Danny Park, RoboThinkKatie Smith
Danny Park, RoboThink
Educational Company, Lake Bluff, IL
Organizations: Asian American Chamber of Commerce
Danny Park didn’t plan on becoming an entrepreneur. After graduating from college, Danny thought he would get job as an accountant. The idea for RoboThink started with a friend who was running a robotics club at the University of Illinois. “Parents were crazy about these robotics classes,” Danny shares. “We decided we wanted to build something big.” That idea for a business grew into RoboThink, a STEM, coding, robotics, and engineering program that offers classes to “builders of all ages.” Danny and his business partner developed a franchise model that has grown to include locations across the US and in 25 different countries across the world.
RoboThink has a unique approach to educating children, calling itself an “edu-tainment company,” a blend of entertainment and education. “We educate kids in the next generation,” Danny says. “We prepare kids for this world that is going to be powered by AI and robots.” Danny shares that he doesn’t think there is enough being done in US public schools to provide kids with an early exposure to technology. In contrast, he talked about the Ministries of Education in other countries recognizing the growth of AI and robotics jobs. Therefore, these countries are preparing children for the new wave of tech-enabled work by focusing on STEM and robotics in the classroom.
Danny credits the Asian American Chamber of Commerce of Illinois (AACCIL) as a key partner for the growth of Robothink. Megan Nakano, Executive Director of AACCIL, helped RoboThink make connections to local schools. The Asian American Chamber also connected Danny to Founders First. Danny says that a key aspect of the Founders First program was meeting businesses that were similar to RoboThink in maturity. “It’s been nice seeing business owners at a similar stage of business development and not feeling alone.”
When asked about the highlights of running a business, Danny shares, “What I really like about our business – wherever we open or expand – it’s really serving the community. The kids that we work with over the course of many months or years improve their confidence. The solution to mankind’s problems is inside the mind of every child that we work with.”
Develop Your Idea – RoboThink
- Identify the Problem
What is the problem you are trying to solve?
“At the time, there weren’t enough programs for kids that dive into these critical fields like engineering, robotics, programming. That was really the problem that I saw that really prompted us to get this started.”
What is my product?
“We are business opportunity provider, and as a franchisors, we give an opportunity to launch a business. Those franchisees provide a really fun, memorable experience through coding and building with their hands.”
How will I price it?
“We looked at what our closest competition was doing and added 5%. We set the premium price and compete on quality.”
- Prepare to Sell Your Product
How will I market my new idea?
“We work together in partnership with local libraries, park districts, and community centers. They in turn have their own social media. We love to run programs at community centers because the target market is immediately identified.”
How will I make my first sale?
“We literally would go knock on doors. We would never tell franchisees to do something we hadn’t done ourselves.”