Maker Pro Newsletter – 05/01/14

Maker Pro Newsletter – 05/01/14

“Never stop kids dismantling small appliances.”

From the editors of MAKE, the Maker Pro Newsletter is about the impact of makers on business and technology. Our coverage includes hardware startups, new products, incubators, and innovators, along with technology and market trends. Please send items to us at

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Foxconn Courts Startups


From the front page of Kick2real’s website.

This won’t come as a surprise to anyone who followed Foxconn’s recent sponsorship of Maker Faire Shenzhen, but the giant Chinese manufacturer, which makes many Apple products, has just rolled out a beta version of an online platform, Kick2real, that is a welcome mat for smaller startups.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Foxconn intends to use the site to help promising global entrepreneurs create prototypes at no cost. Once an entrepreneur registers and submits a project online, Kick2real’s team of manufacturing specialists will examine the project ideas and allow other registered members to give opinions. Foxconn will then select the projects and help those startups manufacture their product.

Proto Labs Gets into 3D Printing


FineLine Prototyping’s additive 3D printing technologies can use computer-controlled lasers to sinter specialized resins and powders into solid, very tiny, forms.

Proto Labs, best known for injection molding and CNC machining, is adding 3D printing to its offerings. The company just bought FineLine Prototyping in North Carolina, which will give Proto Labs sophisticated additive manufacturing capabilities such as stereolithography, selective laser sintering, and direct metal laser sintering.


Shapeways Goes for Gold


A gold wasp, now possible on Shapeways.

Shapeways has entered the golden age.

The 3D printing service bureau said that its new 14k gold models are created using a combination of 3D printing and traditional lost wax casting.

It’s the same process that Shapeways uses to make all of its metal products, except stainless steel.

Price: expensive. Details: here.

Highway1′s Next Class Open for Applications

Highway1, the San Francisco-based incubator for hardware startups run by hardware services provider PCH, announced today that its Fall 2014 program is now open for applications, which will be accepted until June 20, 2014.


PCH said that this year Highway1 startups will receive $50,000 in seed money, an increase from the previous investment of $20,000. In return for the investment and the program, Highway1 takes an early equity stake in the startups that ranges from 3 to 6 percent.

Highway1 also announced that it is moving from its current location in the Mission District of San Francisco, to Potrero Hill, to accommodate more people, as the incubator is hoping to bring more hardware teams on board.

Highway1’s Fall 2014 program, its third hardware incubator batch to date, will accept up to 15 startups into its 4-month educational program, which includes a two-week trip to China.

“What we’re really looking for are next-generation hardware companies that view their product as ‘software in a box,’” says Brady Forrest (@brady), Highway1 VP.

Facebook Buys into Fitness Trackers


Detail from a Moves screen.

Fitness trackers are about to get more social.

Facebook has acquired a Helsinki-based company that offers a fitness-tracking smartphone app called Moves.

Wired reports that Facebook’s head of mobile has already tipped his hand on what the company’s thinking.

“Wearables really come to life when you use them to connect to other people, not just collect data,” he told attendees at a NY tech event last fall.

Two Maker Pro Adventures: MakieLabs & Circuit Stickers


* The journey of MakieLabs founder and CEO Alice Taylor (@wonderlandblog) is chronicled in a profile in the Line/Shape/Space blog.

Makies, fully customizable dolls designed by customers and then 3D printed to order, are having a banner year. The dolls, made in the U.K., are currently on sale at Selfridges in London, and last year earned a spot on the high-end department store’s Top 10 Toys list.

Note: Catch Alice Taylor speaking at MakerCon on May 14 with Wayne Losey(@kidmechano) of Modio, in a talk titled “Toys and Making: Toymakers Talk!”

* The first shipment of Circuit Stickers left the factory last week, right on time, which inspired co-creator Bunnie Huang (@bunniestudiosto reflect on what it took for him and Jie Qi to successfully navigate the manufacturing process.

Note: You can take Bunnie Huang’s workshop, “Advanced Manufacturing: Partnering to Get it Made” at MakerCon on May 13.


The Circuit Stickers Startup Kit.

Tindie raises funding, completes “hard reset.”

Tindie, the artisanal electronics marketplace, has been remodeling. Founder Emile Petrone (@tindie) reports that he’s pretty happy with it now.

“We’ve passed 10k orders, 2k products, and have shipped to 71 countries,” he reports. The young company has also closed a seed round, raising $1.2m from investors Andreessen Horowitz, Version One Ventures, Founders Coop, and others.

Note: Hear the lessons from over 400 makers that went pro, in Emile Petrone’s May 14 MakerCon session, “Lessons of Over 400 Makers that Went Pro.”


Most popular at Tindie this week.


Venture Beat is offering a look inside a venture capitalist’s “pipeline.”

Some Internet of Things products, like Nest and Fitbit, are tapping into a new revenue stream, Forbes reports: they are selling the data they are collecting.

Here’s an unintended consequence of IoT: economic theorist Jeremy Rifkin (@JeremyRifkin) believes that it could also play a role in the fall of capitalism.

Don’t extrapolate from stories about Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg. Read what it really takes to be an entrepreneur.

Apprenticeships are great training vehicles. Unfortunately, they are in decline. TheWall Street Journal reports that they suffer from “a blue collar image,” and an association with construction and unions. South Carolina and Wisconsin are trying to buck the trend. 

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon and Disney Research have figured out a way to 3D print soft teddy bears.


Maker Pro Tweets of the Week

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Maker Faire Bay Area

The 9th annual Maker Faire Bay Area, our “home game” that started it all, is taking place May 17 and 18 at the San Mateo Fairgrounds.


Hey, Maker Pros — MAKE is hosting its first MakerCon, May 13–14, the week of Maker Faire Bay Area. Connecting makers is essential to continuing the proliferation of new ideas, products, devices and solutions. At their very nature, makers are collaborative and community-minded. The premiere MakerCon brings together the leaders at the forefront of the maker movement. Providing new insights into local and global manufacturing, design, marketing and distribution, even creative culture, MakerCon explores the impact of making on education, business and community. Working on something new? Consider applying for the Innovation Showcase.

Featured speakers include:

  • Massimo Banzi – co-founder, Arduino
  • Peter Hirshberg – CEO The Re:imagine Group
  • Michael McCool – principal engineer, Intel
  • Yancey Strickler – co-founder and CEO, Kickstarter
  • Taylor Dawson – product manger – FirstBuild, General Electric
  • Scott Miller – co-founder and CEO, Dragon Innovation
  • Carl Bass – president and CEO, Autodesk
  • Alice Taylor – CEO, MakieLab
  • Eric Pan – founder and CEO, Seeed Studio
  • Lisa Fetterman – co-founder and CEO, Nomiku
  • Bunnie Huang – founder, Chumby
  • Katherine Hague – co-founder and CEO, ShopLocket
  • Kevin Kelly – founding executive editor of Wired, founder of Cool Tools

Check out for a complete agenda with detailed session descriptions by track. Register today — a few workshop slots still available!

Upcoming Maker Faires

Here’s what’s coming in the next two weeks:

What’s ahead further down the road? Check the Maker Faire Map to find the closest one to you.

Rob|Arch 2014 Conference, May 14-18, 2014 in Ann Arbor, Michigan


This conference will bring together an international cohort of artists, designers, fabricators, and industry leaders for the purposes of advancing the discourse surrounding experimental robotic fabrication in their respective fields.


Discuss this article with the rest of the community on our Discord server!

DC Denison is the co-editor of The Maker Pro Newsletter, which covers the intersection of makers and business. That means hardware startups, new products, and market trends.

DC manages customer stories at Acquia, the digital experience company.

View more articles by DC Denison


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