Zach made the 40 under 40!
Zach Kaplan is sure we’re in the early stages of a third industrial revolution. There’s even a term for it—the “maker movement”—that’s seeping into the national dialogue. “I believe it’s going to be the largest source of net new job growth in the next two decades,” says the Northbrook native, spinning in his chair at the West Loop headquarters of his 12-year-old e-commerce company, Inventables.
An online hardware store that sells 3-D printers, laser cutters and the like to designers and tinkerers, the company has grown exponentially thanks to cheaper technology and the rise of the DIY culture. In three years, Inventables has nearly tripled in size: Its customer base has rocketed to 27,000 from 4,000, and Kaplan now employs 30. In 2013, he raised $3 million from Draper Associates and other investors. “This idea that you can make things at home instead of buying things off the rack is something he feels is happening,” says Richard Yoo, founder of Rackspace U.S., a cloud-based hosting company. “He shares it with whoever he can.”