Leveraging Community Talent to Drive R&D and Fund Entrepreneurs
mHUB Hardtech Development (HD) gives small and mid-size enterprises (SMEs) the exclusive opportunity to harness the unique creativity of an entrepreneurial community. SMEs are able to tap a curated team of mHUB members with diverse skill sets to develop product innovation solutions that are more cost-effective and completed faster than traditional large firms.
The program began as a pilot after Marmon, mHUB’s Founding Partner, recognized the talent value within the mHUB community. In 2018, Bill Fienup, mHUB co-founder, supported the official launch of mHUB HD as director of the program. Since launch, mHUB HD has grown to support more than 37 clients, has developed 75 unique products and more than 1000 concepts, and infused more than $1.2M in income directly into the mHUB member community extending runways for entrepreneurs.
Through brainstorms, proof of concepts, and product development led by mHUB’s talented community of highly-skilled entrepreneurs, SMEs have shown to significantly improve their research and development (R&D) efforts. mHUB’s talent pool provides quality, efficient, and cost-effective results to many distinguished clients, including Newell Brands, Marmon, RhinoAG, ATKearney, K8 Ventures, Prince Castle, and many more.
Driving Results for Clients and Extending Startup Runways
Prince Castle, an SME that manufacturers industrial kitchen appliances, came to mHUB for a faster and more energy efficient process to toast bread to consistent levels in under 15 seconds. The technology is powered by a vision-based solution using a camera and learning algorithm to detect ideal temperatures across any bread type.
"We were able to go from problem statement to prototype in less than a month. It’s mHUB’s speed, couple with their flexibility, that’s really hard to beat,” said Jeff Garascia, Chief Innovation Officer, Marmon Holdings.
This is just one of the many examples of innovative solutions mHUB has come up with for numerous clients. The results are consistent: low-cost, fast, and effective R&D for the client, and added runway for entrepreneurs to focus on their own businesses.
Extending Runway for Startups
“Through contract work, we’ve been successful in bringing in about $500,000 a year, which has been an incredible help in funding R&D and production of SimpleCap,” said Michael Infanger, Founder and President of Verena Solutions, mHUB member, and regular mHUB PD participant. “The extra revenue gives us the runway to invest back into our business.”
mHUB’s talent pool includes mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, automation engineers, materials engineers, firmware developers, web and mobile developers, software developers, industrial designers, prototyping experts, fabricators, and more. The diverse talent base has been indispensable to supporting a wide range of industries and client requests.
A Model to Create Access to Entrepreneurial Talent
mHUB HD is enhancing the region's ability to commercialize innovation while extending the runway for high potential startups and forging important connections between entrepreneurs and industry leaders. This model has potential to scale to include other innovation communities with differing skillsets, which will give corporations access to a broader set of the region's entrepreneurs to support outsourced innovation strategies.