Electroninks

Electroninks is the maker of Circuit Scribe, a rollerball pen that writes with non-toxic conductive silver ink, which makes creating circuits as easy as doodling. Their goal is to make circuits intuitive and accessible to the widest audience possible. As a result of their partnership with Autodesk, Electroninks now has an online simulator. With Autodesk’s 12D Circuits Simulator, users can print projects to build circuits from, and design and share schematics online. The company also offers pens, interactive modules and a variety of kits for sale.
Basic Circuit Scribe Kit
Basic Circuit Scribe Kit

The company was founded in 2013, and funded successfully in 2014 by over 12,000 Kickstarter backers with $674,000, which was raised in a little over a month. Much of this success was due to their impressive promotional video that went viral.

Professor Jennifer Lewis, Co-Founder
Professor Jennifer Lewis, Co-Founder
Co-Founder Brett Walker
Co-Founder Brett Walker
Co-Founder Analisa Russo
Co-Founder Analisa Russo
Electroninks was born out of Professor Jennifer Lewis’ research lab in the University of Illinois Research Park (Lewis is now at Harvard), along with Illinois PhD students Brett Walker and Analisa Russo, and Harvard PhD student Michael Bell.

The entrepreneurial ecosystem at Illinois played a large role in the development of Electroninks. Walker stated, “The infrastructure that’s in place at the University of Illinois and the state of Illinois in general as far as startups are concerned and the Chicago tech community has allowed us to start and have a really strong foundation in a much more efficient manner than the East Coast. For us to start the business on the East Coast would mean we’d immediately have to have a large investor on board just to do anything. And despite the fact that there are a lot of universities out in Boston, access to facilities is limited and very expensive. Here we have access to world-class equipment and high-quality research in the university infrastructure. It’s so much better here.” Quote from June 26, 2014 Blue Sky Innovation article.

Electroninks has since moved their material development and manufacturing facilities to Austin, Texas, but Walker credits his success to his time at Illinois, “This couldn’t have been possible without the support of the Technology Entrepreneur Center, all the people at Illinois, and Electronink’s work with University of Illinois’ NSF I-Corps Program.” Quote from Jan. 7, 2014 Techli Chicago.