MENLO PARK, Calif. (WWJ) — TechShop, a membership-based do-it-yourself workshop and fabrication center, Monday announced a goal to raise $60 million to build more TechShop centers across the country, including one in Grand Rapids.

TechShop already has a location in Allen Park in a former Ford Motor Co. engineering center.

The new fundraising by TechShop is possible because a critical part of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, which lifted the ban on general solicitation and advertising for certain investment offerings, goes into effect today.

The JOBS Act is intended to jumpstart our economy by creating opportunities for small businesses, startups and entrepreneurs. It eases regulations on the funding of U.S. small businesses to spur growth and pave the way for them to create more jobs. TechShop can now invite a broader group of investors, which includes smaller and community-minded investors, to participate in the business and bring TechShop to their cities.

An early adopter of crowdfunding, TechShop has a proven record of attracting smaller investors to support building center in Menlo Park, San Francisco and San Jose, Calif., where restrictions on solicitations are not as onerous. The company will continue to embrace small investments as a key to its participatory and community-based business model, and to seek corporate and institutional partnerships like those in place with Ford Motor Co., Arizona State University and Autodesk. The TechShop model is unique and powerful, proven by the fact that the prototypes for successful companies like Square and Dodocase were born at TechShop.

To raise its $60 million target and empower more makers across the country, TechShop will seek support from individual and corporate investors.

Besides Grand Rapids, other TechShop locations are planned for Chandler, Ariz.; Los Angeles, Calif.; Menlo Park, Calif.; Chicago, Ill.; Cedar Valley, Iowa; Boston, Mass.; Baltimore, Md.; St. Louis, Mo.; New York, N.Y.; Portland, Ore.; Pittsburgh, Pa. (expanded programming); Arlington, Va.; and Seattle, Wash.

The company will ask for the public’s opinion, crowdsourcing the identification of additional communities TechShop can best serve. TechShop is asking people to go to to learn more about investing in TechShop or to vote for their hometown to be the next TechShop location.

Founded in October 2006, TechShops provide access to a vibrant community of creative people and more than $1 million worth of high quality machines, tools and software. TechShop offers classes, workshops, instruction and meet-ups for people of all ages and skill levels.


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