Hardware companies tinker with new ideas by creating prototypes to test during pre-production. These early versions of a product can help you test functionality or performance, and show investors or customers your idea in a tangible form. But prototypes can often be cost-prohibitive, with a mold for a circuit board, for example, costing up to $100,000; as well as time-consuming.
“This was an issue at the biotech startup I was at previously, where we built surgical tools. You had an idea, but then obtaining a prototype was kind of a hassle and it costs a lot of money,” says Yasser Boumenir. Boumenir is the CEO of manufacturing startup Prinsta, which aims to provide R&D departments and manufacturers with an affordable, fast way to print prototypes.
“With Prinsta, we want to make hardware like software, as software is easy to prototype and iterate,” Boumenir says.
The company is starting with a printer for circuit board prototypes, which as mentioned above, may be prohibitively expensive. The startup offers two solutions: first, they sell their physical desktop printer that allows companies to bring their prototyping in-house and reduce development time. The Prinsta printer is akin to digital laser imaging.
Two, if the client is unable to afford a printer, Prinsta allows them to upload their design into a vendor marketplace, where they can send the files to a nearby Prinsta printer owner.
The commissioned Prinsta vendor can make extra money by helping build other companies’ prototypes.
“The end goal is on-demand manufacturing, which is where we think the future is heading,” says Boumenir.
Boumenir and co-founder Ali Abdelhalim see their printer as the last piece of the puzzle in the future of manufacturing. The current version of the industrial-grade printer, which is what Boumenir calls the “light version”, can drill, pick and place chips, solder dispensing, and uses computer vision for auto-alignment.
Their upcoming, more-robust offering will allow users to make more complex circuit boards, as well as add modules to extend the capabilities of the printers. According to the startup, an R&D team can reduce their product development cycle by 30 percent by bringing it in-house with Prinsta.
They won’t stop with circuit boards, though — Boumenir shares that they will expand to consumer electronics, medical devices and more.
Prinsta is bootstrapped, though looking to raise a $500,000 seed round to build out their marketing and manufacturing teams.
“As a hardware startup, we’re trying to fix issues within hardware companies. Right now that’s rapid prototyping. Ultimately we will focus on other areas of manufacturing,” says Boumenir.