Thank You, From Next Top Makers


Welcome, summer, and thank you for another fantastic season of NYCEDC’s New York’s Next Top Makers. With the launch of Futureworks NYC just a few months away, we wanted to recap some highlights from the past year.

The 2015-16 Fellow cohort in our Studio Incubation Program included blink blink, Thimble,Wear.Works, StrongArm Technologies, Bon Bouton, and Dog Parker. Since we started working with the startups in September, they’ve raised more than $1.6m in funding and estimate they’ll reinvest $1.3m right back into the city’s economy.

Along with incubating the Fellows, Next Top Makers collaborated with dozens of partners to lead free product-startup workshops. You can find all the details and resources from those workshops here. You can also meet entrepreneurs who attended here. Next Top Makers showcased Fellows and the wider NYC hardware community through local pop ups and showcases at Maker Faire and SXSW. Check out pictures from our pop up at littleBits and our closing showcase at Brooklyn Army Terminal Annex.

Plus, join Futureworks on Instagram and Twitter as we explore next-generation hardware companies, fabrication spaces and collaboratories. Recently, we’ve been over to the Met MediaLab exploring VR, celebrated New Lab’s ribbon cutting, seen littleBits team up with Microsoft, signed up for Spencer Wright’s weekly newsletter and supported Natasha Dzurny’s Kickstarter campaign. So much more to come.

Speaking of support: Thank you, thank you, thank you to our sponsors, Nike and Microsoft, for providing resources and brainpower to help develop New York’s 21st century manufacturing ecosystem. Thank you to Make:, SXSW, The Makers Nation, NASA Space Apps Challenge and littleBits for providing space for Fellows and the Next Top Makers community to showcase. Thank you to Impact Hub NYC and NYDesigns for hosting workshops, lunches, work days and a lineup of startups. Thank you to The Bronx Beer Hall for a bounty of local brews, food and good cheer. Thank you to PCB:NG, Kickstarter, Brooklyn Law Incubator & Policy Clinic, Cooley LLP, Myers Wolin, Shapeways, Technically, Indiegogo, Bolt VC, Brand Foundry Ventures, Skillbridge, NY Hardware Startup, Poursteady, Insensi, Brooklyn Public Library, Botfactory, Jim Allen, Octopart, Upwind Strategies, Adafruit, Khwezi Magwaza, Condensed, frog, Electric Wonder, Sacha Thompson, Rocketure, and Martenero for countless hours of invaluable support.


next-top-makers-dogparkerDog Parker
The media featured Dog Parker’s pay-by-the-minute dog houses 30+ times, including coverage by Wall Street Journal, Good Day New York and Bustle. Dog Parker took first place in the Frontier Tech Startup Showdown, second in Bklyn Library’s PowerUp! Business Planning Competition and third at the National Hardware Cup (just behind 2014-2015 Fellow Botfactory). They’ve secured investment from a roster of angels and early-stage VCs and joined Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator. Dog Parker already launched a Brooklyn pilot by teaming up with neighborhood restaurants, cafes and grocery stores. And, most importantly for local manufacturing, they contracted Queens’ Boyce Technologies to produce the first 100 houses.

Thimble’s smart toys sparked conversation in Engadget, PSFK and The Creators Project. The team raised $300,000 on Kickstarter from 1,776 backers, showing the consumer desire for DIY toys paired with online tutorials. Thimble used these funds to hire four engineers in June and are delivering to backers in August.

blink blink
blink blink’s electronic kits made their way into Time, Fortune and MSN. blink blink attracted fans for dozens of workshops across NYC and were invited to present at the NASA International Space Apps Challenge in Pasadena. They shipped kits to cities across the world and filled orders for the nonprofit STEM organization Black Girls Who Code and Manhattan’s favorite toy store, Kidding Around.


StrongArm’s equipment for industrial athletes is featured in CNN Money, CNBC’s Nightly Business Report, Crain’s New York and Technically Brooklyn. StrongArm moved from Harlem’s Zahn Center to New Lab at the Brooklyn Navy Yard after orchestrating a strategic partnership with 3M. This year, the team shipped more than 2,000 products, won the prestigious A’Design Award and is trialing ergoskeletons with American Airlines, FedEx and Barclays Center.

Wear.Works evolved its Beyond Sight haptic sensor from an idea to a functional MVP. They’re working to create a platform that uses vibrations to safely guide the visually impaired (7.5 million people in the US alone) through cities and new neighborhoods. Wear.Works is capturing interest from the National Federation for the Blind as well as USSOCOM and eyeing up a handful of accelerators.

Bon Bouton
Bon Bouton’s smart clothing sensor can measure everything from breathing rate to body temperature to stress levels. They were recently accepted to the Monozukuri bootcamp in Kyoto to further their prototype and submitted for a $225,000 federal grant to develop smart shoes for diabetic patients with two NYC hospitals. If you’re interested in helping develop their latest app, take this short survey!

Some of our favorite recend advanced manufacturing and smart-tech invitations:

Pensa is leading Pancakes with Pensa, a series of breakfast sessions
The Crated is building a textiles-innovation community
Met MediaLab hosts collaboratory Fridays
The Prepared delivers manufacturing and infrastructure news every week

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