During World Forum 2015, we had the opportunity to meet up with Mark Hatch, co-founder and CEO of Techshop. A leader in the American maker movement, he shared his passion and the history of his company that is revolutionizing everyday life.
Hello, Mark, and thank you for taking the time to speak with us. We’ve been wondering, how did you come up with the idea for Techshop?
The concept originated in Silicon Valley in 2006. Jim Newton, an entrepreneur and tinkerer during his time off, dreamed of a workshop with laser cutters, 3D printers, lathes and digital tools so that everyone could work on their own projects. The idea was, in the same spirit as a local club or gym, to make the space accessible by membership, offering courses, with extended hours, seven days a week.
Techshop’s overall goal seems, then, to be to offer the innovative tools of tomorrow and make them available to everyone.
Techshop has been the birth place for several impressive projects.
Could you tell us about some of them?
Lives can be changed by spending time in a Techshop. One day, you have a prototype and the next day, you’re an entrepreneur.
This is what happened to Anton Willis. Inspired by origami, he created Oru Kayak, the first foldable kayak, at the San Francisco Techshop. After a crowdfunding campain, thousands of the units were sold. The well-known DODOCase iPad cover was also created in a Techshop, in 2010. Jack Dorsey, one of Twitter’s founders, came up with the idea in a Techshop for Square, the mobile credit card payment system.
In total, US-based Techshops have launched $12 billion dollars in projects. Today, new jobs in conception and design—specifically in customized design, create value. We are at the beginning of a new industrial revolution.
In light of these successful projects, we imagine that you are undergoing rapid growth. What are the reasons behind this?
56% of Americans want to create something themselves, so there is a real demand for this in the American market. There is enormous potential! We call it the Maker Movement. We bring together a very broad community: makers, geeks, enthusiasts, engineers, artists, students, retirees, women and men—everyone together!
As of today, we already have 8 sites in the US and two others will be opening in 2016, in Los Angeles and Saint Louis!
When will Techshop be coming to France?
It’s already here! On November 2, Techshop will open its first collaborative workshop in Ivry-sur Seine, in partnership with home improvement retailer Leroy Merlin. DIY enthusiasts can bring their projects to reality in this 2,000-square meter space that provides access to over 150 machines. And novices don’t need to worry, there’s a team of Dream Consultants to assist them as they learn by doing.
Convinced? Participate in the World Maker Faire or a Makers Faire near you!