In 2012, childhood friends Martin Lansard and Pierre-Antoine Arrighi decided to stop talking about their idea and turn it in to a reality. For years, they had faced the difficulty of wading through all of the information available in the world of 3D printing. As they researched more and more products, services, and sites they began to take careful notes and consider ways in which they could share the data they had collected so that it would be easy to access and easier to understand. It was this idea that was behind the founding of their company Aniwaa which was launched in June of 2013, first in English and then a year later in French as well.
They quickly discovered that the demand for their data outweighed even their initial high hopes and in 2014 quit their day jobs, “at big cool companies” to devote themselves full time to the production and dissemination of the comparative data. The co-founders explained their impetus for the project and what they have to offer:
“Our mission is to process all the data of the 3D printing ecosystem and deliver relevant and actionable knowledge to help you make the right decisions for projects. We are building the most comprehensive and reliable 3D printing knowledge base. We collect detailed specs, gather information, and curate reviews on products encompassing the entire 3D printing ecosystem. Our comparison engines provide an easy access to this knowledge base, so you can find relevant information when you need it.”
The first version of their website has now received a complete overhaul, under Meriem Nassiri’s watchful eye. Nassiri is an editor with years of experience and she works hard to make sure that the site’s content is understandable and clearly communicated to its audience. This newly launched site, called V2, allows people to search through and make comparisons between hundreds of products. Currently, it includes in its database information on 855 3D printers, 227 3D scanners, and 105 3D sites and softwares.
“This release marks a huge step towards our mission to deliver relevant 3D printing knowledge to help our users make the right choices for their 3D printing projects,” said Lansard.
At a glance, you can line up websites, for example, with a variety of filters to ensure relevance, and check across them to compare if they offer 3D file creation, 3D file download, 3D file preparation, 3D file printing, and/or 3D printer management. Rather than having to dig through the website for each company in order to find the one that lines up with the features you need, it’s all there in an easy to read table. As the world of 3D printing continues to expand, there will be ever more information to wade through and doing it on your own may mean that you miss crucial opportunities, simply because of the volume of data to be examined.
The creation of this kind of database benefits those who are offering the services as well. Rather than having to figure out how to find all of their potential clients, they will be able to be connected with people and companies who need exactly what they offer. The chances of making a connection to fulfill the niche for which they were created are greatly increased by this easily searchable ‘meet and greet’ tool.
While their website is all business, no gimmicks, it’s easy to tell that the members of the Aniwaa team still have their personalities about them and they seem to be having fun. This is important because a data-intensive exercise such as this requires not only a lot of hours but long-term dedication. If they are having fun, then this is likely to be more than just a flash in the pan project. This database becomes truly useful only in as much as it is able to continually evolve and be updated and refined over time. The world of 3D printing changes fast, and data about last year’s companies isn’t terribly helpful.
Whether you are just dipping your toes into the 3D printing tidal pool or are a fully certified diver, Aniwaa makes searching through the ocean of data more accessible than ever, saving you time to spend on your next project.
Discuss the latest version of this database in the Aniwaa Forum thread on 3DPB.com.