The interview: Mark Hatch, CEO, TechShop (video)

5 Nov 2014

Mark Hatch, CEO of TechShop

TechShop is coming to Dublin and very soon anyone who has the ambition to mass manufacture their invention will have the firepower to build a working prototype, the CEO of TechShop Mark Hatch said this week.

Hatch, who was in Dublin this week to attend the Hardware Hackathon at Dublin City University (DCU), explained how TechShop was born in 2006 after former Mythbusters science adviser Jim Newton established a software company and missed all the equipment he used to use to prototype inventions. 

TechShop has grown its presence to eight locations across the US, including San Francisco, Arizona, Virginia, Texas and Pennsylvania.

By using a membership model, customers who want to build working prototypes of virtually anything can use TechShop’s, facilities including 3D printers, welding machines, CNC plasma cutters, laser cutters and sheet fabrication equipment.

Hatch said the availability of this technology has reduced prototyping costs by companies, including Twitter founder Jack Dorsey’s m-commerce start-up Square by up to 98pc.

In a stroke of genius DCU is working with TechShop and Dublin City Council to bring a TechShop to Dublin.

“We believe we are moving into a new industrial revolution or creative revolution of some kind,” Hatch said.

“I come from a manufacturing and R&D background and when someone says there can be a 98pc reduction in something as fundamental as a rapid prototype, that is radical.

“It moves from being something only crazy entrepreneurs or well-funded start-ups do to basically something anybody in the middle class can try.”

TechShop in Dublin

Hardware Hackathon: interview with Mark Hatch, CEO of TechShop

Hatch believes Dublin is primed to be the first overseas location for TechShop.

“Dublin is just like the Silicon Valley. It reminds me of Menlo Park in San Francisco. It’s got one of the best-developed VC (venture capital) and start-up communities in the world and as a result I expect to see similar results occur.

“To give you an example from three locations in the Bay Area of San Francisco in the last seven years, some US$12bn in incremental shareholder value has been generated by start-ups, leading to 2,000 new jobs, US$2bn in sales and US$200m in annual salaries, from little companies all the way to Square.

“We’re helping people in companies like Ford and Xerox who aren’t in R&D but want to get into the system to build prototypes,” Hatch said.

“You have the same ecosystem here – you have the engineers, the capital and the infrastructure, you just need TechShop. We’re working with DCU and Dublin City Council to make it happen.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years