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WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO SHAPE YOUR WORLD?

The desire to create crosses all boundaries: from Fortune 500 executives to bootstrapped startup entrepreneurs, from college graduates to high school dropouts.

GoEngineer is lucky enough to be connected with brilliant individuals across many industries whose businesses are driven by a passion to design, engineer, and manufacture.

This interview features Greg Kress Ph.D., founder & CEO of Radicand.

Radicand-Logo

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WHAT WERE SOME OF YOUR MOTIVATIONS FOR STARTING RADICAND?

I always wanted to start my own company. I found that my entrepreneurial friends developing hardware products were not supported in the early phases, compared to their peers developing software. Software startup costs are minimal, and the resources are more accessible. There are unique challenges, costs and risks associated with developing hardware.

To get to a compelling demo or prototype in order to raise investments or have a crowdfunding campaign, hardware entrepreneurs need access to space and capital equipment and probably expertise beyond what they or their founding team has.

To meet that need I wanted to build a community of hardware entrepreneurs who share resources, including a space.

Radicand’s San Francisco facility will be a space for entrepreneurs with access to rapid prototyping equipment, software like SOLIDWORKS, computing stations — everything entrepreneurs
need.

I want to encourage more entrepreneurs to take the napkin sketch and run with it — to accelerate the rate at which those ideas are getting out into the world and actually impacting people’s lives.

WHO INFLUENCED YOU?

My father took over the family business from his father, so I witnessed the perspectives of actual business owners from a young age. I also worked for corporations where my capacity and my ideas were not used well.

Buckminster Fuller, a big designer and inventor from the 1930s through the 1980s, inspired me intellectually with his numerous theories on using resources more efficiently and how the world is really a machine that we’ve designed for ourselves to live in, and there’s so many technical ways to improve it.

I was personally inspired to have my hands on the real world at large.

Three growth trends. The first is the quickly growing number of individuals interested in doing startups with a hardware product.

The second is the quickly growing number of people interested in investing in hardware, such as the Oculus Rift acquisition by Facebook and the Nest acquisition by Google — billion dollar acquisitions definitely draw attention.

Third, the interest is driving up demand. We came from the shadows as an underdog and our name is getting out there. In
the small hardware space you tend to run into the same people over and over.

The new San Francisco location will enable us tap into a whole new community. We haven’t even begun to scratch the surface. We change the space and bring in new equipment as needs emerge and develop.

WHAT HAS HELPED YOUR BUSINESS GROW?

WHAT HAS HELPED YOUR BUSINESS GROW?

Three growth trends. The first is the quickly growing number of individuals interested in doing startups with a hardware product.

The second is the quickly growing number of people interested in investing in hardware, such as the Oculus Rift acquisition by Facebook and the Nest acquisition by Google — billion dollar acquisitions definitely draw attention.

Third, the interest is driving up demand. We came from the shadows as an underdog and our name is getting out there. In
the small hardware space you tend to run into the same people over and over.

The new San Francisco location will enable us tap into a whole new community. We haven’t even begun to scratch the surface. We change the space and bring in new equipment as needs emerge and develop.

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS ONE OF THE MOST STRESSFUL PARTS OF YOUR JOB?

Every product we work on is the first of its kind, something that’s never been done before.

When somebody sits across the table with their napkin-sketch idea and asks me what it’s going to take to develop, I need to be realistic with my projections because they’re usually working with limited resources or trying to raise funding, so there’s not a lot of wiggle room to get it wrong.

People are putting their whole life savings on the line.

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS THE MOST FUN PART OF YOUR JOB?

I love working with these super smart guys. Watching amazing things happen in an unbelievable amount of time. People see our equipment and say, “You guys are so lucky. You have so many toys.” Having the right tool for the job and being able to build, and be visual, and be physical. I love building things. I love getting to see things work for the first time.

Radicand
Radicand specializes in helping early-phase hardware startups launch their product concepts & also provides co-working & incubation space for entrepreneurs, startups, independent contractors.

Radicand: 55 Grace Street, San Francisco, CA 94103 | P: 415 655-9748

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