Oscar Pedroso has held a variety of jobs from EMT to running a tutoring service.
"Had I known what I needed to become an engineering, I would be in a different career path probably," Pedroso said.
But it's now--at 36--that he's found his calling after meeting up with friend and future co-founder, David Brenner.
"Slowly just realized there's a whole community of people that had really good ideas, but didn't have access to build these types of projects."
So the two started Thimble. Raising almost $300,000 through Kickstarter three years ago.
"We weren't expecting that at all."
The subscription service teaches children how ot build and code everything from wi-fi robots to musical instruments. Kits arrive in the mail filled with nuts, bolts and soldering guns, giving children the physical tools they need to build and code.
Thimble comes in three different levels. The first level, children can make things like a thermometer. The second, you can start soldering things and the third level you can make and play your own piano.
"Every month you receive a different box and the product gets a little more complicated and you learn different skills."
Then users can login to Thimble's portal to watch or read how to build each kit. To date, they've sold over 10,000 units and have almost 1,000 subscribers. Now, Thimble is expanding into schools.
"We built our company to be a consumer business and then along the way we got inquires from teachers."
Thimble entered 43North twice before--the Buffalo-based competition that awards start-ups up to a one million dollars and space to grow. The company came up just short last year.
"We don't give up, so we're actually applying again and we're just waiting to hear if we made it."
Win or lose, Pedroso hopes his company changes lives.
"For us success is getting one of these kits in to every kids hands."