Last week Bootstrapping in America, an interview series celebrating the entrepreneurial spirit, hosted mHUB week, featuring four member physical product startups. Learn more about the companies featured and watch each interview below.
Founded by Crystal Hodges, Luft Studio creates brand integrated art installations. They began renting out a garage in mHUB’s lab in 2017. “The [mHUB] staff is extremely excited about everything we bring into the door […] they’re just so helpful, so we’ve found it very valuable to have that kind of support,” Crystal says. Luft Studio has produced almost fifty installations for local and east-and west-coat based companies. Her advice to entrepreneurs? “Listen to what’s going on and be flexible,” and “always have a goal, but realize the path isn’t going to be linear to get there.”
Watch the full interview below:
Amper CEO and co-founder Akshat Thirani has always been comfortable on the factory floor. “I can remember since forever going to my dad’s factories on weekends and being immersed in that environment,” he explains. Those memories helped him and two undergraduate friends at Northwestern University co-found Amper, a startup that provides manufacturers with simple and easy-to-deploy IoT systems. Since then the team has taken part of HAX Accelerator in Shenzen and Alchemist Accelerator in San Francisco, landing at mHUB in late October. His philosophy with Amper: “You can’t really improve what you can’t measure.”
Growing up Ashley Moy, CEO and co-founder of Cast21, a company that produces waterproof, exoskeleton casts for broken bones, noticed that many of her athlete and musician friends were working themselves to the point of “passion induced pain.” “I knew then that I wanted to help people heal better,” she says. At the University of Illinois, her desire to heal came together with her senior capstone project, in which her group designed a new type of cast. Two accelerators, 250 stakeholder interviews, and endless chemical combinations later, Ashley and her team arrived at mHUB with a great idea for a product. “An artist is only as good as his tools, and mHUB has some pretty amazing tools,” she says.
Lucas Frye, co-founder and CEO of Amber Agriculture, grew up on a grain farm that had been in his family for six generations. Amber Agriculture is an agtech company focused on precision throughout post-harvest processes, beginning with a sensor that monitors and maintains grain quality in storage. Previous technology was “as with most things in farming, a gut-check system” involving farmers climbing to the top of their storage facilities and sniffing the grain for mold or other abnormal scents. Lucas and his co-founder Joey Varikooty took part in HAX Accelerator and Alchemist Accelerator, coincidentally at the same time as Amper, with whom they share an office at mHUB. His biggest takeaway from his experience thus far: “You don’t know what you don’t know.”
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