Start ups

Post image for Good news for jigsaw fans – Menlo Park is home to Artifact Puzzles

The notion that “it would be fun to buy a laser cutter” kept creeping into Maya Gupta’s brain. “I studied electrical engineering because I was interested in lasers,” she explained in the warehouse space of Menlo Park-based Artifact Puzzles, which she started as a hobby and is turning into a business.

The idea of making puzzles using a laser cutter faced one significant hurdle. “Laser cutters are not designed to cut plywood, which are what puzzles are made out of,” she said. “They’re made to cut wood. It takes a lot of work to cut 300 pieces.”

Artifact puzzles are designed for teens and adults and range in size from 54 to close to 600 pieces, priced from $25 to $120. Many contain”whimsy pieces,” a recognizable shape of something, such as an animal or airplane.

About 100 different puzzles are in stock at any given time, and 40 new puzzles will debut this year. “We spend a lot of time deciding how to design the pieces,” said Maya. “Shapes and sizes are what make puzzles interesting. A puzzle needs to look good in pieces as well as when it’s put together.”

Artifacts puzzle box by Becky Flanagan

Customer feedback is key to puzzle creation. “It’s fun to read the customer reviews,” said Maya. “Some of our customers buy every puzzle we make — there are a lot of collectors!

“Our customers also select what images we should use to make a puzzle. We give them five options and they vote.

“Van Gogh has been a popular artist but Picasso has not. We also commission original artwork. Hummingbirds have been our best seller.

Maya and her team welcome inquiries from artists about licensing their artwork. They can be reached at artifactpuzzles@gmail.com

Photos by Rebecca Flanagan 

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Founder of Women’s Startup Lab, Ari Horie offers female tech leaders an ecosystem of support

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Ari Horie, founder and CEO of Women’s Startup Lab, learned early on the value of being connected. Born in Japan, she first came to the U.S. as an exchange student at age 18, speaking no English. “My mom was big on hands-on experience,” she recalled in the Menlo Park offices of her latest startup. “But […]

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Menlo Park couple starts eye glass company with a shout out to two pioneering businesswomen

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What’s Brownie and Madam and what has it to do with eye glasses? We admit the answer is so well described as part of a new eye glass company co-founded by Menlo Park residents Dr. Alpa Shroff and her husband Nik that we aren’t going to retell the story here. (But do recommend you find out!) […]

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Sladana Veljkovic develops mobile apps for healthy lifestyles at Menlo Park Apps

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When Sladana Veljkovic came from Serbia to study in the U.S. 13 years ago, her focus was on finance, an industry she worked in for a number of years on the East Coast. But a move to the West Coast and living in Menlo Park has lead her in another direction, developing mobile apps on […]

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Trouble remembering all your contacts? Lightspeed Ventures fellow Cy Khormaee has the app for you

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Cy Khormaee loves paper. Drawings and diagrams of the app he’s developing are tacked to the walls of his office space at Lightspeed Ventures in Menlo Park, where he is a fellow. The irony is that he’s developed an app that replaces two long-term paper staples of the business world, the Rolodex and small spiral […]

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Elena Battles brings dogs and owners together through Wagaroo.com

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What’s a Wagaroo? According to Menlo Park resident Elena Battles, it’s the mix of a happy dog’s tail motion and the signature “aroo” howl of a beagle. Elena says it’s also a word “that makes you smile,” and Elena will have an even bigger smile if her matchmaking pet service  Wagaroo.com is a success. In Wagaroo terms, […]

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Avery Humphreys eyes a career in fashion with the launch of clothing line, Nameless USA

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Sacred Heart Prep senior Avery Humphreys already knew a lot about persistence before she launched her clothing company Nameless USA™ last January. She competes in endurance riding with her Tennessee Walker horse, Ranger,  and has finished all 12 long distance rides they started. Now she’s putting together a game plan that will lead to equal […]

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Beeline Bikes brings mobile repair to Peninsula thanks to two Atherton entrepreneurs and a “bike guy”

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Growing up in Menlo Park, Neil Macc pedaled to Oak Knoll School every day. Now he commutes from his home in La Honda to Beeline Bikes, 20 plus miles each way. Neil (pictured right) is the “bicycle arm” of the new company, started by Atherton residents Andy Jeffrey (center) and Pete Buhl (left). “About 15 […]

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Menlo Park entrepreneur Dan Louth launches TopixTalk to connect people around common interests

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A new social media site called TopixTalk, developed by Menlo Park resident Dan Louth, is launching in Beta phase today. “We opened up TopixTalk to friends and family in a pre-Beta phase at the beginning of October, and just through organic growth, we’ve seen tens of thousands of points of activity,” says Dan. “We can’t wait to […]

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Local startup Gibi wins “great gadgets” category in Walmart’s Get on the Shelf competion

The votes are in, and Menlo Park’s Gibi Technologies owned by Synette Tom pulled out the win. Synette’s Gibi Pet Location Service is officially the fourth winner voted by America to be sold at Walmart.com through the retailer’s Get on the Shelf contest. After the final category vote is wrapped up this week, the five winning […]

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GPS pet locating device created by Menlo Park startup seeking votes to “Get on the Shelf”

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Anyone seeing Synette Tom walking her apricot Labradoodle around West Menlo Park might think the dog’s name is Gibi. At least that’s what the dog’s seriously souped-up collar says. In fact, the scruffy pup’s name is Kale (Hawaiian for “Charlie”), and Gibi  is Synette’s GPS pet locating device that’s currently drawing the attention of the […]

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