One and the same

Abram Nothnagle studied electrical engineering and applied physics. Doron Tsachor studied electrical engineering and math. How did these two get into entrepreneurship?

“At the very highest levels there isn’t a huge difference between engineering and entrepreneurship,” says Tsachor. “In both areas, people are making ground-breaking discoveries by recognizing a problem and wanting to solve that problem.”

In 2015, Nothnagle was recruited to help create a hydroponics system for a startup called Second Story Farms and he brought on Tsachor for assistance. Together, they developed a system that controlled all the indoor crop units. In the process of creating this system, Nothnagle and Tsachor realized their electrical engineering background combined with their creativity could be of value to many companies, especially startups. And so they created Nothsor.

Nothsor Systems, L.L.C. provides affordable technology through their specialized manufacturing process. Nothsor acts as the electrical designer and prototype creator for clients, but also the manufacturer. After clients approve a prototype, Nothsor combines in-house assembly with manufacturing connections around the world. By being a one-stop shop for clients, they guarantee great prices and quick service.

Building from the ground up

The duo’s original and fairly niche goal to make electronics that power hydroponic systems transitioned into a desire to create their own units and help other entrepreneurs develop their products.

While looking for resources in Iowa City that could help grow their company, Nothnagle and Tsachor stumbled upon Founders Club and joined in 2016. They started attending round table discussions led by successful entrepreneurs and were encouraged to compete in pitch competitions to receive funding.

“You learn exactly what you need to address because professional faculty have judged you on that basis,” says Nothnagle. Him and Tsachor have pitched Nothsor and placed at various JPEC competitions including the Rose Francis Pitch Competition, the Iowa JPEC Business Model Competition, the Pappajohn Student Venture Competition, and STORER, an engineering entrepreneurial competition.

In Founders Club, student entrepreneurs meet to receive guidance from and make connections with faculty and mentors. Tsachor says one of their greatest assets they received from being in Founders Club comes in the form of mentorship. Even though the Nothnagle and Tsachor have graduated from the University of Iowa, their mentor still keeps in contact with them; Founders Club connected the two with key people that helped Nothsor succeed.

Nothnagle says, “It’s a very exciting, driven, intellectual, hardworking community. You’re put with other people who are doing really important things and they’re excited about what they were doing.”

Manufacturing for the future

Nothnagle and Tsachor graduated in 2017 with Nothsor Systems L.L.C as their sole occupation. Nothsor currently has six clients and plans to expand to become a full product production company. In the future, they hope to get additional prototyping and manufacturing equipment in-house, as well as hire on additional engineers and someone to manage overseas production, shipping, and distribution.

The two agree that the best part about working for themselves is the variety of opportunities. “The best part about doing what I do is that I get to solve unique problems and it’s always exciting,” says Nothnagle. Tsachor added that being flexible has given them access to incredible, innovative people.

As far as advice for potential entrepreneurs, Nothnagle and Tsachor say to pursue something you’re passionate about, play to your strengths, and remain open minded to research and discovery.