South Works MakerLab Client Successfully Raises Start Up Funding on Indiegogo

Yuri Gallegos, industrial designer at Panduit, decided to take a sabbatical to pursue his dream of running his own design business with an emphasis on 3D printing/additive manufacturing.

He and his wife, Portia, applied to the newly opened University of St. Francis Incubator on the school's downtown Joliet campus, where they were accepted into the incubator's first group. At the incubator, they received support from USF entrepreneurship faculty member Steve Morrissette, the Illinois Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Joliet Junior College, and the manufacturing experts at SCORE Fox Valley.

On the incubator's advisory board, Don Brozek of South Metropolitan Higher Education Consortium (SMHEC), was working to build the South Works MakerLab Network across SMHEC's campuses. Yuri's knowledge of design and 3D printing, in particular, fit well with the MakerLab's focus, and Yuri became a workshop instructor at the MakerLabs.

In addition, Yuri provided design support to several entrepreneurs working in the MakerLabs.

While providing design services to others, Yuri continued to work on his own inventions. On a prior work trip to South America, Yuri had contracted dengue fever through a mosquito bite, so his first product became ElimiFly-  a device to attract and eliminate mosquitos.

Living in Plainfield, he looked for a source to provide 3D printing support for his prototypes. Don pointed Yuri to the SouthWorks MakerLab at JJC, where Steve Mark, MakerLab manager, provided 3D printing support.

After developing a number of prototypes, Yuri used this network of supporters to develop a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to launch his product, and he surpassed his goal with his Indiegogo campaign. Besides the purchases on Indiegogo, he received several inquiries from investors. Today, he is busy manufacturing the nearly 250 devices he sold through his Indiegogo campaign and determining where to take his business next- expansion of the ElimiFly market or developing one of his many other invention ideas. He'll rely on SouthWorks again to help him through the process.