Company name: Blue Ring Technologies
Headquarters: 2240 SW 70th Ave., Suite J, Davie.
Concept: Blue Ring Technologies, a startup manufacturing company, specializes in helping entrepreneurs and businesses develop their ideas, manufacture their products and realize their dreams.
Story: Blue Ring Technologies began when its founder, Jay Prendes, was creating his own product, the Jayster, a keychain and app that used Bluetooth technology to find lost valuables. Having tech manufacturing experience with IBM and Motorola and a firm understanding of the development process, Prendes, a computer engineer, set out to assemble the necessary professional services to help bring Jayster to life and manufacture it in South Florida. Yet he found a lack of affordable engineering services that can help to prototype, design and manufacture plastic parts for small businesses within the immediate area.
Prendes decided to invest in 3D printing technology to help with his design process. Because of the success of his Kickstarter campaign in 2013, he was able to buy tooling equipment and injection-molding machines to help create Jayster in its product form. In the process, he began meeting fellow inventors who were seeking the same kind of services he put into place for Jayster: He saw a clear market need for a business with all the engineering services under one roof.
Today, Blue Ring Technologies handles hundreds of projects for clients ranging from individual, self-funded inventors who bring in ideas or rough prototypes for consumer products to larger companies such as Pavilion Furniture and Home Depot that may need a particular plastic part or project item manufactured. One of the products Blue Ring still manufactures is the former Jayster, which has undergone some iterations, was licensed by ShopLive, and is now called Beacon Plus.
Blue Ring Technologies provides additive manufacturing, 3D printing, rapid prototyping, product tooling and injection-molding services. In 2014, Blue Ring expanded into its 2,500-square-foot Davie facility. It has added 3D printers, CNC machines, which guide manufacturing tools by computer, and more advanced and larger-process injection-molding machines for plastic manufacturing, including with bio-degradable, eco-friendly plastics. A recent afternoon was abuzz with activity, as several of the machines were producing parts for companies, while engineers were working on designs and prototypes for other clients.
“We are most known for the ability to create products for our clients quickly and efficiently — in the most affordable manner possible,” said Prendes, 33, who worked for Motorola for seven years before jumping full time into entrepreneurship. “Though born with a focus on prototyping, Blue Ring has quickly evolved to become a one-stop shop for our clients, expertly bringing ideas from concept to finished product.”
Management: Joaquin “Jay” Prendes, president.
Employees: Rodrigo Lima, engineer/designer; Fernando Gomez, master machinist; Jesse Azueta, designer; Travis Pittman, machinist; Brian Fata, designer.
Financing: Raised $15,000 through Kickstarter in 2013. Now exploring raising capital for new equipment and ISO certification costs.
Recent milestones reached: “We have added CNC machines, moved into our larger Davie facility, added engineers to our team, started a tooling apprenticeship program, and signed major corporate accounts,” said Prendes, who earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer engineering at Florida International University. “We just purchased another professional 3D printer, expanding our prototyping capability.”
Biggest startup challenge: Hiring qualified team members to serve its growing client list. “Our team needs to be versatile, have experience in manufacturing and handle CNC machines. This is a very hard skill set to find,” he said.
Next step: Expansion through attaining full ISO 9001 certification, which will allow Blue Ring to pursue projects in the aerospace, medicine and government sectors. “We are seeking partnerships or investors that can help accelerate our ISO 9001 certification,” Prendes said.