Hardware Entrepreneur Fairy Tales : Myths, Realities, and Opportunities!

Business of Making

Tuesday, May 12, 9:30 am to 11:30 am in Crescent Room

Popular media loves to sell stories about an amazing hardware idea, its widely successful KickStarter campaign, and the line of VCs waiting to fund you. But what if your idea is amazing but maybe not a $250M market opportunity? Join a highly interactive discussion with entrepreneurs like you who have great startups (ideas) to better understand what the real journey and options are for your hardware idea, whether little, big, or just right.

Please note: Space is limited to 40 people for this extended workshop. You must register in advance for the workshop in addition to registering for MakerCon.


Alice Brooks

Co-founder, Roominate
While getting her masters in engineering at Stanford, Brooks started Roominate, which makes building toys for girls, with parts that can be wired together to make windmills, merry-go-rounds and elevators. The company hopes to inspire women to go into engineering and science. Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner invested $500,000 to share a 5% stake in the business when it appeared on Shark Tank. It’s already in stores like Toys“R”Us, RadioShack and Walmart.


Avidan Ross

Founder, Lion Wells Ventures
Avidan is the Founding Partner of Lion Wells Ventures, where he focuses his investments on connected devices, engineering tools, and data science. He is a maker / hardware hacker turned investor. Before founding Lion Wells, he hosted a Food Network show (which never aired!) called Weapons of Mass Consumption in which he and his team built the ultimate food robots, most notably an arduino-controlled afterburner powered pizza oven. Avidan spent eight years as CTO of CIM Group, a $15 billion investment firm. There he focused on infrastructure investing in vehicle telematics, smart grid, and alternative energy. Avidan has a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Columbia University.


Danielle Applestone

CEO, Other Machine Co.
Danielle’s background blends science, technology, and entrepreneurship. Danielle cofounded her first company in 2003 after earning a BS in Chemical Engineering from MIT. She holds a PhD in Materials Science from UT Austin.


Zach Kaplan

CEO, Inventables
Zach Kaplan is the founder and CEO of Inventables, the leader in 3D carving. A maker his whole life, he is on a mission to ignite digital manufacturing world wide and provide everyone with ambition a way to get started. Inventables flagship products Easel, Carvey, and X-Carve are used by a new wave of makers carving everything from circuit boards to skate boards. Named a “modern Leonardo” by the Museum of Science and Industry and a 40 under 40 by Crain’s Chicago Business, his dream is create a world with 2 million digital manufacturers that have raving fans, not just customers.