Thimble.io’s Marissa Malone working on a kit. Courtesy Thimble.io
Whether you are an experienced hobbyist or beginner, Thimble.io's direct subscription model of DIY electronic kits allows a range of users to build a fun, useful device with the help of step-by-step tutorials from their unique learning app.
Founders’ Oscar Pedroso and David Brenner have a serious passion for both the makers' movement and entrepreneurship here in the Buffalo area. Pedroso, Co-Founder and CEO of Thimble.io, describes himself as a relentless entrepreneur driven with a mission to succeed.
“I started a previous company, GradFly. It was such a long sales cycle, that really the business model contributed to the demise of the company. Although I didn’t want to give up. We found that through our customer base there was an active community of people who were hobbyists and I met David Breener when he was getting his Masters degree from RIT. One of the ideas we came up with was a box subscription. When we sent out to tell people about this idea, we got 600 email signups in a week. We knew then that we were onto to something,” he says.
As the company continues to grow, Pedroso cites the Kickstarter campaign as the beginning of their success. This led the company to work with Launch NY, a nonprofit venture development organization with a mission of identifying, supporting and investing in high-growth startups in the 27 westernmost counties in the United States.
“It has been exciting and rewarding to work with Oscar and Dave and assist turning their early crowdfunding success into an operating company successfully delivering DIY electronics kits to customers,” says Al Culliton, Thimble’s Launch NY Entrepreneur-in-Residence. “From the initial contact, it was apparent they were receptive and appreciated being able to learn all they could from experienced people who had been there before. Launch NY assisted their focus on key business issues critical to Thimble’s growth,” he adds.
This past March, Thimble.io was recognized at South by SouthWest Interactive Festival with the Innovative World Technology category award and took second place overall in the final pitch accelerator event competing with over 50 companies from around the world. This success led to their acceptance into the Telluride Venture Accelerator, a four-month program based in Colorado with plans to return to Buffalo in early July.
Looking to inspire future generations of entrepreneurs, Pedroso shares some wisdom. “Going down the path of creating a startup is super hard. What I’ve learned through past seven years is just being persistent, I know it sounds cliche, but it’s true. I started a tutoring company and Gadfly. And what got me to this point was to continue going. It’s a huge commitment, and you have to decide if you want to continue down this path or not and keep working at it.”
This In Focus business profile is sponsored by Launch NY.