Posts Tagged "prototype"

Startup Connector: Hardware Is Hard—Don’t Let That Deter You

April 13, 2016
3D Innovations

It’s true, hardware is hard, but the reward you get from launching a successful product makes the journey well worth it. Inventors and entrepreneurs are always looking for ways to create something different that has a real impact on society. Their brains never stop, never rest. They are always evaluating ideas and questioning ‘facts’. You can easily glance around any home or office and see the inventions that pioneers have perfected, and how these products have been integrated into our everyday lives. It is this rush and feel of accomplishment, that fuels the makers and hardware startups of the world.

StartupConnectorlogoThe path to hardware success is often bumpy, full of roadblocks and unexpected turns along the way. Founders of Startup Connector, Collin Kobayashi and Bob Nakata, know all too well the challenges facing hardware startups. “What we’ve seen is that there are a lot of products being developed, and there are different points where the companies get off track—whether it’s not having the right technical expertise, or not having the right experience, or not knowing where to go,” Kobayashi said. “The main gap that we’ve seen is that these companies can get through testing and prototyping, but really get stuck on getting their data package ready for full-scale production. One of the biggest pitfalls hardware startups run into are testing and certification requirements.”

With all of the challenges facing hardware startups, it is good to have knowledgeable and experienced professionals at your fingertips. Why not make the path to hardware startup success a little easier? This was the driving thought behind Startup Connector, a Hawaii-based manufacturing and commercialization accelerator. “Our main objective is to work with hardware development companies, to get them ready for full scale manufacturing. Getting them through the whole product development cycle, beyond prototyping to mass production.”

Advances in technology and manufacturing methods are ushering in a new wave of opportunity for hardware startups. Investors are taking notice of the hardware revolution, and helping propel the movement forward. If you have been mulling over a product idea or searching for the “right time” to focus on product development, now is your time.

Ready to partner with manufacturing and commercialization experts for your next project? Startup Connector is now accepting applications. Apply today! Getting your application in early will let us connect with you and keep you informed of the upcoming start dates.

*All quotes are from the Bytemarks Café interview conducted November 2015.

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3D Innovations is a Product Development Company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.

Startup Connector is a Manufacturing Accelerator helping companies commercialize—turning ideas into products.

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Business Accelerators, Incubators & Co-Working Spaces—Which is Best?

January 29, 2016
3D Innovations

Launching a startup? Scaling your current business? There are tons of resources available to entrepreneurs out there. However, finding the exact resources to fit your precise needs can be slightly more challenging. Business accelerators, incubators and co-working spaces all offer similar services with slight ‘tweaks’, the lines between them get blurry. We have defined each below to help you make an informed decision on what is best for your business.

Accelerators

StartupConnectorlogoTime is of the essence with accelerators. With experts by your side, accelerators aim to launch your startup in a matter of weeks or months, instead of years. Traditionally there is an application process that an entrepreneur is required to complete before being accepted into an accelerator program. However once you are accepted, you are thrown onto the fast track of scaling your business. The product development timeline is drastically reduced, which makes the incubation period very short and intense. Accelerators aim to turn business ideas into prototypes or products that are ready to go to market quickly—mere months. Sponsors provide initial funding and expertise to small groups that can demonstrate a great product idea. In return, the sponsors take a small equity stake in the new business, on average less then 10%.

With business accelerators the emphasis is on rapid growth and a successful product launch. At the end of the period, the entrepreneurs have the opportunity to make a pitch to venture capitalists to obtain further funding. A business accelerator is therefore more suitable for startups that want to reduce time to market, rather than grow gradually.

Incubators

Business incubators provide businesses with office space and shared facilities, such as telecommunications systems and internet connections, in a dedicated building. Entrepreneurs can access advice and guidance from professionals such as accountants, marketing consultants and business advisers who are associated with the incubation center and act as mentors. Entrepreneurs typically stay in an incubation center for three to five years, although there is no minimum or maximum period.

New businesses find that rents are lower in incubation centers—typically 25 to 50 percent less than commercial rents, depending on the region you are in. They benefit from networking opportunities, the mentoring and professional advice available and the contacts with other entrepreneurs that provide a stimulating environment for growth.

Co-Working Space

Technology advances mean that you no longer need to be tethered to a single office to get work done. Co-working spaces offer cheap office space and business facilities for entrepreneurs, but more than that, they provide the opportunity to ‘rub elbows’ with other entrepreneurs and freelancers. The networking opportunities are vast. Similar to accelerators and incubators, there is access to basic shared office facilities and mentors in various fields.  Many of the people in co-working spaces find it inspiring to work around other like-minded entrepreneurs.

Co-working spaces offer flexibility and the least amount of structure out of the three options. These spaces can accommodate a growing team and don’t require a firm lease commitment like traditional office space. Many co-working spaces are funded through memberships, however, there are a few out there that are free (i.e.Gangplank).

Please feel free to send any additional questions you may have to info@3d-innovations.com. We look forward to chatting!

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3D Innovations is a Product Development Company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.

Startup Connector is a Manufacturing Accelerator helping companies commercialize—turning ideas into products.

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Turn Your Idea Into A Startup In 2016

January 6, 2016
3D Innovations

1lightbulbA new year, means a new beginning. January is the time to recharge, set goals and leap into the year ahead with renewed determination. If in 2015 you had a ‘light bulb’ moment for a fantastic new product, but weren’t exactly ready to tackle it, make 2016 your year for action. All great startups begin with a single idea, but it has to be put into practice.

Below are a few important steps to take as you begin your startup journey…

  1. Do your market research. Conducting thorough market research is the first step to determine if you do, in fact, really have an idea worth pursuing. First, you need to make sure that a product similar to your idea isn’t already out there. After it has been determined that your idea is still viable, your research then focuses on test groups. What need does your product fulfill? How many people have the issue you are solving? Survey these potential “customers” to gain further insight and hone in on your product idea.
  2. Secure intellectual property. This is a big step that has a tendency to be overlooked at the onset. Patents, copyrights and trademarks are all ways to secure your rights to an idea/invention.  It is vital to the success of your product and startup that you secure your IP before taking a product to market. Navigating IP on the path to commercialization can be a challenge, and we highly recommend that you consult with a licensed patent attorney to review your IP options and decide what will be the most beneficial for your specific invention.
  3. Build a functional prototype. Having a prototype lets you test the idea, work out any design challenges and research manufacturing partners. Building a prototype will help you validate your product early-on and gain credibility. Completing all of this before seeking fundingif that is your intended goalbrings a new level of credibility to you and your startup. (Not to mention, this preparation also shortens your entire product development timeline.)
  4. Write a business plan. Getting your idea down in writing helps solidify it for yourself and any potential co-founder you invite on board. A business plan will help you focus on a strategy, set clear business objectives, prioritize, track milestones, manage cash flows and secure funding. Many investors want to see a solid business plan before they consider backing a startup.
  5. Apply for an accelerator program. An accelerator program connects you with additional business resources and professional expertise. Consider applying for an accelerator program if you want to scale your startup quickly and get connected with both mentors and investors.

This list is does not cover every single aspect of turning an idea into a startup, but it will certainly get you going in the right direction. As Ron Conway, noted Startup Investor, once said, “Any time is a good time to start a company.”

Interested in an accelerator program? Our Startup Connector manufacturing and commercialization program is now accepting applications. Apply today: www.startup-connector.com

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3D Innovations is a Product Development Company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.

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Prototyping: Bringing Ideas Into Existence

November 19, 2015
3D Innovations

The startup community is flowing with fantastic ideas, but if you want investors to take your pitch serious then you need a prototype. Investors have figured out that asking for a functional prototype is one way to separate the ‘wannabe’ entrepreneurs from serious players. As the old adage goes, “talk is cheap”. Entrepreneurs who are prepared to show a prototype to investors, whether angel investors or a crowdfunding community, demonstrate that they know how to execute.

3D Printing Services | Rapid Prototyping Services | 3D-innovationsHaving a prototype shows that you have already tested the idea, worked out the design challenges and researched manufacturing partners. Completing all of this before seeking funding brings a new level of credibility to you and your startup.

If you find yourself sitting on the fence as to whether or not you should go ahead and develop that prototype, here are a few points to consider…

  • Show your commitment. Demonstrating that you are willing to move this product past the idea phase lets investors know that you are serious and should be taken seriously. The process of designing, building and validating a prototype does take time, but it also greatly reduces risks and challenges later on.
  • Test your idea in the real world. When your idea is brought to life, you are able to validate the idea and garner consumer feedback. Let potential customers get their hands on the prototype to test its functionality and decide whether it does in fact fit their needs. When you talk about your idea, each person imagines it in their own manner, but a functional prototype is a concrete way of bringing your idea into existence.
  • Implement design feedback without dire consequences. Make pre-production design changes without losing inventory. Nothing is worse than having inventory that you cannot sell. Investors and consumers will have design modification ideas, and testing them out with prototypes is much more cost effective.
  • Reduce costs and time-to-market. Time is money. Validating your design before it heads to manufacturing lets you get the product out of the door while staying on schedule. A three-dimensional prototype will also allow you to effectively negotiate contracts with manufacturers.

The benefits and advantages of a physical prototype should not be underestimated. Building a prototype will help you validate your product early-on and gain credibility.

 Do you have additional questions about the prototyping process? Please feel free to contact us at info@3d-innovations.com

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3D Innovations is a Product Development Company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.

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Product of the Week: Sa (The Umbrella Reimagined)

October 24, 2014
3d-innovations.com

Fall is in full swing and winter is just around the corner. Many of us will be pulling out our umbrellas to fend of the rain and snow in the upcoming months. We have all struggled with frustrating umbrella issues and know that they can be a pain at times due to the complex wire frame and material that easily rips. The Sa is reimaging the traditional umbrella and aiming to make umbrella complications a thing of the past.

saSa “does away with the traditional skeleton and mesh umbrella structure, for a much more modern and efficient design. Beyond it’s completely new canopy design, the Sa also innovates with its environmentally conscious material choices, has a completely innovative internalized handle mechanism and magnetic closure system.” The traditional umbrella design has been past due for an updated design and it seems as though these two product designers have done just that and in a very innovative manner.

“Like origami, The Sa uses planar tension to generate its form. The inner and outer canopies expand and contract in unison to open and close the umbrella. This new design allows the umbrella to be lighter, since it does not need the added weight of an inner metal skeleton. Also, since there are no exposed, moving components, the umbrella is stronger and will last longer. Furthermore, since the material is flexible when not in tension, it can easily bounce back into shape, even when exposed to high winds.”

Learn more about the Sa on Kickstarter! You can also follow the parent company Nooka on Facebook and Twitter.

*If you would like to submit a product to be considered for our ‘Product of the Week’ post please e-mail us at info@3d-innovations.com with an image and/or website link and a product description. Thank you!

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3D Innovations is a full service 3D Engineering/Design company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.

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Protect Your Invention

October 15, 2014
3d-innovations.com

Patenting your product is an important step towards success but not necessarily one of your first orders of business. “Only 2 to 3 percent of all patented products ever make it to market,” which means you are going to want to make sure your idea is a sound invention or viable business before the patent process begins.

Patents, Defined
What exactly is a patent? “A patent is a right granted by a government to an inventor. It gives the inventor the exclusive right, for a limited period, to stop others from making, using or selling the inventor’s product without the permission of the inventor. When a patent is granted, the invention becomes the property of the inventor. A patent–like any other form of property or business asset–can be bought, sold and licensed.”

In the Entrepreneur article, To Patent or Not to Patent, there is a helpful list of factors to consider before you delve into the patent application process:

  • Patent research. Make sure your idea isn’t infringing on someone else’s patent. To do that, you should conduct a “preliminary patent search.” This step will help ensure that your idea hasn’t already been patented. You can either hire an expert to help you or perform this step yourself.
  • Prototype. You should develop a basic prototype to determine your product’s functionality. This ensures you have a close-to-final design when you do file for a patent. (Changing materials or mechanics is difficult once your patent’s been filed.)
  • Market research. Define your market and determine how large it is. If it’s too small, your product may not be commercially viable.
  • Cost to manufacture. Determine how much it will cost to manufacture your product. If it costs more to make than the market is willing to pay, your invention is just a money pit.

Once you’ve determined there are no roadblocks to commercial success, it’s time to consider whether or not you need a patent. Just as many inventors patent their ideas and never take them to market, thousands of products in the market today aren’t patented–or even patentable–at all. In addition, your attorney may recommend filing for a copyright or trademark instead–an easier and less expensive process–if it makes legal sense.

Learn more about patents and the patent process in To Patent or Not to Patent.

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3D Innovations is a full service 3D Engineering/Design company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.

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Which comes first…Prototyping or Crowdfunding?

April 17, 2014
3d-innovations.com

Many entrepreneurs out there have great ideas but get stuck on their first big leap into action and ask themselves…Should I prototype my idea or start crowdfunding first? Should you get started on a crowdfunding site with a great idea sketched onto a piece of paper or develop a functioning prototype to clearly communicate your idea. In short, the answer is that prototyping comes first. Having a prototype of your product idea maximizes your chances of receiving funding.

1. A prototype shows investors that you are serious. When you take the time to have a functioning prototype built you are showing any potential investor that you are committed to making this product a success. A prototype also gives you a chance to refine your idea and make sure that it is a viable product that can be built (and easily manufactured at a later date). As you will see on any crowdfunding website, a product video is key. Having an aesthetically pleasing prototype to show off in this video will help your marketing efforts and allow you to clearly explain and demonstrate your product.

2. First impressions are invaluable. Having a prototype not only provides investors with an idea about your product but it also gives them insight into you and your business. Investors want to see that you have thought this through, you are prepared and ready to execute. The quality, functionality and overall aesthetics of your prototype will allow investors to gauge your commitment and ability to handle future challenges.

3. Crowdfunding your way to success. While a prototype will help you raise capital for your product, it will also help you delve into product development and manufacturing in a more streamlined manner than if you were just starting from a paper sketch of your idea. A prototype provides a clear vision of your product and it will help you clearly communicate design and functionality aspects with your engineering and manufacturing partners.

Please feel free to contact us with any prototyping or product development questions you may have at info@3d-innovations.com

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3D Innovations is a full service 3D Engineering/Design company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.

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We will be at the Honolulu Mini Maker Faire this Saturday

March 13, 2014
3d-innovations.com

We are excited to share that 3D Innovations will be at the Honolulu Mini Maker Faire on Saturday, March 15th (Noon-5PM) at ‘Iolani School!

Our President and Chief 3D Officer, Collin Kobayashi, will be talking specifically about the process of developing ideas from a concept to an actual product. If you find yourself with product development questions this is a good time to get them answered!

We are looking forward to this event and hope to see you there!

Learn more about the Honolulu Mini Maker Faire and Register today!

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UPDATE: We had a great time at the Maker Faire and wanted to share some pictures we took with you…Enjoy!

Created with Cycloramic by Egos Ventures IMG_1597 IMG_1598

 

 

 

 

 

 

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