Back in April of this year I was first introduced to a company called 3Discovered when they gave a presentation as part of a startup competition at the Inside 3D Printing Conference in New York. After CEO Peer Munck presented his company, I had a chance to sit down and talk with both Munck and the company’s COO Gene Garbaccio about the their endeavors into a space that still remained untouched.
What 3Discovered plans to do, and so far has been quite successful in finding willing partners for, is create a platform for 3D printing products, unlike anything we have seen before.
When you sit down and examine 3D printing as a technology, a conclusion reached by just about anyone within the manufacturing sector is that it can provide (1) a tremendous means of rapid prototyping, and (2) an equally as impressive way in which inventories can be greatly reduced. With this in mind, 3Discovered came to a conclusion that something was missing from the 3D printing space which could greatly increase product availability, manufacturing efficiency, and ultimately huge reductions in inventory storage.
I had another chance to speak with both Munck and Garbaccio this past October in Santa Clara at another Inside 3D Printing Conference. This time, the two were much farther along, and were on the brink of announcing that they had raised a significant amount of funding. Today, the company has announced that they have secured external financing from AITV and other private investors. The round of funding, which ended up being over 50% oversubscribed, follows their initial seed round by founders Ocean Tomo and Liberty Investment Ventures.
“We are very pleased to have concluded such a successful funding round,” said Peer Munck, 3Discovered’s Co-founder and CEO. “This gives us the financial resources to commence transactions of 3D printable designs and products for our commercial partners early next year.”
This funding will go a long way in helping the company get their new online exchange platform for commercial-grade 3D printable designs off the ground. The way in which this platform works, as Munck and Garbaccio told me in the past, is very interesting. 3Discovered connects customers, 3D printing services, and 3D product design owners through the online exchange, allowing them to fulfill transactions of commercial-grade 3D printed products. The patent-pending platform is a first within the 3D printing space, and could quite conceivably be a solution to a lot of problems that large companies in many different industries have.
One example that Munck told me about was that of a car manufacturer such as Ford Motors. There remains a large amount of old, antique cars on the market today; cars that require aftermarket parts, because the manufacturers no longer make them. However, with services such as 3Discovered, companies like Ford are now able to sell the design files for these parts, and not have to stock them in-house, while they allow others to 3D print them for the end user.
The first question that always pops up is, “how do you know that these parts will be of the same quality as the originals?” 3Discovered has an answer for that. Their system will ensure that the products meet all manufacturer guidelines, while also matching the quality required by the end users. Not just anyone will be 3D printing these parts. Printers will have to meet certain criteria that 3Discovered puts in place to ensure quality end results.
What this exchange platform has the potential of doing is creating a way in which large companies can greatly reduce on-hand inventory, while outsourcing the manufacturing of these products to approved 3D printing companies, and in turn collecting royalties for their original products.
Another issue that is often brought up within the 3D printing space is that of IP issues and product piracy. With 3D printing comes the risk of pirated files existing and being exchanged on the internet, just like those seen within the music and film industries. What 3Discovered does is remove this risk completely, never letting the files from these companies get in the hands of anyone other than their partners who create the 3D printed product. This means that the files will never reach the hands of anyone able to release it to the general public. If a file gets out, 3Discovered will know exactly who leaked it.
With this latest round of investment, I am extremely excited to see what comes of 3Discovered. The idea is a tremendous one, one which could be extremely attractive to many large firms.
“AITV is very excited about the tremendous potential of 3D printing,” said AITV General Partner Brent Granado. “We believe 3Discovered, with their solutions for eliminating transaction obstacles, is on the right path to capitalize on the opportunity we see in commercial and industrial adoption of this technology.”
What do you think about this business model? Do you think it will be successful in reducing inventory, preventing piracy, and ultimately leading to a more efficient process of manufacturing products? Discuss in the 3Discovered forum thread on 3DPB.com.