Closing their second successful Kickstarter campaign at an impressive $436,197 Sienci Labs has demonstrated there is an active and growing market for their unique rapid prototyping tool – the maker community has clearly shown up and said “YES we want this.”

Who are Sienci Labs?

Sienci Labs emerged out of a desire to create low-cost mechanical, rapid prototyping tools for builders, manufacturers and makers with a focus on tools like CNC machines, 3D printers and laser cutters. The team aims to make this technology and their automated tools accessible for both technical and non-technical makers alike, allowing small and large scale projects to be done faster and more efficiently – without breaking the bank or without needing to be an engineer.

Sienci Labs operates out of the Accelerator Centre’s Hardware Innovation Lab at 44 Gaukel Street in Kitchener where specialized programming and facilities completely empowers them to build, create and test their systems.

As an Accelerator Program client and AC Jumpstart graduate, founder Andy Lee remarks on the valuable mentorship and connections they’ve created, are still a big part of their success and support system.

“The Accelerator Centre has been a big part of our company since we first started, from being part of the AC Jumpstart program and now as a AC client and resident at the 44 Gaukel building. The Accelerator Centre has provided us with incredible mentors that deeply care about our venture, connections and resources otherwise difficult to access and afford for small startups like us, as well as early stage funding through AC Jumpstart and FedDev.

Being a resident of 44 Gaukel of course also provides us with a diverse and friendly startup neighborhood that promotes community and collaboration, and provides connections and shared knowledge and resources from other hardware and advanced manufacturing companies. It’s energizing to be part of a small community of successful and ambitious companies in the heart of Kitchener Waterloo and the Innovation Corridor.”

 The First Kickstarter – The Mill One

In August of 2016, Sienci Labs launched their  first kickstarter campaign with the had goal of raising $60,000 to allow them to create and launch their first product, “The Mill One”, a beginner desktop CNC machine. Designed for the maker who wants to dive into the world of CNC and automated manufacturing.

Andy explains why Kickstarter was paramount to their success, “we learned quickly that building machines and putting together kits for our early customers one by one was a very expensive and time consuming process for us, so we went to kickstarter to help us mass manufacture the Sienci Mill One. Kickstarter really allowed us to get early support with a large capital investment that it often takes to mass produce a new product that is costly to build.”

With the support of the Accelerator Centre and the funding from this first successful Kickstarter campaign, the team successfully launched their product and fulfilled their first orders making them one of the only manufacturers of desktop CNC machines in  Canada.

The Second Kickstarter – The LongMill

The second time around, Andy and the team came up with a new product called the LongMill, a larger format of the Mill One. The LongMill is bigger, faster and more powerful allowing builders and makers to use the same automated technology to build much larger scale projects.

The kickstarter campaign aimed to raise another $60,000, however closed after 30 days with an amazing $436,197 from 324 backers!

However, the work is not done once the kickstarter ends. “Raising the funds is step one, now we will move on to R&D, figuring out production, manufacturing, partnerships, fulfillment, shipping and so much more.”

His advice to others looking to leverage kickstarter to scale-up — “have a solid plan for everything that is to come after the kickstarter finishes- that is where the hard work begins, and where many struggle to finish and follow through on their promise to the customers. I am grateful that we were able to experience this entire process start to finish with the first kickstarter on a smaller scale, which allowed us to come into this second kickstarter with our eyes wide opened and with a strong strategy and execution plan.”

Now, the Sienci Labs team are looking forward to finishing launching their new product and getting The LongMill into the hands makers across Canada. Based on the interest, it is safe to say this is just the beginning!

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