Spotlight on Gabriela Trueba, Founder & CEO of Startup, WOMP
One of ten businesses in the 2019 STANLEY+Techstars class of 2019, WOMP is a 3D startup originating from Brooklyn, New York. With an all-women board, the company is passionate about enabling women to have leadership and technical positions in 3D tech, media, and digital manufacturing. The WOMP team describes its business as an all-in-one platform for anybody to easily access 3D tech. Put simply, WOMP allows anyone to create, interact, share and print their ideas all in one place... with zero knowledge required. This Maker Month, we caught up with Founder and CEO Gabriela Trueba to find out more about WOMP’s journey and its plans for the future:
How did WOMP get started?
I began working in the creative industry with artists, on the fabrication side, using 3D technology. I taught myself how to create 3D models and realized I wanted to pursue a career in this space. During this time, I discovered the barriers that currently existed in implementing 3D in everyday applications. The software was difficult to use, expensive and resource-heavy in terms of computing power. So, I set out to uncover what people would need to be able to interact with 3D software more intuitively, using artificial intelligence. That’s how WOMP was created.
Our team consists of individuals with all kinds of backgrounds from creatives to architects. We have worked with more than 300 people from students, to moms and dads, to companies, to build a software platform that allows anyone to make, modify or render in 3D. It’s a kind of ecosystem that enables you to test objects and make predictions before you get to the point of printing.
What’s the story behind the unique WOMP name?
Womp is the sound of creation, when listening to all of the printers running all I could hear was womp, womp, womp, womp.
What are the benefits of WOMP’s technology and its applications for consumers or businesses?
WOMP could be used to create anything. We’ve had interest from education institutions to mechanical engineers, but the applications are endless. The idea is to make 3D fun and creative. For instance, if you’re missing a piece from a board game, you could create a new one easily. We had a request recently from a customer who wanted to replace a broken door handle at home. He was able to reverse-engineer the handle and re-create the design as a custom-built part, but significantly, he was able to make the item stronger than the original.
You are a female-led organization. How has this influenced the business?
We’re a 100% female team. There is no hierarchy within the business. When we hire, we look for the right people for the job. They don’t need to have engineering degrees or specific qualifications like that, although some do, of course. Employees are free to discuss ideas, and the team listens. It’s a creative and open culture. We have grown naturally, and people love working with us. There are no barriers to progress here.
How important are programs like the STANLEY+Techstars initiative to companies like WOMP?
Well, they are pivotal… game-changing. Since being part of STANLEY+Techstars, we have improved our vision and our workflow significantly. It has had a major influence on how our business now works. I would recommend it unreservedly to any startup business.
What advice would you give to other startups looking for support in the technology sector?
Apply for STANLEY+Techstars! It’s so powerful. Being attached to a large company like Stanley Black & Decker and knowing how your technology can add value and benefit them, and their customers in the real world, is priceless.
What plans does WOMP have for the future?
We have some ambitious plans. We are starting to build a new platform which we will pilot with select universities, businesses and individuals. There is also a mobile app in development. We’re looking forward to a big launch next year.
October is Maker Month at Stanley Black & Decker. How vital do you think initiatives like this are for highlighting the skills gap in manufacturing and engineering, and encouraging young people – and particularly women – to pursue STEAM careers?
It was actually a similar initiative that inspired me to follow my own career. This kind of program is vital and has helped to democratize making. It’s changing the culture of who can make things. These supportive programs inspire people – particularly girls – to discover new technology and follow STEAM careers. It’s great to see companies highlighting makers with campaigns such as Maker Month. After all, there is a maker inside all of us! Young people can see that they don’t need to be a scientist to succeed. It’s very empowering.
For more inspiring Maker Month stories, please visit https://www.stanleyblackanddecker.com/social-responsibility/maker-month