TinyCircuits is an Open Source Hardware company specializing in designing and manufacturing very small (Tiny) electronics. The company was started in 2011 with the goal to create easy-to-use modular electronics that plug together quickly (like little electronic legos) to create complex projects and products. TinyCircuits received initial funding via a Kickstarter campaign in the fall of 2012, which raised enough money ($109K) to build up their design and manufacturing operation in downtown Akron.
Being a very small startup, wise use of money is critical, and they’ve had a tremendous benefit using students from colleges and universities in northeast Ohio to fill the majority of roles in the company. TinyCircuits has students from Stark State College assisting with electronics production; a software contractor student from KSU helping with smartphone app development; and have heavily relied on engineering students from the University of Akron’s Co-Op program to fill engineering roles. A current co-op student from Akron, Ben Rose, has played a critical part in new product development at TinyCircuits, including leading the product design of the new TinyScreen product, which is a quarter-sized display that can be used in applications such as smart watches. TinyScreen launched on Kickstarter in the fall of 2014 to huge success, raising $130K in one month.
Ken Burns, president and founder of TinyCircuits, started the company as a side project in a spare bedroom of his house in 2011. Today, students help grow his company. Ken knows first-hand the value of the experience that these students are receiving, as he was a co-op student from the University of Akron.
“My Co-Op experience gave me my first exposure to engineering in a real-world business environment, and taught me lessons that I could never learn in school,” Burns said.
For more information on TinyCircuits, please visit tiny-circuits.com.