Community-sourced Hardware Incubation via New York’s Next Top Makers

Community-sourced Hardware Incubation via New York’s Next Top Makers

Over the course of the summer, SecondMuse worked on the New York’s Next Top Makers program to hold open call for NYC-based Makers seeking to take their ‘works like’ or ‘looks like’ prototype to market! We received 41 amazing applications. It was difficult, but we leveraged the amazing expertise of various community members to narrow the pool to six Next Top Makers Fellows who will participate in a Studio Incubation program from now through August 2015.


ABOVE: 2014 Next Top Maker applicant, 360 Vidycam, created by Edwin Rogers, is innovating in video by creating an immersive 360 degree video experience. Stay tuned as this one is going to make history!

The Cuff

ABOVE: 2014 Next Top Maker applicant, Grant McGrath models his product the Cuff by Grandino.



ABOVE: Sean Petterson of Strongarm Tech, also a 2014 Next Top Maker applicant, demonstrates how their product works. The Ergoskeleton was designed to prevent workplace injuries related to lifting.

So, you might ask, what is this incubation all about?

Well, instead of re-creating the proverbial wheel, we are curating a package of existing resources already available to New York City Makers – you can find them here yourself at the Next Top Maker Map! Throughout the course of the year, we anticipate uncovering gaps in the resources available and will work to attract those resources for subsequent iterations of the Next Top Makers program.

The Studio Incubation program officially began on September 24th with the Get Made Summit. We gathered all six Next Top Makers Fellow teams and a cohort of 30 mentors and experts ranging from product design to marketing to manufacturing to legal to software development to much more in a room at NYDesigns. Throughout the course of the day, each Fellow team met with curated groups of mentors and experts around specific topics.

Brothers Esparza

ABOVE: Brothers Tenoch and Tlacael Esparza founded Sensory Percussion, a 2014 Next Top Makers Fellow team. Above they ask questions and think through feedback given by experts in product and manufacturing at the Get Made Summit in late September.

Following the Summit, Fellows were let loose to develop Maker Action Plans (MAPs) to guide their journey through the remainder of the Studio Incubation program. We are currently in the process of finalizing MAPs with each of the Fellows, but in the meantime, we’re going to let the Fellows introduce themselves to you in their own words. In the coming week and a half, you will hear from Sensory Percussion, PourSteady, Kinograph, BlackBox Manufacturing, Capacita of DIYAbility and Squink of BotFactory.


ABOVE: Founder of Kinograph and Next Top Maker Fellow, Matt Epler, participates in a closing circle at the Get Made Summit surrounded by mentors Sylvain Preumont of iMakr and Alan Hyman of

Throughout the year, we encourage you to follow their progress on the Next Top Maker blog (bookmark it now!). As we’ve all heard before, Making is hard. We’re here to help them (and you) so that that journey is a bit less hard and certainly less lonely. It is our hope we’ll look back in a year and see six Next Top Maker companies that have been supported by an entire community of Makers in New York City. Stay tuned, be involved, and make their successes your success as well!

(This post originally appeared on the New York’s Next Top Makers blog on October 29th, 2014)

Katey Metzroth

About Katey Metzroth

Katey leads New York's Next Top Makers, a program by NYCEDC, which supports NYC-based independent product designers to establish and grow their businesses in the city. Katey is also part of the Internet Freedom team at SecondMuse which focuses on localization and need-finding efforts to make Internet Freedom tools more accessible to users around the world. Before SecondMuse, Katey helped launch a prize at the Wharton school for social innovators. Prior to that, Katey guided NYC's digital strategy firm, Sarkissian Mason, to incorporate social impact into their business model. Katey participated in Philly's first ever Random Hacks of Kindness event and her team developed PhillySNAP to connect food stamp beneficiaries with farmers' markets through a simple text message. Katey holds an MA from Georgetown and the UNSAM in Buenos Aires.

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