Our story – Mixtery.es

It all started with an idea. Well, in this case 160 ideas. We had to discard some of them and luckily or not, it was not by chance.

14 years ago, Jerónimo Lario Mañani, CEO of Mixtery, embarked on the adventure of
inventing. It’s been a long road, we have stumbled upon many obstacles, but the enthusiasm to learn at every step has led us to be able to introduce you Mixtery, the brand of 100% random manual shufflers.

The process has always been the same: think of a product, analyse its defects, then find a solution to improve it. With the shufflers it was clear: the market only offered big electrical shufflers depending on an algorithm. This meant that they couldn’t offer a 100% random shuffling. Thanks to hours and hours spent on thinking about the same problem, the solution appeared at the most unexpected moment. In fact the mind didn’t stop to find a solution even at a subconscious level.

THE CREATION PROCESS

Making Mixtery was a tough process. The first invention we worked on, was an improvement in fishing hooks. We worked with the support of the Department of
Material Engineering of the Polytechnic University of Cartagena (UPCT). In that case we were ahead of our time: our development was so good that the technology was not available… until 25 years later.

For the following inventions we had to keep our feet on the ground. We started visiting the Museum of Ideas and Inventions in Barcelona (MIBA) and after chatting with PepTorres, the museum director, we were aware we had great potential, but the question was: how do we develop the product correctly? To find an answer, we went to the Valladolid Invention Fair. There we had an enriching experience, but we only got good words of encouragement.

The enthusiasm for this project was such that we became fans of the television program “Your chance”, where we met and got in touch with Guillermo Alonso from “The Factory of Inventions” and his team of engineers. We showed them some interesting ideas to start a business plan. Our personal experience playing poker with friends had already shown us that we needed a shuffler, so with Guillermo’s approval we went ahead. We decided to produce Mixtery, an effective and practical poker card shuffler, more useful than any other card shufflers on the market.

During one year we worked hand in hand, or “mouse by mouse”, because we had online conversations every week, to develop a totally random shuffler, that didn’t need any batteries and much smaller than those that currently exist. In one year we achieved several 3D printed prototypes.

We already had the first Mixtery! Then we had to find manufacturers for thermoplastic injection… and here many problems started to arise. The first estimated price we received was exorbitant. We had to look for a plan B.

KICKSTARTER

Luckily we found Kickstarter, a worldwide crowdfunding platform, where the financial support provided by backers help implement innovative products or ideas. This was just before the summer of 2016. Our inexperience in this field led us to unreal economic expectations and the crowdfounding did not end successfully.

Still it was not in vain. We got a lot of feedback. For example, elderly people wrote that shuffling was a major problem for some of them and that Mixtery could help. Thanks to Kickstarter we were introduced to role-playing games, a world quite unknown to us at first. There were many people asking if we could shuffle Magic cards, with double sleeves, there was as much or more interest than in the poker shuffler.

The next step for Mixtery Poker was to contact a Belgian multinational, number one in the world cards, according to them. They were very interested in Mixtery, but after submitting our prototype and modifying it to their specifications, one year later, they offered us a unit price below production costs. Another stone in the way, but also another motivational injection, as we became aware that Mixtery could be interesting for large companies!

Of course, we were not going to give up. We kept looking for other manufacturers. On our trip we met Plastic Containers Inte S.L. (Cieza, Murcia), where we obtained an unbeatable deal and price. Finally we could start manufacturing!

ROLE-PLAYING: A NEW WORLD

As we developed Mixtery Poker, we continued to investigate more about the world of role playing and Magic cards. For this reason we went to “Seven heroes”, the store of our dear Salva Espín. They informed us of everything and encouraged us to develop a Mixtery Role version The product sounded interesting and it could meet the demand, but it meant a 180º shift to adapt Mixtery Poker. RPGs use more cards than a regular poker deck, take up more space and use double covers.

The first thing we were clear about was that we didn’t want to repeat the experience of the molds for manufacturing. Was it possible to find another option? Cardboard, of course! We contacted an architect who worked with cardboard. The first prototype we made together did not work, but it could be improved and we kept on working by ourselves. We built 15 more prototypes until we finally found the way to Mixtery Role: it had to have two separate pieces, a totally watertight interior that prevents cards from getting stuck and, finally, a cover partly tucked inside the shuffler to stop any cards from falling out

We had to test several more prototypes until we found the key. Anyway find a manufacturer was still a problem, since it was an handmade product, made unit by unit. For such a meticulous work we had to find a company able to fulfill our expectations. Luckily we contacted “Tendero Packaging S.L.U”, some authentic cardboard professionals that quickly understood our requirements. Since then everything is fine and we started to manufacture the first professional prototype during the summer of 2021. When we introduced it to our friends from “Seven heroes ”… they loved it! So much so that Salva Espín himself was delighted with the invention and we reached an agreement for the illustrations.

Finally, thanks to a funding bonus from the local Chamber of Commerce and the work of Buzzial, our advertising agency, Mixtery is already a reality for your deck of cards!

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