A Hacker Lab Start-up Hustle Success Story
Jim Hsu of Elk Grove liked to tinker as a child. As the result of working in the eye care industry, he had been tinkering with idea for a mobile phone docking system that would enable optometrists to use cell phone cameras to capture the images they see when looking in patients’ eyes through microscopes.
Hacker Lab’s Start-up Hustle helped him make progress on Eye2Mobile, a docking system designed to hold cell phones and work with eye care optical devices, such as slit lamps, retinal cameras , and surgical lasers. As a result of participating, he expects to be producing the EyePhoneDock for sale in spring 2015.
Learn startup skills and discover ways to grow your business ideas into ventures by applying for Hacker Lab’s Startup Hustle. Applications are due March 17, 2016.
Hsu had already started working on the EyePhonedock to hold the phone when he got an email announcing the Hacker Lab Start-up Hustle. “I had a prototype and demonstration video but I didn’t know what to do next,” said Hsu. “I applied to participate in Start-up Hustle to get help with the next steps to turn this product idea into a business.”
According to Hsu, the training and mentoring he received from Hacker Lab and start-up supporters encouraged him to validate his concept with prospective customers. “I was able to answer the question – do they want it?” said Hsu.
The weekly meetings where participants talked with industry leaders from Hacker Lab’s start-up and innovation community were very helpful according to Hsu. “We learned a lean and efficient process to get from an idea to a start-up business,” said Hsu.
One of the challenges of Start-up Hustle is that participants are asked to really focus on the project for an intensive month and half. “I worked on it two to three evenings per week as well as on weekends,” said Hsu. “The tight six week time frame really pushed us to get it done. The mentors were very persistent in encouraging us to do the homework and develop a presentable pitch for investors.”
Hsu felt that Start-up Hustle gave resources to entrepreneurs that they probably couldn’t access on their own. “The mentors’ direction on where to go to get more information was tremendous,” sad Hsu. “This program’s support gives the little guy some of the resources available to large companies. It turns innovators into entrepreneurs.”
He also benefitted from using the maker tools at Hacker Lab. “I used the 3D printer to print parts for the bracket,” said Hsu. “It allowed me to make a quick mockup to test fit and function as well as produce a prototype to show prospective customers.”
Hsu said that it was a rewarding experience. “I would definitely suggest Start-up Hustle to anyone who has an idea for a product,” said Hsu. “Hacker Lab brings together an amazing start-up community and that is good for the city and the economy.”
Sierra College is proud to be a sponsor of Hacker Lab’s Start-Up Hustle. The Rocklin location of Hacker Lab is Powered by Sierra College. Together, with other supporters, they are building a community of makers and entrepreneurs in Nevada and Placer Counties and the Sacramento region. Learn more about Hacker Lab, check out classes and join other entrepreneurs to jump start your passion to turn your ideas into businesses with resources from Hacker Lab. To launch your new startup alongside a community of entrepreneurs, apply by March 17 for the spring 2016 Hacker Lab Start-up Hustle.