What is an Incubator?

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What Type of Products Do We Incubate?

Product ideas embody an open source attitude and can be manufactured fairly simply. They are not reinventions of existing ideas but rather represent a new-to-the-world product category. Design refinement is implemented by Tomorrow Lab™ and other product designers to bring product ideas to a refined and feasible state. Prototyping and Production are completed by Tomorrow Lab™ when possible and otherwise sourced to manufacturers that use rapid production methods for minimum production time and tooling. Products are sold in an online marketplace that serves as a platform from which to sell designers’ products.

The Incubation Process

1) Idea comes to CoBuilt, either through invitation or solicitation.

2) Incubation funding of $x over y months is estimated. Provisional planning and cost estimates of materials and manufacturing are determined, as $x.

3) Sales, timeline, and IP terms are negotiated and agreed upon with Inventor.

4) Incubation begins. $x over y months are allocated toward refining the design and preparing it for life as a rapid manufactured product. The idea is refined and prepared for rapid manufacture at Tomorrow Lab™ and/or in conjunction with other partners.

5) Production specs are determined, method of manufacture is finalized, prototypes ordered.

6) Product is listed for sale on CoBuilt's website, marketing is implemented.

7) Inventor and CoBuilt share revenue from sales to Customers for a limited batch of products.

Who is Involved?

CoBuilt is lead by Tomorrow Lab™, a group of Industrial Designers, Mechanical and Electrical Engineers with access to some of the best design, hardware development and fabrication skills in New York City. Product development and management takes place at Tomorrow Lab™ in New York City. We use a network of online vendors who provide 3D rapid fabrication services, assembly, and fulfillment.

Terms Sheet

In development. (Terms negotiated with Inventor: Money, Time, Sales, Expectations, IP before and after).

Costing Process Sheet

In development. (Complexity, Cost, level of Finish, etc).

Get In Touch

We plan to launch in January/February 2012 by investing in our first product, launching the webstore, and making outreach to the first handful of products to incubate in CoBuilt.

We're making a short list of the first 5 projects to launch in 2012. Contact us if your idea should be on that list! info@tomorrow-lab.com for more information.

A product design incubator that uses rapid manufacturing to bring groundbreaking products to life.
What is CoBuilt?

CoBuilt is a product incubator and web store that invests Industrial Design and Engineering services into great ideas to prepare them for sale as beautiful rapid-manufacturing products. We work with an assembled team of partners to provide high-quality / low-quantity rapid manufacturing, assembly services, and fulfillment to customers.

Why CoBuilt?

The modern determining factor in production method is audience size. We help apply an appropriate match of production-process to audience-size.

Mass-Manufactured Process: Higher costs, longer time, produce thousands, sell to masses.

Mass-manufacturing methods include but are not limited to injection molding, blow molding, and extrusion. They are wired for high-volume production minimums with lower per-part cost and longer lead times. They require immense time and resources to pull off, necessitating use of aluminum or steel tooling/dies (or molds) that range from $10,000 up to $100,000. Due to the high upfront cost, companies are incentivized to produce and sell as many copies as possible in order to recoup their investment in the tooling.

Here's the way we see it: some amazing products have an audience numbering in the dozens or hundreds, not the thousands or millions. However, high costs of mass-manufacturing methods prohibit some of these ideas from being realized as products. Here exists an opportunity: not only is mass-manufacture sometimes cost-prohibitive, it is also inappropriate to apply towards products that have a niche audience. Due to production quantity minimums in a factory setting, a mismatch of mass-manufacturing to low-audience size can create stifling cost barriers and even worse, can create excess waste in the form of unsold product.

Rapid-Manufactured Process: Lower costs, shorter time, produce fewer, sell to fewer.

A more sensible approach is to design a product with rapid-manufacture in mind. This can be more sustainable, beneficial to customers and owners of new ideas, and even have reparative effects on the manufacturing industry. To the contrary of mass-manufacturing, rapid-manufacturing methods are designed for low-volume, higher per-part cost in shorter lead times. Rapid manufacturing eliminates the need for heavy machinery, hard tooling, with lead times nearly neglible compared to traditional manufacturing, opening up opportunities to quickly and easily produce not just parts... but finished products.

Rapid-Manufacturing methods include but are not limited to Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), Laminated Object Manufacturing, Laser Cutting, and CNC Milling. These processes do not require tooling, but instead quickly make copies of a product using a variety of materials. In the last few years, machines such as Z-Corp, Rep-Rap, and Makerbot, have grown in use. Additionally, dozens of online services - such as Shapeways, Ponoko, CloudFab, Quickparts - now offer same-week delivery of rapid-fabricated parts made from a variety of materials. There are no order minimums and no tooling costs. There are little to no lead times.

When considering products with a small audience, the needs of that audience are more specific, and the product can typically accomodate a higher price. This configuration of lower-quantity and higher-price aligns with the quantity and costs of rapid-manufacture production. CoBuilt products appeal to customers actively searching for products to fill their unique interests or needs.

OK, I Get It! Tell Me More.

Inventors are invited by CoBuilt, letting us curate innovative product ideas for the online shop. The sweet spot for ideas are ones that have existing public interest, yet are lingering in prototype stage, and lack the time and/or resources to be realized as products. They are the ones you've oogled over when browsing design blogs, or ones you thought could help a community in a developing nation. We want to implement these products now, in a smaller time frame, for a smaller audience, and for a smaller upfront cost than would be taken with a mass-manufacturing route. You might call it 'Prototype as Product'. However, since CoBuilt invests design and engineering services and refines the idea through a series of prototypes prior to online sales, the products have the fit and finish of beautiful design objects. Rapid-manufacturing has never looked so good.

Prior to hosting sales of the product in CoBuilt's online shop, the product is incubated with an investment of industrial design, engineering and prototyping services at no cost to the Inventor. Profits from the sale of the products are shared between CoBuilt and the Idea's Owner.

CoBuilt tailors product development into a fast-paced process to bring products to market with the lightest use of time and resources, generating revenue quickly. The difference in time between receiving a mass-manufactured product vs. a rapid-manufactured product is months.