In the tech industry today, one of the highest growth areas is shared office spaces, also known as coworking spaces – according to the 2017 Global Coworking Survey, nearly 1.2 million people around the world will have worked in a coworking space by the end of the year. Today, the San Francisco startup behind the industrial-grade Series 1 3D printer, Type A Machines, along with Circuit Launch, which builds communities of both established and startup hardware companies so that members can access experience when they need it, announced the official grand opening of the new 30,000-square-foot Circuit Launch facility in Oakland. The coworking space is dedicated to hardware startups, and will also serve as the new headquarters of Type A Machines.
“We’re thrilled to align with, and move our headquarters to Circuit Launch. Birthing a hardware startup is a difficult, resource-intensive endeavor that benefits greatly from shared resources and knowledge. Having access to hardware development tools, testing equipment, and a community of like-minded, hardware-centric entrepreneurs provides the critical elements for success,” said Andrew Rutter, Type A Machines founder and CEO. “We look forward to being a part of the community and sharing our experiences, relationships, as well as our 3D printing and production know-how and capabilities with entrepreneurs looking to get their vision off the ground.”
These types of startups usually require additional resources and hardware-specific capabilities, like fabrication tools, strategic industry partnerships, and electronics labs, that are not available in most coworking spaces.
“Bay Area startups frequently rely on coworking spaces, such as incubators, accelerators, and shared offices, to develop their products and business models,” explained Erik Katz, the founder of Circuit Launch. “Unfortunately, these spaces don’t scale economically and have difficulty serving startups which produce tangible products. Electronic hardware startups need spaces that support their businesses from concept through early production runs. Most though find themselves outstripping simple office set-ups, yet unprepared to acquire their own manufacturing equipment or ability to outsource expensive limited production runs – that’s where Circuit Launch comes in.”
In a brand new approach, Circuit Launch offers these capabilities so electronic hardware startups can come together in a coworking space that’s specifically designed to help entrepreneurs learn and grow together. The facility has office, lab, and meeting spaces available so that companies will be able to create, test, and iterate products in the same place.
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said, “I’m excited to have Type A Machines and Circuit Launch bring their exciting products, expertise, and facilities to our amazing city. Oakland fosters creativity and innovation. We welcome Type A Machines to our great city and look forward to welcoming the new companies and jobs created at Circuit Launch.”
The community approach of Circuit Launch, which benefits from strategic partnerships with several local manufacturing firms, sets up links between hardware startups and established companies, so members are able to get help and experience when they need it from suppliers, manufacturers, engineers, and hardware-friendly investors.
“Hardware is hard. Large manufacturing companies, or companies built from scratch understand the complexities of prototyping, supply chain management, and production scaling. Smaller hardware startups, all over Silicon Valley, are independently attempting to solve all the same challenges,” said Katz. “By joining Circuit Launch, entrepreneurs benefit from a community of hard earned wisdom to develop their product – with our tools, facilities and partnerships.”
At today’s official ribbon cutting ceremony for the facility, Type A Machines and Circuit Launch also announced a new service relationship with product development company BriteLab, which specializes in complex, connected, and collaborative mechatronic and robotic products. The partnership will allow for scalable microfabrication based on Type A Machines’ Print Pod digital fabrication platform, a centrally managed parallel-production solution.
Rutter explained, “The Print Pod is a revolutionary product changing the way we design, prototype and productize hardware products. By connecting Circuit Launch and BriteLab, we effectively bridge the gap between an idea and full production – leveraging the same tools, and technologies the entire way through the process.”
BriteLab, which has teamed up with Type A Machines before, offers OEMs in the biomedical, robotic, semiconductor, alternative energy, and consumer electronics space mass customization and factory automation solutions. Its new relationship with Circuit Launch and Type A Machines will allow both hardware startups and established brands to easily scale 3D printed products in terms of complexity and capacity.
“Working with Type A Machines and Print Pod, we have created a new product development and production paradigm through 3D Manufacturing which allows us to extend our previous OEM experience and automation expertise to customers earlier in their life-cycle. We’re looking forward to a long OEM partnership with Type A Machines and supporting the creative ideas that spring from Circuit Launch,” said Robert de Neve, CEO of BriteLab.
BriteLab has adopted Print Pod as part of its OEM relationship with Type A Machines, and will be offering customers that make use of its scalable, US-based facilities high-volume manufacturing and Design for Manufacturing (DFM) services. This way, parts production in the tens of thousands will be completed far more quickly than it would at a facility offshore – the final product will actually be developed and 3D printed closer to the end users. Not only will this reduce shipping time and costs, but it will also cut down the potential IP issues that go along with offshore manufacturing.
Katz said, “We are excited to bring BriteLab’s experience and capabilities in manufacturing and scaling hardware into the Circuit Launch ecosystem, further extending and expediting the entrepreneur’s ability to go from concept to full production in an ever shortening amount of time. We are also delighted to have on-premise, mico-manufacturing capability with Type A’s revolutionary Print Pod, making the rapid ideation and testing commonplace in software startups now possible for hardware.”
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