Cloud Factory has received $2 million in seed funding to grow its on-demand jewelry 3D printing business. The Tallinn, Estonia-based startup operates as a service that collaborates with brands and influencers to design create and print their collections for them.
3D Printing Jewelry for Brands and Celebrities
Cloud Factory said that it has had a 213% increase in sales year over year. The firm was started by a powder metallurgy PhD who was joined by a marketing and internet team. Altogether, they’re combining innovations related to direct 3D printing of precious jewelry, which so far only Cookson has done at scale, with drop-shipping for famous people.
With lead investor Change Ventures, along with Superhero Capital and angels Artis Kehris and Andrius Šlimas, Cloud Factory founders Taavi Kikas (CEO), Kati Kask (COO), Marek Jõeleht (CTO) and Erik Karu will use the funds to increase production capacity and develop web and social tools.So far, Cloud Factory is already working with CoryxKenshin, Mark Tuan, DJ Alan Walker and more. Worryingly, the firm is also launching ¨ jewelry NFTs.¨
“We are really excited to live in the era of the metaverse and we are able to bring a really old and traditional industry into this game by producing both physical products and NFTs of the exquisite jewellery for leading brands and celebrities,” said CEO Taavi Kikas.
“Currently there is no other company in the world offering the same manufacturing model as the one we’ve developed. Our unique in-house printing processes, and post-production operations, enables us to use metal 3D printing for volume manufacturing of high quality jewelry products in a cost-efficient and sustainable way. We are bringing a new dimension to an often outdated sector by simplifying the processes of creating and launching personal jewelry products,” said Cloud Factory COO Kati Kask.
Cloud Factory makes a number of interesting claims, such as that it will establish the world’s first zero-waste jewelry factory. To achieve this, the team says it will only use sustainable and recycled precious metals. Sustainability will be further promoted through on-demand production. The company’s claim that it aims to be “the world’s first company to use direct metal 3D printing to scalably manufacture fine jewelry in a cost-effective and sustainable way” is quite a tall order to fulfill.
Cloud Factory’s ambitions stretch to building a network of fully automated, on-demand printing hubs around the world. If it can achieve that, then perhaps the startup should not limit itself to celebrity jewelry alone, since it will be far ahead of the car companies and large industrial firms.
Analyzing Cloud Factory
The core concept of assisting brands and celebrities to create jewelry collections is an interesting one. Cloud Factory will perform everything from the first sketch to branding and boxing up the products. Any star can now add jewelry to their offering and promote it on Instagram. After just a few meetings with Cloud Factory, a clothing line could add jewelry to its collection with very little effort. The startup suggests collections can be quickly changed as well. I really like that one of their angel investors has created a clothing merchandise network, while the other sold a company to Shopify. Their expertise should be valuable.
I’m very curious about their mention of a “unique printing process,” as well as “post-processing operations” that lead to “volume manufacturing.” So far, from the images, it all looks pretty standard 3D printing on an SLM Solutions machine. I really don’t see how they can take powder bed fusion and make it suitable for volume jewelry manufacturing. I’d sooner look to binder jetting or vat polymerization with casting. That would be significantly cheaper. There are currently multiple luxury goods companies that use binder jet and none that I know of that use powder bed fusion. However, I like the idea of them bringing fundamental innovation in such areas as conveyancing or perhaps in the additive process itself. I’m still mystified, however: why you’d use powder bed fusion for this?
All in all, there is a lot to like here. I love the model of an effort-free revenue extension for brands and famous people coupled with on-demand production. I’m more skeptical about the reduction in cost and efficiency that could really make them make this an attractive proposition. That would require some serious heavy lifting. If Cloud Factory could pull that off, it could really make a huge impact on the additive market.
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