Inc. Magazine features student startup CubeForme
CubeForme, a startup formed by Kyle Pham, a sophomore double majoring in cognitive science and philosophy, politics and law, and Nick Nguyen, a UC Irvine student, was featured in Inc. Magazine’s “16 Coolest College Startups of 2016” this March. The magazine pitted startups against each other in a tournament, and CubeForme has made it to the second round of competition.Pham and Nguyen created their startup with about $2000 in funding last fall. It sells a monthly subscription box filled with “3D-printed creations,” and Pham said the purpose is to connect designers with audiences.“Each month, we feature a different designer, and we use their work to curate a themed box. Our angle is sort of pushing an appreciation of 3D printing and its creative possibilities,” Pham said.Though Pham and Nguyen’s academic backgrounds may not appear directly connected to 3D printing, Pham said the duo was drawn to entrepreneurship from the start.“Both of us have always had a desire to create a venture,” Pham said. “I think it really started later on in high school, where we kind of had joking discussions. But as college started, we realized there are all these resources available to us, and there was that real sense of a startup culture.”Though CubeForme has sold only about 60 boxes since its inception, Pham is grateful for the gradual growth — especially since the company’s 3D printer is housed outside co-founder Nguyen’s bedroom.“[It’s] is a very small number,” Pham said. “Ultimately, we’re looking to grow a lot by focusing on branding, collaborations and hosting giveaways, just getting the product out there first. But I almost appreciate that it’s been gradual so far because it’s made it much easier to balance with the rest of my life.”Pham said the idea of subscription-based 3D-printed art arose from a desire to “impact 3D printing as an industry.” CubeForme has sought out popular designers online to create the products that go into each box.“It differs each month. Artistic objects are one kind of thing you can receive, but other months it might be more gadget-based. Other times it’s more interactive, kind of toy-based,” Pham said.After a failed Kickstarter fund last fall, CubeForme found success after entering Inc. Magazine’s contest this spring. Criteria for the contest included concept originality, each entry’s pitch and growth potential.