption is prevalent and trust is low, the executives there are more likely to take a short-term view of their exchanges.
The epicenter of that robotics revolution isn’t Silicon Valley. It’s in greater Boston. There are about 100 robotics companies in the region, more than two dozen research programs, employing 3,200 people with sales from companies approaching $2 billion. Sure, the military is a lucrative sector, but robotics has gone far beyond drones.
So it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. In addition to a number of small personal obligations I’ve had over the past few weeks, I’ve also been spending a lot of time shipping out QR clocks to my customers and handling customer service requests. I’ve been really eager to post a final summary of the whole QR clock experiment, but I had to wait for the experiment to end first.
Now that all of my clocks are happily in the hands of their new owners, I can.
The Founding Fathers were do-it-yourselfers, from Jefferson’s explicit idealization of the self-sufficient yeoman farmer to Franklin’s intrepid experimentation with electricity. Over the centuries, a return to this kind of independent DIY spirit has helped fuel the Industrial Revolution, the radio era of the early 20th century, the hippie movement (the part of it exemplified by the Whole Earth catalog, anyway) and punk rock.
Along the way, America became the greatest industrial nation on Earth, creating airplanes, cars, electronics, computers, and eventually the Internet.