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A Shop to Build Your Hit Product

Published on December 1, 2012
by Deborah Gage

When Anton Willis moved into an apartment in San Francisco and had to put his fiberglass kayak in storage, the architect began experimenting with a kayak that could fold up. He turned that idea into reality this year at TechShop, a three-story workshop in the city outfitted with 3-D printers, laser cutters and other sophisticated tools to develop products and prototypes.

With partner Ardy Sobhani, Mr. Willis used TechShop’s tools and space to create a 12-foot, 25-pound plastic kayak that folds into the size of a suitcase. In October, the pair started a company, Oru Kayak Inc., which is raising money on the fundraising site Kickstarter and has so far snagged more than $220,000.

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