This summer we sent two MakerGear printers on an entrepreneurial adventure of a lifetime! They boarded the StartupBus that departed out of Akron on July 31st with teams made up of entrepreneurs, engineers, and designers from Northeast Ohio and San Francisco bound for the 2017 National StartupBus Competition in New Orleans.
Wired calls StartupBus a "Petal-to-the-Metal business incubator", and that is literally the case as for 72 hours as teams barrel down the highway developing their business ideas from concept to pitch.
The unique thing about the Maker StartupBus is that teams prototyped designs on MakerGear printers while rolling down the highway at 60mph on their way to the national competition in NOLA.
One startup formed on the bus is called SeeSearcher. They designed a watertight Search Response Unit (SRU) for underwater rescue operations. They prototyped their watertight cap on one of the MakerGears and made a compelling pitch in the semi-finals up against teams from NYC, St. Louis, Tampa, Mexico City, and New Orleans. They're already in conversation with clients about how to bring their product to life to save lives.
Another team, from the Tampa StartupBus did some late night hotel lobby prototype printing before their pitch began. They call themselves DropIn Pedal and they've come up with a way to instantly transform a high-performance bike from clip-in pedals to platform pedals in one click!
Within 72 hours, they designed, prototyped, built a website, and developed a pitch for their product.
And the great news is, out of a field of more than twenty teams, DropIn Pedals came away with 2nd Place in the national competition!
We're dazzled by the amount of creativity, perseverance, and get-it-done spirit we saw from these teams and we look forward to seeing some of these startups take off!