Startup in the spotlight: Mission Control Lab

“Mission Control Lab is all about building the inventor in you”

In Startup in the spotlight we showcase our wonderful portfolio of regional startups and their founders. This time we introduce Jessica Cobb Lawrence, founder of Mission Control Lab, winner of the Dragons Den-pitch at the Talent Event.

"Mission Control Lab creates cutting-edge experiences with our Makes. Makes are a collection of materials, tools, kits and project applications. Our products create connections between high technology and people that invite and prepare them for the 4th Industrial Revolution. We shorten the distance between industry and education through inventive play. Our Makes are supported by free videos online where kids manipulate materials, experiment, and apply their ideas into real prototypes. Our products are truly incredibly because we have lowered the age and increased the possibilities of STEM education by offering visual, hands-on, artful learning & experience based “makes” for kids the ages of 5+”

Push the limits of design engineering & technology
"I was born in Chicago and went to university for 9 years. I studied developmental psycho-biology, sculpture, and art and technology. I started as an entrepreneur very early and found myself working on high-tech solutions for different customers in different countries. I worked on high level tech projects with Google, The BBC, and Fire Tech, where I created smart skateboards, interactive fashion for celebrities like Tom Jones, were I pushed the limits of design engineering and technology. Through all these experiences I discovered that my strength is stimulating people to develop creative applications themselves and be leaders. With Mission Control lab, I am building on that idea. In this company it is not about what we make and think as founders, but that we can encourage people to contribute to the world in amazing ways with the right resources to become innovators and global participants themselves.”

"After travelling the world with my husband, who is South-African Dutch, we decided to stay in the Netherlands, in Utrecht. We really love the charm of the city. Utrecht is incredibly loyal to the heritage of Dutch culture, to the roots of the Netherlands. Utrecht is not as internationally socially centered as the Hague or Amsterdam. That local focus contributes even more to the charm of the city, I think.”

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“We are growing fast. We have recently exhibited our Makes in Eindhoven, Rome, and soon Paris. Since launching the products in September 100s of people now use our Makes, as well as several institutions in Europe. We are getting very positive feedback from experts, educators, parents and the children themselves. Now it’s time to scale-up. Our biggest competitor, KiwiCo, has a turnover of ten million euros. It shows that the market for our Makes is huge… And that if we take the right commercial steps, we too can quickly become very big.”

You participated recently in the Dragons Den-pitch at the Talent Event in Utrecht that you won, why did you participate in the first place?
“As mentioned, we are driven to bring Mission Control Lab to the next level. But we can't do that alone. We need to find a savvy business manager, someone with a special eye for our products and the market potential. The talent event, and the dragon's den pitch gave me the opportunity not only to pitch my idea, but also get to ask these experienced entrepreneurs for help in finding such a commercial genius. Next to that, we also need a bit of financing for branding the Makes we produce for the kids. The Dragons Den-pitch at the Talent Event seemed like a good place to drop these questions and get the critical feedback we need.”

"My tip for other starting entrepreneurs is that you must show up, be available and make the time to be with other entrepreneurs. Big ideas and businesses don’t exist in a vacuum and people must like you! It takes time to learn the soft skills, how to express yourself to the point that people want to work with you. One more thing, I learned this in art school, is that you must walk away from the art sometimes so you can come back and see it for how it really is. If you never look away you, you never see what is effective, and the things that truly need more work. An artwork is never truly finished- but completed once the objectives are satisfied enough”.

Join the team!
“Do you know any business managers looking to join a team? Email me at jessica@missioncontrollab.com. We are also looking for trainees and investors! And People can come visit us in the Zelfgemaakte Markt - December 15 + 16 in Vredenburg!

Learn more about Mission Control Lab