A maker’s paradise awaited a startup from living room
Author: Eliška ze Spectoda
Since October, we have been using the Next Zone professional prototype lab as our manufacturing, office, showroom, and development incubator. It was created by rebuilding part of the unused premises of the Smíchov industrial school and gymnasium. The students themselves came up with the project. Now, in addition to the workshop, Next Zone also offers space for events and coworking for start-ups. And it opens its doors to the public.
Our company Spectoda is a classic startup. In the beginning, we didn’t have our own production facilities or offices. So we developed the lighting system (and made the glowing shoes for the dancers) right in our rented apartment in Letná. Sometimes all sorts of cables, soldering irons, and connectors were over our heads and cooking between computers was sometimes adventurous.
Better times came when we became members of the Forbes Ideal Place. During the summer Grow Club in Písek, Spectoda co-founder Anna Veselá met Radko Sáblík, director of the Smíchov Secondary Industrial School and Gymnasium, among others. After telling us about the living room startup and the problems with space, he offered our project a place to stay and grow. Right at his school.
So at the beginning of October 2021, we packed up all our working materials and the first assembled smart lamps and moved into the so-called makerspace, a modern lab called Next Zone.
From lathe to laser
SThe move gave us a boost mainly thanks to the technology that the lab is equipped with. We are now using more 3D printers, a laser, or an electric miter saw. We also have a CNC lathe, milling machine, and all welding technologies or drills. It’s quite a shift from the soldering iron in the living room.
Most importantly, we have more space for material storage and production. And we’ve got an inspiring environment full of active people who come up with all kinds of innovations. We support each other in creating extraordinary new projects. Next Zone is becoming an incubator for change, full of energy to do things differently.
This gave us an ideal venue for meetings and demonstrations of our system and the NARA lamp. If you want to see them in action, stop by for a coffee. Yes, we even have a coffee maker now! We’ll show you the production, the Next Zone space, and who’s behind Spectoda. All you have to do is reach out to co-founder Anna Veselá – call, email or send a message on LinkedIn.
Next Zone is the best place in Prague where we could currently be based. We would like to thank Radko Sáblík (CEO), Petr Štěpánek (CEO) and Patrik Seidl (COO) who made it possible and helped us move in. And we look forward to your visit!
Metal and concrete technicians’ dream in the school courtyard
The doors of the Next Zone – a professional prototype workshop – officially opened on 7 October 2021. However, the seeds had already been formed a year earlier. Students of the Smíchov Secondary School of Industry and Gymnasium, headed by Petr Štěpánek, came up with the idea to transform an unused part of the school premises. They turned it into a place where they could turn their own ideas into reality.
This project excited both the school’s director, Radko Sáblík, and Vít Šimral, councillor for education at the City Hall, who secured the necessary money.
Two companies are now “incubating” in the Next Zone – us (Spectoda) and Parsec. The event space hosts events focusing on technology, science and entrepreneurship. Members of the emerging community have the opportunity to work on their ideas in the Maker space.
>>> Join us! Get in touch with the smart heads at Next Zone and come check it out.