Entrepreneur Creates Toy Powered by Imagination

Last week, at the largest maker showcase on the planet, MakerBloks, a Montreal-based startup, won the hearts and minds of thousands of children, parents and industry professionals. With their educational toy MakerBloks, founder and CEO Francois Poirier and his team are on a mission to inspire and empower kids to create the next generation of hardware. Comprised of magnetic building blocks, MakerBloks gives kids a fun introduction to the world of electronics. Having gotten his business off the ground, Francois has a ton of great advice for any entrepreneur.

WHERE DID THE INSPIRATION FOR YOUR BUSINESS COME FROM?

While attempting to build a wireless breathalyzer at a previous startup, my business partner and I discovered that neither of us knew anything about electronics. Thankfully, we had another electronics-savvy friend to help us. But, even though he was incredibly talented, we found ourselves having to blindly trust in his ability. That sparked my interest in learning the basics of electronics.

At the same time, my then 7-year-old niece started to get interested in science. I thought it might be fun to learn the basics of electronics together, so I bought learning kits and games which all ended up back in their boxes because they were just boring. Kids today are tech-savvy. We can’t just offer them things like breadboards, wires and springs and expect great results. I decided I would come up with a better solution.

WHAT’S YOUR ELEVATOR PITCH?

MakerBloks are electronic building blocks to introduce children as young as six to their first electronic circuits. We complement our building system with an iPad app and game that recognizes and reacts to our MakerBloks, so kids can build real circuits that will react in a virtual world.

WHAT’S THE BEST LESSON LEARNED THUS FAR?

Be very careful when choosing the people you work with. Sadly, sometimes people try to claim a piece of your business for themselves. It’s just a part of doing business, but you still have to keep going.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST SUCCESS?

Winning the 2015 Maker Faire Editors Choice award was a huge success! We managed to get children, the most honest and ruthless critics out there, really excited about MakerBloks. We couldn’t ask for more!

Related Post: Friends Turn Hobby Into a Small Business Success Story

WHAT HAS BEEN THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU’VE BEEN GIVEN?

Never be afraid to ask for anything. The worst they can do is say no.

IF YOU COULD GO BACK TO THE BEGINNING, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE YOURSELF?

Make time for your personal life. A healthy lifestyle, nutrition, exercise, and an occasional night out with friends will be very beneficial in the long run.

WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD?

Our mission is to create the next generation of engineers who will come up with ideas so bright they’ll make ours obsolete.

FINAL THOUGHTS

There are some great pearls of wisdom in here. Ask people for whatever you need to make your business a success. As Francois says, “The worst they can do is say no.” As well, don’t rush into business relationships. Whether it’s a co-founder, advisor, or even a supplier, it can have a big impact on your business. You can also check out the MakerBlok Kickstarter campaign here. Thanks so much to Francois and the MakerBloks team!

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Image courtesy of MakerBloks.


Originally published at www.businessforbeginners.ca.

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