Nisan Lerea is the Co-Founder and CEO of WAZER.
Tell us about your business.
“WAZER has developed the first desktop water jet cutter. It’s the first time that this type of device, which can cut any material digitally, will be available in a wide variety of settings in virtually any workshop. Our design allows people to cut intricate designs into durable materials that can be used to make actual, finished parts and goods that can be functional and can last.”
When was WAZER founded?
Lerea and his co-founder, Matthew Nowicki, both University of Pennsylvania Engineering graduates, founded WAZER in the summer of 2015. “I originally did research as an undergraduate with a team of students in 2012. There, as engineers, we didn’t have a water jet cutter because they’re really big and very expensive. So, we had access to a lot of cool digital tools, but we ended up still finding ourselves spending a lot of time cutting a lot of metal parts by hand. So the idea of my senior thesis was essentially building the school a low-cost, small-scale water jet cutter. We built the original prototype at UPenn, and then we all graduated, worked in the industry for a few years, developed our skills, and a few years later, WAZER was born.”
What makes your company a leader in your industry?
“This is the first water jet that can be available for any small workshop. There really isn’t anything like it right now because the existing water jet companies are limited to industrial applications that are incredibly costly machines.”
Who or what has influenced you and your team?
“We’re a team of engineers who all graduated from Penn Engineering and we all like to make things ourselves.” Lerea and some of his team used to make race cars each year for an engineering club at UPenn and race them against other schools in an international competition. “We all have experience making things and the idea of being able to make a tool that can enable more people to be making things themselves and to be making a tool that can allow individuals and businesses and schools to be making things cheaper, faster, and more customized in a way that can compete with traditional mass manufacturing on a small-scale is really exciting to us.”
What contributions have you made and are willing to take towards the world?
WAZER is really excited to make their tool available to people who will use it to create solutions to worldwide problems. “We want to enable more people make things themselves. We believe we are entering the age of personal manufacturing and we’re going to have a lot of companies solving targeted, custom problems in hardware with solutions that they’re able to implement using smaller tools that are more customizable. We would also like to see this machine in schools and provide students with smart, digital tools that will hopefully get them excited about manufacturing and engineering so that they can translate their ideas into the physical world.”
What key qualities do you look for in team members?
Now that WAZER is growing as a company, they are looking to expand their team in order to tackle the challenges that come along with delivering their product. “We’re always looking for people that are out-of-the-box thinkers and people who can wear a lot of hats.”
How does the WAZER work?
“We pressurized water so that it comes out as a high-velocity, very thin stream, and then we inject the stream with sand-like particles, and that combination exits the nozzle erodes through the work piece. The cutting method is erosion—kind of like how a river cuts out a valley, we just do it on a much faster time scale.”
What’s the coolest thing you’ve made using the WAZER?
“I think the things we’ve put up on our Kickstarter—from the penny necklace, to the custom knife blade, to the tile mosaics, are all pretty sweet and really show the breadth of what this machine can do.”
What words of advice do you have for others looking turn their concept into a business?
“I think the first, and most important thing you have to do is make sure that you’re solving a problem or filling a need. We were lucky enough to figure that out early-on after working on this while we were in school and getting some publicity from it. We had people reaching out to us asking us to develop this product from just a project into something we can buy. So, we talked to a lot of people across a variety of industries and after speaking to them we were able to convince ourselves that we were making something that was sorely needed.”
For more information about WAZER, be sure to visit their Kickstarter page: https://goo.gl/YwuInJ
Contributed by: Super Julie Braun Written/Edited By: Alexandria Rae Martinez, PR Agent