Generator is all about combining art, technology, and entrepreneurship, and no program does that better than our Jump/Start program.
The small product-based business incubator program, facilitated in partnership with LaunchVT, welcomed eight maker-entrepreneurs into the 2019 cohort.
These folks are spending nine weeks at Generator building foundations for their businesses, accessing our workshops and resident tool experts to iterate on their existing prototypes, receiving mentoring from local business leaders, and preparing to launch their small businesses!
We’re thrilled to introduce you to the cohort and their products:
1. Todd Taylor and Marble Mundo
“Marble Mundo reimagines the way we play and learn, one fold at a time, through marble run building kits for kids made from cardboard,” Todd writes. Marble Mundo is a toy for children that folds and assembles into interlocking blocks and ramps. Those pieces then connect to form marble runs in an open-ended system of play.
Todd is a Generator member and has been prototyping Marble Mundo for the past year by collecting pizza boxes and cutting them on the Epilog laser cutter. Todd received $5,000 worth of in-kind prototyping services when he won Generator’s 2017 Pitch It, Fab It contest hosted by Generator and UVM IMF. Todd is excited to continue his work on prototyping while focusing more on marketing, distribution, and his business model with the Jump/Start cohort and mentors.
2. Adriana Saipe and Ink with Intent
Adriana is a freelance illustrator who creates customized Jewish wedding contracts (ketubahs) and secular wedding certificates. She’s run her own business (inkwithintent.com) for the past five years and recently joined Generator to start incorporating ornate paper cut elements into the ketubahs
Or participating in Jump/Start, Adriana writes, “The thing that appeals most to me about the Jump/Start program is the mentorship component. I would absolutely love to have an outsider’s perspective on what’s working and what’s not in my business and where I might go from here. And I’d love to get my hands on the curriculum! Given that I’ve trial-and-errored my way through the first stages of my business, it would be wonderful to take a step back and learn some of the basics that I may have skipped at the beginning.”
3. Fat Bird Studios and Querent
Fat Bird Studios is a design and game studio consisting of Amila, Kayla, and Mish. Their game, Querent, is a tabletop roleplaying game that uses tarot cards to create a narrative-driven and personal experience.
“We have two products, the first being our guidebook The Cartomancer’s Tome. This is a 250+ page guidebook that will house the rules of our game as well as charts to help players decipher the meanings of tarot cards in relation to certain game-related spreads. Our second product is our custom 78-card tarot deck. Each card will be illustrated by our artist Amila to capture the essence of Querent and the meanings of traditional tarot cards.”
Fat Bird Studios ran a Kickstarter campaign that was funded 820% of their original goal. Now they’re focused on developing on online store to take pre-orders and to conduct on-going business. They’re excited to participate in Jump/Start and receive coaching around finances and business growth.
4. Mat Gilbert and Robot Draws You
“Robot Draws You provides a fun interactive ‘photo booth’ experience where people can watch a plotter machine draw their pictures. It can also be used to create pen drawings of existing photos that were shot by more professional photographers.”
Mat’s focus during Jump/Start is developing a business plan that combines his different opportunities to generate revenue, including corporate events, personal sessions, and retail sales of the actual “booth.”
Tessa has 10 years of glass blowing experience — and it shows. Her small and detailed glass jewelry is stunning and she’s sold it through her Etsy shop for the past seven years.
Her focus in Jump/Start will be expanding production and distribution of one of her most popular items: a handblown glass honey bee pendant, the sales of which support honey bee conservation. She’s focused on using Jump/Start to plan for growth, including outsourcing some of her production and increasing the number of galleries and retail outlets carrying her bee necklaces.
Kristian creates illuminated lanterns of whales and other creatures which aim to enhance connection between humans and other species and the environmental issues we face.
Kristian has been making art for years and his beautiful lamps have recently struck a chord with locals. “The whale lanterns were very successful beyond what I was expecting at Art Hop, both in the response from the community, from press, and with sales, but in the months since then, I’ve been bogged down with organizational issues – accounting and taxes, having a clear business plan, developing a cohesive online presence and market,” Kristan wrote.
Kristian is excited to keep up the positive momentum of his art business while getting a solid foundation in place through Jump/Start, which includes deciding on a legal business structure, setting up accounting systems, and figuring out which sales channels to prioritize.
7. Ezra Ranz-Schleifer and Bloom
“Bloom is a beautifully futuristic take on artificial flowers featuring a modern design aesthetic and delightful interactivity possibilities,” Ezra writes. “I want to participate in JUMP/START because Bloom is a unique product that could infuse new ideas into the floral landscape- both aesthetically and from the business side where the model is based on reuse. I feel the focus of JUMP/START is perfect for the current stage of Bloom. Access to Generator would give me the necessary to tools to continue to refine the product and working with the guidance of mentors to hone a suitable business model and marketing strategy.”
Ezra is looking forward to more prototyping, as well as figuring out how and when to integrate more elements into his artificial flowers, including scent and lighting.
“MAG Bindings simplify the process of strapping into a snowboard. My proprietary design replaces the ratchets of a standard binding. This means that the “feel” of traditional straps is maintained but strapping in becomes faster and easier, ” Jaen writes.
Last year, Jaen participated in the Catamount Innovation Fund Accelerator where he received valuable training in marketing, brand identity, pitching, and other business skills. He excited to continue this work and use Jump/Start to prepare for all aspects of taking his binding to market.