Dominic Menegon is currently developing Legendor: a player versus player dice game. Each die is an elaborately designed encapsulation of a fantasy character. During gameplay, each die possesses unique attacks and defenses appropriate to their character.
Working with Mohawk College and Innovation Factory, Legendor is currently planning a Kickstarter campaign that will launch in summer 2017.
We caught up with Dominic to discuss his thoughts and challenges surrounding entrepreneurship and how being an Innovation Factory client has helped to accelerate his business.
WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION FOR YOUR COMPANY?
I was let go from a job and wanted to use my skills in computer animation to start something new. Advances in 3D printing have opened up so many new possibilities. I went on crowdfunding sites and stumbled across some campaigns for custom dice. What I saw wasn’t particularly impressive, so I though I could put together something people would find interesting.
WHAT DO YOU FIND MOST REWARDING ABOUT BEING AN ENTREPRENEUR? WHAT DO YOU FIND THE MOST CHALLENGING?
I enjoy the creativity of the dice design process. Even making edges and corners match up takes forethought. It’s challenging because they are dodecahedrons (12 sided). I also like the freedom of being my own boss and going in whatever direction I see fit. A passion for learning and success drives me forward.
Since starting a business, I’ve discovered I still have a lot to learn. I’ve accepted that I’ll make some mistakes but I’m careful to make sure they are not expensive mistakes.
ENTREPRENEURSHIP – HOW HAS IT DEFIED (OR LIVED UP TO) YOUR EXPECTATIONS?
I found that things take longer than you’d expect and I was hitting a lot of dead ends. I’d have to pivot when the “right way” turned out to be unviable or impossible. Friends and family that I thought would be interested in my business weren’t and others that I thought wouldn’t care ask about it all the time.
HOW DID YOU BECOME INVOLVED WITH INNOVATION FACTORY?
I saw articles in The Hamilton Spectator about entrepreneurs trying to get their products to market and how Innovation Factory helped guide them. I wanted to start on the right foot and get the right guidance from people with experience. When I first spoke with Innovation Factory they advised me to enter a pitch competition. I found that being involved in something like that gave me momentum, even though I’m still scared of public speaking.
WHAT HAVE YOU VALUED MOST ABOUT INNOVATION FACTORY’S SERVICES/SUPPORT?
Innovation Factory has helped me in so many different ways. I’ve attended a number of workshops on everything from product design to working with programmers. I have also attended months long classes that went into detail on starting a business. The staff has always been positive and constructive in their comments. They have made important introductions for me and opened doors that were crucial to moving forward. At each appointment, we would plan future milestones and build a business plan. They have also obtained industry related reports for me that give a clear view of the business landscape and upcoming trends.
HOW DO YOU MEASURE SUCCESS?
Right now, it’s the satisfaction of having all the dice designed and printed. Holding something in my hand that was only in my head for two years is exciting. With my coming Kickstarter campaign, I hope to build Legendor to the next level and see some financial rewards.
WHAT DIFFERENTIATES YOU FROM YOUR COMPETITION?
There are a number of large dice companies and some smaller hobbyist makers. My dice are different because of their designs. When I began, I wanted each die to be the embodiment of a fantasy character. By adhering to that philosophy, I’ve made each unique.
WHAT IS THE BEST RECOGNITION YOU HAVE RECEIVED?
Since I’m still a one-man company and have yet to get to market, I’d say the reaction from people at the fairs I’ve attended. It’s really motivating to hear their feedback on my designs. I’ve also been accepted into the OVBTE program at Mohawk College so I can get my dice 3D printed. I have to thank Innovation Factory for introducing me to the college’s 3D printing lab.
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE NEXT YEAR AND BEYOND?
I plan to get my Kickstarter campaign off the ground in the summer. There will be a lot of preparation beforehand. I’ll be getting moulds made and finishing the rotocaster (a two frame rotation machine for making hollow castings). I will also be exploring the possibility of integrating emerging technology into the product. It will utilize the design skills I’ve learned from Legendor and hopefully attract a larger audience.
WHAT SUPPORT WILL YOU LOOK TO INNOVATION FACTORY FOR IN THE COMING MONTHS?
Innovation Factory will be instrumental in guiding me through the crowdfunding process with things like promotion, pricing, and marketing. Their support will be invaluable as I continue to push the limitations of 3D printing and explore other technological fields.
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR ASPIRING ENTREPRENEURS WHO MAY JUST HAVE AN IDEA?
Being hands on and solving problems yourself goes a long way. Find ways to stay optimistic will help when thing get rough, and be prepared to do a lot of research. Be open to learning new skills and listen to the advice of those more experienced than you. iF has a multitude of classes, talks, and workshops. They are powerful resource.
WHY IS HAMILTON THE HOME FOR YOUR COMPANY?
I have been a lifelong resident of Hamilton. I find the arts community vibrant and there is a lot of support here for small businesses.
HOW CAN WE CONNECT WITH YOU (website, social media, etc.)?
I have a Developer Blog on Twitter, @legendordice. I post about the ups and downs of getting Legendor off the ground.