Shalom Life | September 13, 2014

Startup Club: Zuta Labs

We speak to Tuvia Elbaum, founder of the company that develops pocket printers ideal for students, or anybody on the go

By: Caitlin Marceau

Published: September 11th, 2014 in Business » Israel

Startup Club: Zuta Labs

Over the past few decades, a growing number of small businesses involved in various industries have popped up around the world meeting the needs of an ever-growing, ever-changing market.

Jewish businessmen and innovators continue to excel throughout these industries, displaying their prowess as creative, forward-thinking entrepreneurs, and tapping into continuously developing markets with 'startup' companies.

In a bid to recognize these decorated entrepreneurs for their ongoing contributions and advancements to these fields, Shalom Life is pleased to present: Startup Club, highlighting the best and the brightest of Jewish entrepreneurs who continue to provide our community with new, influential and innovative ideas that will forever change the way we interact with the world, and with one another.

Follow our lead and we’ll follow yours – send us tips or suggestions via email, comment below or tweet us @ShalomLife, in our mission to celebrate the most visionary of Jewish entrepreneurs.

Check out last week's inductee into the Club here.

Business: Zuta Labs
Base of Operations: Jerusalem, Israel
Entrepreneur: Tuvia Elbaum
Industry: Technology
Founded: 2013

Printing can be a pain.

Trying to find a printer when you’re already late to class so you can print out your paper, or when you’re on the road and remember that you had to print something out at the office for a client but completely forgot, can be beyond frustrating. Although there are small portable printers out there, the majority of them are only designed to print photos on the go, like the Photo Cube Compact Photo Printer by Vupoint Solutions, which is useless for printing anything larger than a postcard.

However, Zuta Labs is looking to change all that through innovative technology which would allow for truly mobile printing. The device, which is no bigger than your fist, is able to print on a regular 8" x 11" sheet of paper in addition to any other size you require. Unlike your standard printer, in which paper is fed through it or kept in a paper reserve, the Zuta Labs Pocket Printer will actually walk across your page printing your words or images onto it as the printhead has, essentially, been mounted on wheels.

Founded in 2013 by Tuvia Elbaum, one of the founders and CMO of Umoove.me which was established eight years ago, the Pocket Printer was an idea that came to the entrepreneur while still in college. He’d been studying Business and Technology at the Jerusalem College of Technology when he began to think of building the Pocket Printer.

“I came up with the idea of a portable printer from my personal day-to-day life, where I work on the go from my smartphone, tablet, and laptop, in random places; and when I wanted to print something - a memo before or after a meeting, a term sheet, short contract, or even an essay for school - I had to run and look for a printer or wait until I was home or at an office,” Elbaum explains to Shalom Life in an exclusive interview. “When I went online to look for a portable printer, I only found printers that are either too big to really carry around or too small to print on a standard A4 page. I noticed that all the printers had to have the paper feed through the device, so I thought, ‘Hey, why not put the cartridge on a robot and let it run around by itself and that will allow the printer to be really small and yet print on any size paper?’”


Recently, the company launched a Kickstarter campaign in order to raise enough funds to produce more than just prototype Pocket Printers. While their original goal was $400,000, they managed to raise over $500,000 in funding for the project.

“We began marketing a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter, which we saw as a site that is meant to help people develop their project and dream. Besides the little funding we got from the entrepreneurship program [at the Jerusalem College of Technology], we're self funded,” Elbaum says. “So at first, we thought about launching a Kickstarter campaign in order to just raise the money we needed for us to work on the prototype and start production. But after a few days into the campaign, we saw that Kickstarter is way more than just money... We got priceless feedback from the Kickstarter community, and a large amount of offers for partnerships in different areas and levels around our product. Word just spread faster than we could have imagined, and now we are working on where to grow from there.”

Although the Pocket Printer has been fairly smooth sailing, Elbaum explains that there are some challenges they've had to overcome when it comes to building their mobile printer. "We've been dealing with making sure the printer actually moves accurately along the paper and is also able to grip the paper without making the paper clip slip or move," he says.

Although Zuta Labs has come a long way since their founding in 2013, having been named on Forbes’ list of startups to watch out for in 2014, they hope to go every farther in the upcoming year.

“We hope to create a line of portable printers, in not just gray, but in detailed color. And hopefully one day our printers will not just be printing on papers, but be able to print on any surface.”

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