Startups Stand Out During 3D Printing Pitch Event in New York
Continuing our coverage of the ongoing Inside 3D Printing conference in New York, conference organizer Mediabistro closed out yesterday’s session with an inaugural startup company showcase, allowing five standout early stage companies in the 3D printing space to present a five-minute pitch to investors.
Tyler Benster, Program Chair for Mediabistro and moderator of the Maker Summit during the conference, emceed the startup program using a competition format. Zach Schildhorn, Vice President and Director of Operations of Lux Capital, an investor in Shapeways and highly knowledgeable about the 3D printing space, evaluated the merits of each concept from a venture capital standpoint and gave immediate feedback to each presenter. The presenters represented the following five startups: 3D Hubs, Feetz, 3Discovered, 3D United Corporation, and iSenCore.
Bram de Zwart, co-founder of 3D Hubs, delivered a standout presentation about his emerging business, an online platform designed to connect available desktop print capability with people who want to print 3D designs within the same geographic area. The site offers would-be makers the advantage of obtaining their 3D printed products within 1-2 days versus the typical two-week timeframe offered by centralized printing services, and having the option to demo the technology as the product is being printed. 3D Hubs, according to de Zwart, has developed a network of 4,300 3D printer owners and successfully built a community of makers through a network of designated Mayors as part of the site network. In this way, de Zwart explained, 3D Hubs is fulfilling the promise of localized manufacturing through 3D printing by connecting users and building communities within a decentralized, localized network. These makers have banded together all over the world to celebrate the spirit of localized manufacturing through Maker Day celebrations throughout the world.
Lucy Beard of Feetz also delivered a clear and concise presentation of her company’s use case for custom fitted 3D printed footwear. Noting that Nike ID made over $100 million in giving customers the option to choose their color pattern on standard size footwear, Feetz seeks to tackle the challenge of penetrating the $180 billion dollar footwear market and easing the pain in our feet by delivering 3D printed footwear featuring fully custom fitting foot beds. The Feetz 3 step process includes custom imaging and sizing through 3D scanning technology, personalization in style selection, and fully 3D printed construction using desktop 3D printer models. Feetz is currently Beta testing its process on 600 individuals.
Peer Munck made the case for a better 3D design hub on behalf of his company 3Discovered, a dedicated marketplace designed to serve designers, users and 3D printing service bureaus by addressing several perceived core challenges to the mass commercialization of 3D printed designs. 3Discovered seeks to aid designers and design owners avoid intellectual property theft through rights management. They also aim to improve the user experience by ensuring printed objects will work through authentication and quality control mechanisms, as well as to enhance the site interface experience through improved and consistent search and discovery features. 3Discovered also seeks to clarify pricing issues for key stakeholders.
Michael Weaver of United Corporation delivered an overview of his team’s innovative laser sintering technology, which seeks to provide a reliable and enhanced experience in metal 3D printing, by addressing porosity challenges and surface issues users currently encounter with existing models. Weaver noted that his team’s expertise in the field positioned United Corporation at a unique advantage in delivering a better quality metal printer – an area that Weaver mentioned is of interest to the Chinese government, which has already invested in United’s R&D.
Finally, Zouya Zarei of iSenCore introduced the audience to his company’s software application, designed to alleviate the cost of prototyping and of testing 3D printed designs by harnessing the power of digital simulation. ISenCore’s platform is premised on the idea of “letting the cloud do the work” through digital stress testing via simulation. The process, from the user’s standpoint, consists of uploading the design file, choosing the applicable stress test/simulation, and then running the test against the design. Zarei emphasized that his company’s product is easy to use, and delivers value to users by providing informative visualizations that enable them to iterate constantly and make decisions faster. ISenCore currently has a public beta available at www.isencore.com.
This article was written by Lisa Perez, a regular contributor to On 3D Printing.