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Last Wednesday evening at BMW i Ventures incubator was not an average night; with the backdrop of floor-to-ceiling river views, an arduino-controlled LED installation hung from the ceiling, a MakerBot Replicator hummed away, and visitors spun interactive Turn Table lights. (See slideshow of our event installation.)
This was visage of the first maker mixer from NYCEDC’s Industrial Team. On the heels of NY Design Week 2012, “Let’s Get Digital: New Models for Making” brought together thought leaders from New York City’s design, fabrication, and business worlds to discuss how new technologies — like accessible prototyping platforms — and ways of doing business — like Kickstarter launches and open source — are changing the relationship between consumers, designers, and producers, and redefining the City’s role in production.
Central to the conversation, moderated by Center for Economic Transformation Managing Director Euan Robertson, were the benefits and challenges of building and scaling a hardware business in New York City. Panelists and audience members agreed that product companies and entrepreneurs face harsher real estate, capital, and labor constraints than other technology companies. In spite of these challenges, the consensus emerged that the hardware ecosystem in the City is strong and growing.
To further understand the challenges and opportunities for these companies and to problem-solve with the creative entrepreneurs who face these challenges, NYCEDC will continue to host maker mixers. To learn more about the Industrial Team’s work, visit nycedc.com/industrial or email firstname.lastname@example.org.