The Greentown Springfield Manufacturing Office, in collaboration with Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council (MTLC), MassRobotics, and Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MassMEP), held a “Manufacturing Rocket Pitch for Solutions” on March 2, 2017 at the Springfield Technology Park. With more than 30 people in attendance, four hardware startups had the opportunity to pitch their physical prototypes to a panel of Western Massachusetts manufacturing and design experts.
The goal of the event was to help hardware startups connect with local manufacturers and design professionals both on the panel and in the audience to help them gain expert advice on growing their products here in western mass.
Peter Russo from MassMEP, moderated our expert panel which was made up of:
- Kristin Carlson – President, Peerless Precision, Inc.
- Steve Graham – President, Toner/S&E/Modern Mold Plastics
- Chris Denney – CTO, Worthington Assembly
- Mike Stone – Principal and Design Engineer, CoFab
Each panelist began the event by sharing best practices and advice to the startups about business, manufacturing, and design. They all stressed the importance of advisors and mentors as well as visiting potential suppliers early in their design process so they can help with product design. Kristin Carlson, President of Peerless Precision, Inc., emphasized how crucial it is to “make your company your own.” She went on to explain that once you let others decide what your company “should” be, you can lose the passion and drive needed to be successful. “Let your vision guide you,” Carlson noted.
Each of the startups were given four minutes to briefly summarize their company, explain their manufacturing challenge, and summarize what they hoped the panel could offer to make the greatest impact on their companies. This was followed by a panel discussion and recommendations for each company. Some experts in the audience also chimed in with bits of advice ranging from available innovation center resources to alternative design options.
The event wrapped up with a networking session which Carmina Santamaria of Kwema said, “was amazing for me. One of the best events I have ever participated in. I am leaving here with a whole new mindset and direction for my business. I am so grateful to the panelists for their feedback tonight.”
Rocket pitches were presented by these startups:
- Electrona Robotics has developed an underwater drone for commercial, recreational, and educational use. Applications include HD video, sensors, and object recovery under 200 feet of water.
- Kwema is personal safety jewelry. Hidden inside a fashionable bracelet is a panic button that notifies friends and family, security services (Campus Police/Third Party Security, etc.) and a community of users closest to your location.
- QuikCord Inc., a veteran-owned and operated company, QuikCord is developing a patent-pending hand-held military utility device, designed to carry, cut, and deploy military rope during tactical situations.
- Nonspec is developing a low-cost and durable adjustable prosthetic limb for developing nations.
The limbs are affordable, adjustable, ISO compliant, and come in a kit that can fit amputees around the world with simple adjustments. The prosthetic device’s novel design significantly reduces manufacturing cost, enabling mass production. The ability for the device to grow increases its usable life from 6-8 months to up to 4 years in pediatric cases, further decreasing the cost burden on families.
The Greentown Springfield Manufacturing Initiative, located at the Scibelli Enterprise Center in Springfield MA, connects Pioneer Valley and Boston area startups with neighboring Western Mass manufacturers. The Springfield Office offers surveys for both startups and manufacturers; office hours with manufacturing experts; educational workshops and lunch and learns; and direct introductions and connections between Pioneer Valley and Boston area startups and western Mass manufacturers.
For more information about the Greentown Springfield Manufacturing Initiative, please visit www.greentownlabs.com or call Adam Rodrigues, Greentown Manufacturing Fellow, at 413-262-7107, or email him here.