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From student to CEO: The journey of an additive manufacturing company, rooted at Lassonde

“Having my own company has completely changed my perspective of the future and my career,” says Nick Di Scipio, MASc candidate in Mechanical Engineering at the Lassonde School of Engineering and CEO and Founder of Pantheon Prototyping. “I went from this idea of finishing school and going to work in the engineering industry, to working for myself and building a company that I’m passionate about.”

Launched in 2021, Pantheon Prototyping is an additive manufacturing (3D printing) company supported by a team of engineering, designing and manufacturing experts. The team creates functional products for various companies, layer by layer, leveraging the many benefits of additive manufacturing such as low production cost and enhanced product function.

Nick Di Scipio checking printing progress.
Di Scipio checking printing progress.

“During my first year as an undergrad at Lassonde, I fell in love with additive manufacturing,” says Di Scipio. “After getting my own 3D printer, I started printing different tools and parts for my classmates, charging a small fee. From this single printer in my basement, I created my own company and went from working with students, to supporting the demands of larger companies like Amazon and Microsoft.” 

Pantheon Prototyping was not a simple, overnight success – Di Scipio has dedicated countless hours to transforming his passion into a flourishing startup. Among many supports, including family members, Di Scipio’s entrepreneurial journey was strengthened by his experience at Lassonde.

Through diverse courses and experiential learning opportunities, Di Scipio was exposed to interesting technologies that inspired his curiosity and helped advance his technical skills.

“Lassonde is where I honed my skills as a mechanical engineer, learning the art of problem solving, engineering design, professional communication and more,” he says. “Lassonde was also where I first worked with 3D printers, and that exposure helped drive the creation of Pantheon. I learned that I could take 3D printing to the next level for students, business founders and other clientele.”

Left: 3D-printed, mini SARIT micromobility vehicles. Right: 3D-printed figurines and game pieces.

The Bergeron Entrepreneurs in Science and Technology (BEST) program was also pivotal to the growth and development of Pantheon Prototyping. Di Scipio’s experience in the program helped him gain essential business skills like accounting, creating a business model and developing a compelling business pitch.

Through the program, he received support, funding, networking opportunities and valuable mentorship from BEST Program Director and Bergeron Chair in Technology Entrepreneurship, Professor Andrew Maxwell.

“Nick has demonstrated the entrepreneurial characteristics that enable engineers to be changemakers,” says Professor Maxwell. “Pantheon is a great example of deploying a new technology to maximize benefits for Lassonde and York.”

In recent successes, Di Scipio had the opportunity to work with automotive industry leader, Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association (APMA). While attending the Collision Conference in 2023, Di Scipio met the president of APMA, and months later, Pantheon Prototyping was hired to create 3D-printed corporate gifts and merchandise as part of the company’s new initiative, Project Arrow, which aims to create Canada’s first, zero-emission concept vehicle.

Harnessing the power of 3D printing, Di Scipio developed a unique, interactive business card (kit card) and customized, scaled-down model of the Project Arrow car, among other tailor-made products.

Working with prominent companies like APMA has enhanced Di Scipio’s entrepreneurial experience and allowed him to become an important part of monumental projects.

3D-printed Project Arrow kit card
3D-printed Project Arrow kit card.

With the support of Lassonde behind him, Di Scipio will continue to advance the capabilities of Pantheon Prototyping and elevate the company to new heights. What started as a simple idea has grown into a well-respected organization with big plans for the future, like launching sub-brands to create highly specific products and tackle different markets.

Di Scipio encourages future Lassonde students to follow in his entrepreneurial footsteps. “The one piece of advice I would give students who are considering starting their own business is to not be afraid – if you have an idea, just get started and be open to learning as you go,” he says. “When I first decided to create a startup, I was an undergrad engineering student with zero experience in what it takes to run a business. You don’t need a business background to be an entrepreneur; all you need is a good idea, a strong vision of where you want to take your idea and the determination to make that vision a reality.”