Entrepreneurs Interviews, October 2017
For the October Boston EdTech Meetup, the organizing group decided to try something new! The Boston EdTech Foundation specifically invited a few entrepreneurs to participate in the October’s event. The goal of the Meetup was to allow entrepreneurs to engage with the EdTech community in order to get feedback and suggestions on their ideas or products or any other business/technical challenges.
Nearly 50 people showed up at the Education First office in Boston - each one of them was eager to help out the 7 entrepreneurs with their EdTech ideas. What ensued was an eclectic discussion, each of the startup company teams took back with them some actionable ideas.
Over the course of the next 3 months, we will showcase these startup companies on our blog and newsletter by conducting interviews that will provide a glimpse of their individual journeys.
“Children learn best through spatial learning, and we are addressing exactly that, by attempting to put a robot in every kid’s hands!” - Nandu Vellal
Nandu Vellal started 3DES Inc nearly 3 years back when he observed that despite creating a working prototype, his son’s robotics team couldn’t take home the models that they had built. This prompted Nandu to find a way to solve this inequitable challenge! Having experienced the benefits of rapid prototyping during his early career days, Nandu felt compelled to bring the same maker culture into classrooms and thus, an idea was born! The idea was to incorporate low cost 3D printing with robotics, thereby making robotics more accessible and affordable to students.
An engineer by profession, Nandu partnered with yet another passionate 3D engineer and product developer, Rich Thall. Together they have created a 3D printing curriculum for middle school students, and have found a way to enhance the way teachers impart STEM related concepts. Along with providing the curriculum, 3DES Inc has also forayed into schools with their after-school programs. Presently, they are piloting robotics programs for a couple of private schools in New Hampshire and Rhode Island.
3DES, Inc team at Eforall pitch night
When Nandu and Satish, head of strategy and business development, 3DES Inc, engaged with their October EdTech MeetUp Group, they were blown away by the suggestions that poured in! Beyond this, the group also offered to provide relevant connections - something which pleased Nandu and Satish.
As a 3-member team working full-time on their idea, 3DES Inc admittedly has multiple balls in the air to juggle. Besides creating a curriculum, they are also developing hardware and software modules for 3D printing. More importantly, they are working on developing business relations with schools, along with participating in trade shows and conferences.
3DES, Inc robotics models and 3D models
The larger group urged Nandu to consider focusing on one aspect of the company! “As entrepreneurs, we don’t know which will take off – and for a while, we will have to work on all areas simultaneously”, ponders Nandu. The EdTech MeetUp group gave Nandu multiple perspectives to think about! Nandu concludes by saying “We are still learning about the EdTech industry. Being in such settings and engaging with such audiences helps us fine tune our pitches and gain critical insights”.
3DES, Inc is showcasing their in-school and after-school programs at the MA STEM Summit in DCU Center, Worcester. More details about 3DES, Inc programs and offerings are available at their website http://www.3desinc.biz