RESTON, VA — Along with three other Co-Founders, Nova Labs member Erik Moon launched MakerPair.com, a new service seeking to “intelligently pair ideas with design skills, design skills with manufacturing, and manufacturing with a marketplace.” Through the MakerPair.com platform, users will soon be able to request a physical thing or an idea be designed, modeled, manufactured and delivered. Depending on the designer’s intention, designs may be used for free or for a fee. Makers could then 3D Print or Laser Cut designs and ship to the buyer. The site would take a small fee for the transaction, but would not retain any ownership over the designs.
After an initial West Coast launch at this year’s MakerFaire in San Mateo, California, Nova Labs threw an East Coast launch party May 30th to a packed house.
Erik highlighted how Nova Labs was an integral part of the inspiration behind the idea, which was based largely on his experience in the Nova Labs-sponsored 3D Printer build groups.
“It really does take a village, if not of actual people contributing to the business, certainly from a (customer feedback) perspective, testers…to take a product from idea to conception, and actually bring it to market,” he said. He thanked a number of members in attendance for helping him test the product and work out a number of bugs and business rules before the site launched.
The business plan and founders came together as part of a George Washington University Capstone project, however, the group was dead set on starting a real business. Under the name F3 Labs, they built 5 “Prusa (Mendel) Air” 3D Printers, 2 “Delta Rostock” 3D Printers, and a “Lasersaur” Laser Cutter. Erik says they wanted to “knock their professor’s socks off.”
In terms of strategy, Erik explained that the concept for MakerPair developed out of a realization that:
Erik also presented an overview of the competitive analysis that formed the basis for MakerPair’s positioning in the market:
He pointed out that among these services there is no “one stop shop” that put it all together. This left room for platforms like MakerPair to become the Elance-Thingiverse-Ponoko-Etsy-MakeXYZ hybrid for the coming DIY manufacturing revolution.
While currently in Beta and open for makers to begin populating the site with their designs, Erik said that the site will soon be active for buyers.
MakerPair’s marketing efforts are still ramping up, but they have already secured a partnership with inventor Steve Graber to offer Graber’s new Delta 3D Printer, the “Cerberus Pup”, exclusively on MakerPair.com.
MakerPair.com and F3 Labs is internally funded with $100,000 of start-up capital.