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Low-cost incubator for movers and makers

Kristin Smith | Photo: Cody Pickens | June 17, 2011 | Story Best of the Bay Now In

TechShop, Maker Faire’s studious, career-minded counterpart, sprouted a second Bay Area branch, on Howard Street in February (it started in Menlo Park)—and is already going gangbusters. Everything from jewelry to a fold-up canoe has been built in the 17,000 square feet of this open-access public workshop, and budding designers and entrepreneurs are showing up in droves. With a membership of about $100 a month (drop-ins are welcome, too), unemployed residents are learning new skills and finding jobs in building and design; Burning Man artists are designing their combustible statues; and folks from the Hub, the equally buzzy co-working space in the nearby Chronicle Building, can walk their business plans around the corner and make their prototypes here. On any given day, you’ll see people toiling away on a 3-D printer, an industrial quilting machine, metal grinders and sanders, and more. Already, success stories can be told: DODOcase, for example, which makes handmade iPad and tablet cases and started out in Menlo Park’s TechShop, is now a multimillion-dollar company. (DODOcase founders say they would have had to come up with $100,000 to get started on their own.) In San Francisco, a city that’s fighting tooth and nail to keep its startups in town, TechShop should have a bright future indeed. 926 Howard St., 415-263-9161



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