Shapeways is probably one of the most interesting, and fastest growing 3D printing ventures out there today. They allow designers to upload their 3D models, and then sell those models as 3D prints, which Shapeways creates in house. By offering dozens of different materials and colors to clients, which they can have thousands of different 3D models printed in, the options available are nearly endless.
According to Alexa.com, approximately 40% of Shapeways’ traffic comes from individuals within the United States. This is then followed by India, the U.K, and then Japan. Japan only accounts for approximately 3.8% of all website traffic to Shapeways.com. One of the reasons for the lack of traffic from Japan is likely the language barrier, as well as the fact that it costs $19.99 to ship an item to the country.
This is where a company called Kabuku comes into play. Kabuku, founded in January of 2013, manages a web service very much like Shapeways, but a Japanese version. The service, known as Rinkak, works much the same as its US counterpart, and is looking to expand their business as the 3D printing market grows. Today Kabuku announced that they have raised $2 million in series A funding, which has been led by CyberAgent Ventures.
“We will use the funds to enhance its development organization to accelerate service, function, and globalization, in order to rapidly structure and upgrade the platform where creators and companies can conduct production simply by uploading 3D data,” said Kabuku CEO Masahiko Inada.
Rinkak utilizes high end 3D printers which are capable of printing in plastics, ceramics, metals, and rubber. The ability to 3D print any design on their website, means that no stock needs to be maintained and stored in a warehouse, which saves money over a typical ecommerce business.
“As already seen in the smartphone business, any developers can sell their own applications simply by uploading to the platform,” Inada added. “Similarly in the manufacturing world, Kabuku will create scenes where anyone can easily manufacture, sell and ship their own products simply by uploading 3D data to Rinkak.”
Rinkak hopes that they can take advantage of the tremendous growth opportunity within the market today. Shapeways has seen a substantial increase in business over the last 12 months alone. With the funding announced today, Rinkak should be able to get a major head start within the Japanese market, as the go to 3D printing marketplace. Discuss this article and Kabuku’s 3D printing ambitions at the 3DPB.com forum thread for Rinkak.