Update from New York’s Next Top Makers

Next Top Makers

Here is the latest update from New York’s Next Top Makers, a NYCEDC program to support local manufacturing and hardware entrepreneurs in NYC.


Hi Everyone!

What a crazy, wonderful last quarter of 2014 it has been for New York’s Next Top Makers. We have been busy popping up around town to explore what Making looks like in each borough of this fine city; we selected six Next Top Makers Fellows, hung out with the folks at our partner Kickstarter and much much more.

September 2014

In September, we held the first stop on our five borough Pop Up Tour where more than a hundred folks showed up to visit with QNS MADE, and Next Top Maker applicants: Farmacy, Emrals and Bhold Design! Next Top Makers also had a booth at World MakerFaire NYC (thanks to our partner Maker Media) featuring applicants and Fellows. Teams that showcased included: Solight Design’s Solar Puff,Makeosity, 360VidyCam, Printo-bot Kit, Kid Euclid and Street Tree Guards to name just a few. Also, New York City Economic Development Corporation’s Executive Vice President, Eric Gertler, announced Maker Week and the next class of Next Top Makers Fellows selected to participate in the yearlong Studio Incubation program.


Natalie Jeremijenko, PhD of Farmacy exhibits her product at the Queens Pop Up during Maker Week.

The following week, we celebrated our new class of Fellows and an impressive group of locally based Mentors at the Get Made Summit Kickoff at Brooklyn Winery. Special guests included Kyle Kimball, President of NYCEDC, Dale Dougherty, Co-founder of Maker Media, and Sarah Krasley, Lead for Sustainable Manufacturing at Autodesk. We also got to work with the new class of Fellows at the daylong Get Made Summit event at NY Designs, bringing together experts in manufacturing, business planning, market research and marketing, hardware, legal, and more to get our Fellows thinking through their journey for the next year.


Next Top Makers unveils the Maker Map where one can find others, spaces, services all related to Making in NYC.

October 2014

The Next Top Makers community spent a delightful evening at Kickstarter HQ with their hardworking team and last year’s Next Top Maker Jessica Webster of Tangeez. Next Top Maker applicants and Fellows had the opportunity to meet one-on-one with Kickstarter staff to plan for successful campaigns.


Kickstarter Community Team Manager, Aurora Thornhill, meets with Next Top Maker Applicant, Jessica Ochoa Hendrix of KidEuclid at Kickstarter HQ.

Also in October, we made the second stop of our five borough Pop Up Tour in Staten Islandfor a night of food, Making and fun at the Staten Island Maker Space. It was a rainy night, but it didn’t matter as over a hundred folks came out to check out what is happening on Staten Island.


Tom Mazzone’s City Tree Guards are manufactured right out of the Staten Island Maker Space and were on display at the Pop Up.

November 2014

We made our third stop of the Pop Up tour in the Bronx at the Bronx Business Incubator (an NYCEDC sponsored space). Makers from the Bronx and Harlem including Next Top Maker applicants Strongarm Tech, Makeosity, and eKick Torpedo skate lights presented their products to the community. It was a great turnout with some great press!

We’ve also been busy working with our six Fellows in the Studio Incubation program.

Here are updates from the Next Top Makers Fellows:

Capacita (a product of DIYAbility)

Capacita is working with Design Thinking Strategist, Roxann Stafford, and HackStar, Jonathan Hirschman, to get ready for user testing later this month. Partnering with AbleGamers, the DIYAbility team seeks to have products in homes for user testing by the end of this month.


Blackbox Manufacturing

It has been a busy time for William Watts, the genius behind BlackBox Manufacturing, who has been partnering with Next Top Maker sponsor Autodesk Fusion360 to develop a composite motorcycle swing arm in time forAutodesk University held in Las Vegas last week. He also worked with Next Top Maker team, Makeosity, to prototype their first scooter! He’s in the process of bringing on additional staff support to keep up with demand. Also, if you ever come across Will, be sure to ask him about his foray into fashion design!



The Poursteady team won theJudges Choice award at the Engadget Expand NYC Conference where they served nearly a thousand cups of coffee. They also officially launched their Kickstarter campaign, which runs just into the New Year. Please support NYC-based coffee innovation!


Sensory Percussion

The Sensory Percussion team is hard at work to bring their product to SXSW in March 2015. They are currently looking for software engineers to join their team who are also musicians (see listing if you know someone that fits the bill). They also recently moved into an office at our space partner, NYDesigns.


Squink (a product of BotFactory)

The Squink team also officially moved intoNYDesigns this month where they are sharing an office with the wonderful folks from Sensory Percussion. At NYDesigns, they have access to a prototyping workshop downstairs and a community of entrepreneurs. Squink recently completed a business plan, is currently seeking and talking to investors, and ramping up to fulfill their $100,380 Kickstarter campaign in early 2015.



As an open-sourced hardware product developer, Matt Epler, is following in the footsteps of NYC-based LittleBits and AdaFruit to build an open-sourced community and product that can sustain itself over time. Over the past several months, Matt has explored various potential business models specifically looking at the question of whether to build a commercial or an individual use machine. After significant research and many useful conversation, Matt has opted to fulfill the needs of the original community of users who inspired him to develop this product in the first place. To hear his story, watch this.


Many of our teams have been engaging with our legal partners BLIP Clinic, Cooley LLP, and Myers Wolin for their legal startup, IP and trademark needs.

None of this would be possible without the generous support of our partners, mentors and sponsors including Capital One Labs, Capital One Bank, Autodesk Fusion360, Microsoft, Intel Labs andNYDesigns. Next Top Makers is a program by NYCEDC being run by a team from SecondMuse, Upper West Strategies and Imagination in Space.

We look forward to continuing to build Making and support for advanced manufacturing here in New York City alongside you! We wish everyone in the community a wonderful holiday season and look forward to great things in 2015, which has started with our Pop-Up Tour grand finale at Brooklyn’s Urban Future Lab on January 14th!

Best Wishes,

The Next Top Makers Team


Next Top Makers is a program from: 


It is made possible by the generous support of our sponsors: 

36a8042a-f788-4e4b-8600-f6c2a519c4da      19d5c9a3-e516-464a-8fea-6fdeeb5d235d      0c263a84-97aa-4dcc-b5e7-056bc7d15e36      a4371c17-cf5d-46b4-92f2-34c89597ccb2      3f441e8b-69e4-4561-93ed-affd9597ff9b

As well as continued partnership with the NYC community: 

031aa58d-9d9a-4c49-82f5-c83d9f60fdc3      9c9f0854-67ab-4951-9083-4b82434623ef      b3926443-4155-487d-9f93-839a8f3d5693

kickstarter1        7557ce2a-006d-4894-a2c9-368ff38f82ec        8bcf7d8b-d471-482c-8f66-7a7c5b757ec6        ecbcb6d1-4cfc-4de6-b1ad-98490d9e5505

And operational partners:

0bb2c193-7a42-4f60-9cc8-a88041dcf13c      430b1814-0a66-4f8b-b8f8-9f769111816f      5bc9c4dc-f3e8-4864-bbd5-296fada72075


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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