Founder Friday: Oscar Pedroso, Thimble.io

These days, there are countless subscription services that deliver boxes of health and beauty products, snacks, and even toys for pets to your door each month. But these services are typically focused on consumer products.

Thimble.io is different from other subscription services, using this popular delivery method to engage people of all ages that have an interest in building electronics or coding. Each month, you receive a toolkit to create items like clocks, robots, even drones, and there is an online Learning Platform that will take you step-by-step through the construction process.

The startup was born out of a passion for building and creativity, with the hope that these kits will inspire people to pursue their interest in programming and technology. Like many others with a business idea, they initially turned to Kickstarter for financial support. Within just a couple of months, they became the most successful crowdfunding campaign in Western New York – and still hold that title today.

Learn more about Oscar Pedroso’s startup, which is now part of the Z80 Labs family, in this week’s Founder Friday.

How did your startup, well, start up?

I worked on a previous company called GradFly that didn’t quite work out. A lot of my lessons learned from that venture allowed me to identify a problem that people would pay to have solved. After going through Startup Next and connecting with my cofounder, David Brenner, we decided to put all of our energy into the new concept that would be called Thimble.io.

What do you do? Your startup?

We’re a subscription box company that teaches kids and adults how to build robots, drones, and other electronics. Each month they receive a new project, and our video tutorials and step-by-step instructions walk them through how to build each project from start to finish. No experience necessary.

When was the ‘aha’ moment for your startup when you realized this could actually work?

Shortly after posting an AMA on Reddit, we received around 600 email addresses in 3 days from people interested in the concept. This was our first moment of surprise. After that, we were blown away by our Kickstarter campaign, where we sold $300,000 worth of product in less than 60 days. We are the most successful crowdfunding campaign in Western New York to-date.

What tools can you not live without and why?

Computer, phone, and soldering iron – it’s what makes most of our day here at Thimble.

What was some important advice you received when starting up and who told it to you?

“Go with your gut; no one knows your business better than you do.” Not sure who told me this but it has stuck with me since the early days of GradFly.

What is the best part/worst part of your day as a founder?

Best part: Receiving emails from happy customers
Worst part: Trying to figure out how to prioritize my day. No day is the same and sometimes I wish I had three of me so I could get everything done. That will never happen.

Goals for the next year? Three years?

  1. Move into a private office; we’re slowly outgrowing our space at the Innovation Center.
  2. Get to 25,000 subscribers by 2019, which equates to about $20MM in annual recurring revenue. No doubt we can make it.
  3. Build team to 7 people by 2018.

How do you do it? What drives you?

There’s no formula for doing this. Certainly there’s a process involved and you make some of that up as you go along. What drives me: I enjoy the pressure of growing a venture that could fall apart at any point. Any company can fall apart. The accomplishments, milestones, and rewards keep us focused and determined to get to the end.