3YOURMIND Co-Founders Reflect on 10 Years in AM Software

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When 3YOURMIND co-founders Stephan Kühr and Aleksander Ciszek checked into a youth hostel in Eastern Europe in 2012, they didn’t expect that it would change the trajectory of their lives.

“I met Aleks in a hostel while traveling the world,” says co-founder Stephan Kühr. “He was going west, and I was going east, and we met in that hostel by coincidence and quickly became friends.”

The two young men sparked a conversation about the exciting and newly accessible subject of 3D printing. Like a seed, the conversation grew, and not long after, Kühr relocated to Berlin to start looking for more ways to gain knowledge about 3D printing. At that time, Ciszek began seriously considering what a future with 3D printing might look like.

“After I finished my studies, all of my peers were going to companies at consulting firms and investment banks, and I realized I didn’t really want to do that,” says Ciszek. “I was more fascinated by hands-on things and the entrepreneurial spirit. So, for that reason, I was thinking, what else can we do?”

Co-founders Aleksander Ciszek and Stephan Kühr launched 3YOURMIND in 2014.

Laying the Groundwork for 3YOURMIND

In 2013, enthusiasm around 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, was at its peak. Soon, the two men found an opportunity to gain hands-on experience from experts at the Technical University in Berlin.

“Being in the 3D printing laboratory and seeing how this great technology allows freedom of design was fascinating; to see all these different shapes that otherwise could not be produced,” says Ciszek. “But we also realized that few people in the market used it for meaningful things. Usually, it was very eccentrically designed parts used to decorate the professor’s desk.”

This stuck out to Ciszek and Kühr. Engineers needed a way to access this technology to learn how to design 3D part applications.

“We wanted to educate engineers on new possibilities to maximize their efficiency so they could obtain parts much faster using new technology,” says Ciszek. “And we thought one way to do that was to give them tools to increase access and reduce barriers to understanding the technology.”

Ciszek and Kühr’s time at the Technical University of Berlin led to an opportunity to receive grant funding from the German government to start a business to accelerate the additive manufacturing industry. At the time, rideshare services like Uber and Lyft were gaining momentum in cities worldwide, and Ciszek and Kühr wanted to try a similar approach to 3D printing. They wanted to create a platform that could connect engineers to a 3D printing facility that could produce their prototypes.

“We thought a marketplace would be a good approach because we could educate people through a platform and give them immediate information about whether a part can be produced and at what price,” says Ciszek.

With grant funding secured, now things were getting more serious.

“Now we were dedicating 100% of our time to that one idea, and we had to start building it,” says Kühr. “Early on, we found Felix Bauer, [3YOURMIND’s current chief technology officer] an ambitious technology expert. He helped us build our first software platform.”

Pictured: Co-founder Stephan Kühr giving an early presentation on 3D printing in 2017.

Shortly after, Kühr traveled to Munich to pitch the marketplace platform to investors and industry leaders.

“Over the weekend, Felix put together the first prototype of the platform, and I remember I was there an hour before the big pitch meeting, and it was still pretty buggy,” recalls Kühr.

Moments before the company’s biggest pitch to date, Kühr wasn’t sure if they could pull it off.

“We were on the phone, and of course, we were both nervous – ‘is this going to be ready in time to demo?’ and while I was there preparing for the pitch, Felix fixed it.”

Kühr went on to do a live demo for a wide audience in Munich, and the outcome forever changed the direction of 3YOURMIND.

“Afterward, one of the investment guys comes up to me and say, ‘Hey, I’ve hardly ever seen someone bold enough to do a live demo at a pitch,’” laughs Kühr.

The risky move, powered by bold decision-making – and perhaps, young entrepreneur naïveté – paid off.

To read the full story of how 3YOURMIND became one of the most prominent names in additive manufacturing software, head to 3YOURMIND.com

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