There aren’t many startups whose entrance is preceded by a long and winding dirt road, an army station across the street, and a massive clothing factory nearby. But Innovation Factory is uniquely placed in the heart of Lebanon’s industrial city, Dekwaneh, away from the country’s usual startup hubs.
‘The Factory’, as nicknamed by its team, is a renovated furniture factory new to Lebanon’s startup scene.
Launched in 2016, the startup offers a coworking space, access to a fabrication lab that includes heavy duty machinery for woodworking, metalworking and digital fabrication, as well as expert craftsmen.
Not even a year old, Innovation Factory hopes to be where product ideas are developed, created and tested, reworked, built again, tested again, reworked, etcetera.
“When you are prototyping you have to do multiple iterations quickly, Innovation Factory has been the most efficient way for us to do that,” said Emile Arayes, cofounder of Lebanon-based Modeo.
“Before, we were working on a small 3D printer in our office, prototyping with small things. But now that we want to move to a prototype that is well engineered and heavy duty, we have to use professional machines to make it ready for the market,” he added.
The space is particularly critical in that it fills a gap for hardware startups hoping to follow similar paths as Lebanese product-based companies, most notably Instabeat and Roadie Tuner. It also allows founders and product designers to build and test their prototype or MVP - accelerating their R&D, before it’s ready to be mas produced in China or elsewhere.
“Back in 2012, when we started developing hardware in Lebanon it was very hard. There were zero resources to help us build products or prototype,” said Hassane Slaibi, cofounder of Band Industries.
“We felt it is so cool to have something like this in Lebanon - to have access to prototyping tools and access to the community to learn and share from other developing hardware,” he added.
Watch our video to get more inside access to the new Innovation Factory.