Recently we had the pleasure of meeting another Raleigh startup online called PressurePen. Started by Charles Mangin, a local IT consultant, PressurePen is a next generation stylus that allows artists to re-create a more natural brush stroke in an online environment. After catching up with Charles, this is what he had to say about his company, and about being a Raleigh entrepreneur.
Raleigh.com: From the point of view of your potential customers, what problem are you trying to solve?
Charles Mangin: Most people that spend a lot of time drawing on a tablet – like an iPad or Android tablet – like to use a stylus instead of their fingers. The downside is that a typical stylus isn’t much better than your finger. It seems like you’re drawing more naturally, but if you change how hard you’re pressing on the screen, there’s no change in how the drawing looks. With a pressure sensitive stylus, artists can use a more natural motion, and when they want a wider or narrower brush, they just press harder or softer.
Professional designers and artists are used to using expensive tools from Wacom to do this on their desktops and laptops, but there hasn’t been a similar tool for the iPad until just recently.
Raleigh.com: For whom do you try to solve this problem? Who will be your first customers?
Charles Mangin: I waited for a long time after the iPad came out for someone to make a pressure sensitive stylus. I figured I wouldn’t have to wait long, since I wasn’t the only one that was hoping to be able to buy one. After a while, and no real solution from Apple or Wacom, I decided that I knew how to make what I wanted. So I did. I’m the first customer for the PressurePen, but I’m hoping that people with a lot more artistic talent than me will buy one. The target audience is anyone that uses their tablet as a sketchbook or whiteboard, uses it for designing or just doodling.
Raleigh.com: What sort of work did you do before starting your company?
Charles Mangin: I’m self employed as a web developer and IT consultant.
Raleigh.com: How long have you lived in the Raleigh area, and what are your favorite places in Raleigh that only locals know about?
Charles Mangin: I’ve lived in this area since I moved to Raleigh to attend NC State’s design school.
Some of my favorite places to go are Neomonde – there’s a new location near my house in North Raleigh, and their new restaurant downtown, Sitti – Five Star, Sushi Blues, the Raleigh Times. When I have out of town guests, I like to take them to the Art Museum, especially now that it’s been totally renovated. And I always like to take friends to Holly Aiken’s store, Stitch.
Raleigh.com: How do you feel about being an entrepreneur in the Raleigh area?
Charles Mangin: It’s definitely helped to be here, since there’s so many resources – great designers and tech people, places to buy and make parts and prototypes. There’s also a supporting and encouraging culture here, especially in the design community, where people are very generous with their time and help.
PressurePen is currently a project on Kickstarter.com - http://kck.st/KHhJpI
If the funding is successful, PressurePen and other styli will be available for sale on http://pressurepen.net