Ever wonder where inventors and companies find the technical materials needed to manufacture their products? Traditionally, inventors could find materials at trade shows or could order the products via trade magazines. Unfortunately, both channels have many drawbacks, including travel, connectivity and accessibility. Chicago-based Inventables has entered the scene has an online marketplace for materials where vendors can advertise their products and engineers and designers can easily find these materials. And the site has just closed a $2 million funding round from True Ventures.
Inventables allows vendors to create online profiles for their products in order to generate sales leads. Customers, ranging from mega companies such as Procter and Gamble to individual inventors, who are looking to source new materials and technologies can browse through these profiles and submit inquiries about products they are interested in. Each vendor profile includes exact details on composition, makeup and use of the material, commercial uses for the material, similar materials and more. Products range from electroluminescent fabric to concentrated cheese flavor powder. The site currently lists over 1500 different materials and technologies.
As a vendor, (e.g. Dupont, RTP Company, MDI Products), you are notified by email each time your Inventables profile receives a new inquiry and given an opportunity to purchase the corresponding sales lead from Inventables. It’s free for vendors to list their products; they only pay Inventables for specific leads that they are interested in.
The essence of Inventables is that it helps vendors develop “sales leads worth their time”. The site’s cognitive technology, remembers and “learns” what kinds of materials the potential buyers are interested in and will suggests similar products based on this. The investment from True Ventures is going to be used towards further product development and to hire additional software engineers.
Launched in January, the site doesn’t include a ton of bells and whistles and has a fairly simple userface; but it’s easy to navigate and serves a genuine purpose in the materials and technology industry. And Inventables is already gaining the attention of Fortune 500 companies and prominent brands such as Palm, Microsoft, PING Golf Clubs, and Kraft Foods.
Inventables is the hardware store for designers. The company is attempting to bring manufacturing from the factory to the desktop making it as accessible as desktop publishing. Inventables sells machines and supplies for small business manufactures to make products ranging from jewelry and signs to furniture. Each day customers select from a catalog of 30,000 products most of which if ordered by 3pm are shipped same day.