NextFab 2025 Washington Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19146 +1 (215) 921-3649

There’s no other place like this

Name: Laaté Olukotun,
NextFab Member: since 2011
Owner: Lollygig LLC

Laaté, an esteemed NextFab Member of over a year, is as accomplished as he is approachable.  After receiving his undergraduate degree in economics from Yale, he discovered design while working as a management consultant on emerging technologies like electronic ink.  Shortly after, he joined the Illinois Institute of Technology’s Masters of Design program, where he humbly states he was a “very fortunate student” to be chosen for Mayo Clinic’s prestigious SPARC innovation program.  During the 3-month internship, he lead a multi-disciplinary team to create an action plan for new staffing models, room layouts, and products, currently being developed by Mayo Clinic and Steelcase.

He describes his time at IIT as “heaven in every way, except one: there’s no time to actually make things!”  Even after a successful post-academia career at Steelcase, Laaté had a thirst to create.  

    • LaatĂ© Olukotun 05
So he worked fast.
Just weeks after Apple launched the iPad, Laaté, an expert in experience design, thought, “Wouldn’t it be cool if we could make this thing into a boombox?”  Two weeks later, BoomMaster – an app that turns an iPad into a virtual stereo – was born and topping the “What’s New?” section of iTunes.  
With his finger on the pulse of this entire new category of product, Laaté dove deep into a world unknown: soft goods.  “The process of knowing less than nothing to learning about manufacturing and processes was totally daunting.  I was a neophyte.”  His company, Lollygig LLC, launched the first generation of their signature product, the NapoleonGlove – a flexible iPad cover that allows users to hold tablets securely with one hand.  But, it was at NextFab where he perfected it.  Through classes, workshops, and sourcing the expertise of staff, he mastered techniques at an extraordinary pace, jumping ahead of the learning curve to rapidly expand and improve his product line.  “Once I found NextFab I was able to really accelerate my work.  Access to SolidWorks, laser cutters and 3D printers has completely changed my pace.  Instead of building one hand-drawn, hand-cut, hand-sewn prototype a week, I’ve been able to speed up the process to several prototypes a day.” 
Laaté can be found most days at NextFab, working on extensions of his brand and experimenting with new – or new to him – technologies.