Beyond the Pitch
Columbus Idea Foundry Designs and Produces 2014 Startup Award Using 3D Printing
Unique Community of “Makers” Incubating Art, Creativity, Revenue, and Profits
The Columbus Idea Foundry (CIF) is all about innovation and making things—physical things that people can touch, hold, feel, and use.
Although the emphasis is on creating with technology, don’t look for virtual cars for an Xbox 360 game, digitally constructed rooms, or non-human avatars to come out of this 65,000 square foot “makerspace.”
Instead, expect electronics, toys, jewelry, motorcylces, ray guns, and drones, just to name a few. Also expect welding, forging, metal casting, and 3D printing. And classes and courseware that teach even the novice how to use tools and processes.
Also expect a pure spirit of can-do and entrepreneurship.
“VentureNEXT is all about the spirit of entrepreneurship and invention bubbling across Central Ohio. There’s no better example than the products that are being prototyped and built at the Columbus Idea Foundry,” said Alicia Oddi, TechColumbus director of marketing and communications.
“Idea Foundry members collaborated with TechColumbus to produce an amazing original trophy to commemorate the best of the best of our region’s entrepreneurs—and the really cool thing is the award was produced using 3D printing,” Oddi said.
CIF: For-profit social entrepreneurship and the perfect place to prototype
“We are trying to help entrepreneurs start technology-based creative companies. To do that, we think we should be entrepreneurs ourselves. That’s why we follow a revenue based, for-profit model, said Alex Bandar, CIF founder and CEO.
“Innovation is the basis for all that we do,” Bandar said. “We have everything from 3D printing to blacksmithing.”
At 200 members and growing, the Idea Foundry houses creative people who range from fine artists to inventors and lots of folks in between.
CIF: A community workshop, learning center, business incubator, and creative space
Complementing the warehouse-like workspace, CIF provides hundreds of different tools, virtually anything imaginable.
“Once people know how to use our tools and become members (for a modest $35 per month), they can use our entire 65,000 square-foot workshop as if it was their own,” Bandar said.
He’s seen members make everything from an electric motorcycle to wooden toys. Little Alouette, a maker of wooden teething toys, is selling their organic toys through Etsy.com in the US and also internationally in Europe, New Zealand, and other countries, including South Korea and Japan.
“We also have a retired technology executive who is working on unmanned aerial vehicles for detecting leaking gas pipelines. Other members are creating fine arts,” Bandar said.
When manufacturing continues to go overseas, the United States economy loses more than jobs and the economic benefits that plants and factories bring to a region. Bandar said that we also forfeit the problem solving know-how that develops when people are trying to build things.
“When we aren’t building things and realizing those problems,” Bandar said, “we lose our ability to innovate. We’ve seen innovation happen in garages and universities. With the Maker Movement we’re bringing the tools and training so that anyone who has an idea can design it, build it, tweak it, and tune it. We are essentially crowd sourcing product design.”
“We are delighted to be participating as a sponsor of VentureNEXT,” Bandar said. “One of the best things about this event is its inclusiveness. VentureNEXT is reaching out to entrepreneurs of every stripe, from local food trucks and bakeries, to our makers at CIF, to STEM students, and then to all regional entrepreneurs who are starting up advanced technology companies.”
to enjoy this fun and casual evening with amazingly creative and upbeat local entrepreneurs who are creating all types of remarkable products and companies right here in Central Ohio.
These are people you want to meet and get to know.
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