REDWOOD CITY, Calif., March 16, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Zazzle, in an effort to find, develop and nurture local manufacturing and entrepreneurism, today announced five finalists for its Million Dollar Open Innovation Challenge.
In association with MIT's Smart Customization Group and UC Berkeley's Center for Open Innovation, Zazzle created the challenge to encourage entrepreneurial manufacturers to embrace the growing consumer trend of real-time personalized manufacturing and mass customization.
"We were blown away by the volume and creativity of the applications for the Challenge," said Jeff Beaver, Zazzle co-founder and chief product officer. "I'd like to congratulate the five Finalists who rose to the top – we look forward to working with them to develop successful businesses that will provide innovative products to millions of customers around the world."
The Finalists are:
- Republic Bike – Allows customers to pick, choose, swap and decide on designs for their bikes shaking up a familiar aesthetic and expectations of what a bike should look like.
- Selve – Modernizes the luxury, made-to-measure European footwear experience, while adhering to old world manufacturing techniques and utilizing only the highest quality materials.
- YouBar – Enables anyone to fully customize nutrition bars; including ingredients, portion sizes and packaging, addressing multiple needs and profiles.
- DODOcase – Creates an extended line of iPad and Kindle cases and accessories to protect, preserve and honor beauty, art, craft and purpose, while helping to build local communities by supporting artisan manufacturing.
- Designscape – Offers beautiful, unique, affordable and customizable accessories, products and home goods through sustainable materials, while applying a modern design sensibility.
Each of the five finalists' business models will be refined for final evaluation and presentation to a panel of expert Judges, including Bing Gordon of Kleiner Perkins, Jeff Beaver, co-founder of Zazzle, Professor Frank Pillar of MIT's Smart Customization Group, Professor Henry Cheesbrough, faculty director of the Garwood Center for Corporate Innovation, Professor Solomon Darwin, associate director of UC Berkeley's Center for Open Innovation and Elizabeth Litten Miller, head of creative, global licensing and publishing at Hasbro. The winner will be announced on March 22 at the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley and online at Zazzle.com/challenge.
Zazzle is the world's leading platform for quality custom products. Zazzle's proprietary technology enables individuals, professional artists, and major brands, including Disney and Hallmark, to create and offer billions of unique products for customers worldwide. Zazzle's rapidly expanding product base covers every topic imaginable and includes t-shirts, business cards and invitations, in addition to a variety of custom gifts. Upon creation, products are instantly and accurately visualized on the site and offered in the Zazzle marketplace. When ordered, each product is made on-demand, typically within 24 hours. Launched in 2005 and based in Redwood City, California, Zazzle's vision is to redefine commerce, powered by the world's imagination. Find more at www.zazzle.com.