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Engineering student pitches toy startup

Noah Faust at Wakeup StartupWritten by Karlie Frank

Amidst the technology startup frenzy of new apps, software and websites, Buckeye engineering student Noah Faust has created what some might call an old school product: flat, wooden shapes that interlock to form 3-D creations.

Faust, a second-year electrical and computer engineering major, pitched his product—called Conjoynts—at the Ohio State Technology Commercialization Office’s Wakeup Startup event on February 14.

Wakeup Startup is an entrepreneur driven movement that works to bridge the gap between Ohio State and the Columbus community in support of startup ventures. The event allows founders to pitch their companies, or ideas for companies, to a group of entrepreneurs, investors, students, faculty and the Columbus community. Anyone with an idea can apply to pitch at the events, where the goal is to give entrepreneurs feedback and industry connections.

Faust said he made vital connections at the event for help with toy-licensing and manufacturing going forward. It’s another way his enterprising efforts have benefitted from the network Ohio State provides.

“The community within Ohio State has helped me, and Columbus is a hub for entrepreneurship, Faust said. “I’m also involved with the Buckeye Entrepreneurship Association, which is a student organization at Ohio State.”

Faust created Conjoynts when he had time to spare after finishing a project early in his last year of high school.

“I wanted to experiment with the new laser cutter the high school engineering program received. I had an idea, inspired by those dinosaur and building kits in museum gift shops, to make wooden pieces that connect with slots. So I started cutting out different shapes on leftover scrap plywood,” Faust said. “I cut out a few angled pieces and left them on my engineering teacher’s desk.”

After seeing the number of students who enjoyed playing with the pieces, Faust’s teacher encouraged him to make more and turn it into a business venture.

The great thing about Conjoynts, Faust said, is their universal appeal.

“It’s a blank slate for you to release your creativity and come up with your own crazy contraptions and designs,” he said. 

During the summer of 2012, Faust registered his product on Kickstarter—an online funding platform for entrepreneurs to share their ideas and receive monetary pledges toward the product or idea’s fundraising goal.

He raised $5,673, almost 150 percent of his goal, with backers from 18 countries. From there, Faust was able to create the first generation of Conjoynt sets.

Moving forward, his plan is to submit a provisional patent application for the most recent version of Conjoynts, and then hire an expert from the toy industry to help him market the wooden building toy.

As for his future career, Faust said he’s not completely sure what he wants to do after college, but he knows his major will make him an asset anywhere.

“Everyone from every industry needs an electrical engineer, whether it’s signal processing or embedded systems. There’s a huge range of industries you can get involved in.”