Protomentum’s co-founders Steve Lilley and Doug Milburn, with COO Mike
Protomentum’s co-founders Steve Lilley and Doug Milburn, with COO Mike Pearson (left to right) on the production floor of Protomentum in Sydney, Nova Scotia. Photo courtesy of Protomentum.

As a co-founder of Protocase, I have seen the numerous challenges that entrepreneurs and venture capitalists face in product development. The traditional process, characterized by fragmented workflows and lengthy lead times, often stalls innovation and market entry. Recognizing these obstacles, we launched Protomentum—a division of Protocase dedicated to revolutionizing product development with a one-stop, integrated solution. Protomentum is more than a service; it's a disruptive approach that transforms how products are developed and brought to market- and it arrived with the benefit of over two decades of deep learning from its parent company around how to make a truly best-in-class solution.

The Traditional Development Dilemma

Entrepreneurs are often daunted by the traditional product development process. It typically involves multiple stages—design, manufacturing, and assembly—each handled by different vendors, creating a fragmented workflow that can significantly delay progress. Extended lead times become the norm, and increased costs follow due to inefficiencies and the need for multiple iterations. Quality inconsistencies arise as each vendor brings their own standards to the table, and dependency issues often lead to bottlenecks, further delaying the project and driving up costs. For startups and small businesses, these challenges are particularly daunting, as they operate on limited resources and tight timelines.

The Protomentum Advantage

Protomentum addresses these challenges head-on by integrating all aspects of product development into a seamless, end-to-end process. Our team of expert designers works closely with clients to ensure their visions are translated into functional, aesthetically pleasing products. This eliminates the need for external design agencies, reducing costs and speeding up the process. With a manufacturing turnaround time of just 2-3 days, we drastically reduce lead times, allowing for quick iterations and refinements. This capability is crucial in staying ahead of the competition and meeting market demands efficiently.

Comprehensive In-House Capabilities

Our comprehensive in-house capabilities cover everything from design support, CNC machining and sheet metal fabricated parts to powder coating and assembly. By eliminating the need to juggle multiple suppliers, we ensure consistent quality and compatibility across all components. Additionally, Protomentum does not impose minimum order quantities, offering flexibility whether clients need a single prototype or a full production run. This flexibility is especially beneficial for startups testing the market, as they can scale production based on demand without worrying about prohibitive costs.

Efficient Assembly and Integration

The assembly process, often a complex and time-consuming stage, is handled entirely by Protomentum. We ensure that all components fit together seamlessly, reducing the burden on clients and guaranteeing a cohesive final product. Our ability to integrate internal components and electronics efficiently saves time and minimizes the risk of compatibility issues, crucial for products requiring precise electronic assembly.

Flexible Pricing and Rapid Shipping

One of the standout features of Protomentum is our flexible volume pricing, tailored to the needs of startups and scaling businesses. This pricing model allows clients to manage costs effectively as they grow, ensuring that they can invest in other critical areas such as marketing and business development. Furthermore, our partnership with FedEx for overnight shipping across North America ensures that products reach clients quickly, maintaining momentum in the fast-paced startup environment.

Leveraging Protomentum for Success

Entrepreneurs and venture capitalists can leverage Protomentum's comprehensive services to significantly enhance their product development processes. Accelerating time-to-market is a critical advantage, as it allows startups to capture market share quickly and stay ahead of competitors. Our streamlined approach reduces costs associated with traditional product development, such as hiring multiple vendors and managing complex dependencies. The cost savings can be reinvested into other areas of the business, driving overall growth and success.

Quality Assurance and Scalability

Quality assurance is another key benefit of Protomentum. With all stages of development handled by us, clients can be assured of consistent quality and compatibility, reducing the risk of costly rework and enhancing the overall reliability of the final product. This consistency is vital for building a strong brand reputation and customer trust.

Flexibility and scalability are inherent in Protomentum's approach. Our no minimum order quantity and flexible volume pricing make us an ideal partner for businesses at all stages of growth. Startups can begin with small production runs to test the market and scale up as demand increases, without worrying about prohibitive costs or lead times. This scalability ensures that businesses can grow at their own pace, responding to market demands effectively.

Focus on Core Competencies

By outsourcing the complexities of product development to Protomentum, entrepreneurs can focus on their core competencies, such as business strategy, customer acquisition, and product innovation. This strategic focus is crucial for driving overall business success and achieving long-term goals. Rapid prototyping and iteration, made possible by our fast turnaround times, enable entrepreneurs to refine and improve their products quickly. This iterative process leads to superior products that meet market demands more effectively, increasing the chances of success.

Strategic Partnerships for Venture Capitalists

For venture capitalists, partnering with Protomentum enhances the value of their portfolio companies. By ensuring that startups have access to top-notch product development services, VCs can mitigate risks associated with lengthy development cycles and quality issues. This strategic partnership makes portfolio companies more attractive to future investors and acquirers, driving overall investment success.

In today's competitive business environment, the ability to rapidly develop and iterate products is a critical success factor. Protomentum offers a revolutionary solution by integrating design, manufacturing, and assembly into a single, efficient process. Entrepreneurs and venture capitalists can leverage our services to accelerate time-to-market, reduce costs, ensure quality, and focus on their core competencies. With Protomentum, the path from concept to market has never been more efficient, making it the ideal partner for innovative businesses looking to succeed in the competitive landscape.

About Steve Lilley
With over 35 years immersed in the realms of technology and innovation, Steve Lilley has steered the creation and expansion of numerous tech-driven enterprises. Presently, he serves as the President of Protocase Inc., a pioneering manufacturing venture he co-founded in 2001, and as the director of 45 Drives Ltd., another technology-focused business established in 2012. In 2023, Protocase launched ProtoSpace Manufacturing, a division dedicated to serving engineering and innovation in aerospace and defense, and the Protomentum division in 2024 to better serve the rapid end-to-end prototyping needs of both new startup businesses and established firms.

About Protomentum
Protomentum is a division of Protocase Inc. that accelerates product development for entrepreneurs, innovators and founders. As an all-in-one vendor for design, manufacturing and assembly, Protomentum accelerates product development so that its clients can get to market as quickly as possible.

Protomentum builds on the 20+ years Protocase has established in the rapid manufacturing space, all thanks to its unique mass custom manufacturing system, which builds custom electronic enclosures, parts and assemblies for more 18,000 engineers, researchers and scientists all over the world.