Three Reno entrepreneurs have made the Makerspace at the Innevation Center University of Nevada, Reno-Powered By Switch their business headquarters. Michael Gillette, John Kirkpatrick and Daniel Smith have recently started Nevada JumpStarter, a company that helps not only build prototypes, plus also provides resources to help with investment, manufacturing and obtaining patents.
All three founders are recent University of Nevada, Reno graduates from the College of Engineering and, collectively, they represent specialization in mechanical engineering, embedded systems and computer science. Both Smith and Gillette were two of the original employees hired at the Innevation Center, with Kirkpatrick being hired later. With all three founders working at the Makerspace, they would often consult each other on projects. This collaboration ultimately lead them to begin their business adventure.
"We figured we didn't need to be masters of everything when we all had different specialty areas and could do this together," said Kirkpatrick, Nevada JumpStarter chief operating officer.
Nestled in one of the backrooms of the Makerspace at the Innevation Center, located at 450 Sinclair St. in downtown Reno, the trio's office is highlighted by a custom-made, Nevada JumpStarter LED sign displaying custom patterns that they can control or set to music through its more than 500 individual LED's.
Hoping to help fuel the recent wave of small-business development and entrepreneurship in Reno, the company plan is to help people with ideas build a prototype and guide them through the steps in going from idea to product to startup.
Being stationed within the Makerspace is a huge help. Since "makers" are coming in looking to build and looking for help, the company is already there to meet with prospective clients and help them along the way.
"We can help take their mind off of the prototype so they can get the business aspect of the company going," said Smith, Nevada JumpStarter chief financial officer.
Beyond building the functional prototypes for these small businesses, the group also offers free business consultations. Due to the nature of helping startups, JumpStarter often has to sign non-disclosure agreements, making it hard to showcase their work, so in between projects the team works on passion projects to help hone and demonstrate their skills and create products. According to a KUNR story on the company, they have developed a custom-built 3D printer and a fully-automatic Nerf gun that was reversed engineered from a design found online.