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.
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.