The 3D printing startup mything.com has just secured €2.1 million in funding from the Austrian venture capital firm KaPa Ventures. The Graz- and Vienna-based startup already has a team of 10 people and plans to launch its marketplace in late autumn of this year. mything aims to become a central, international platform for additive manufacturing products made by local manufacturers for end customers.
It is rather rare for a venture capital firm to invest millions in an Austrian startup, especially before the business is up and running.
Frank Kappe, investor at KaPa Ventures, stated: “3D printing is on the point of entering the mass market. At precisely this sweet spot the moment appears to have arrived to set up a platform that can bring all the necessary partial aspects and players in additive manufacturing together. That is the reason for our considerable investment at this early stage.”
One of the most persuasive arguments for the imminent breakthrough is, according to Kappe: “The expiry of important patents in this sector means that enormous sums are currently being invested in taking the technology to the next level. This development hugely benefits the market and will even gather more momentum. It may sound presumptuous, but additive manufacturing will be the foundation of the next industrial revolution. It is precisely for that reason that we are involved in mything at its inception.”
Gartner, one of the biggest IT market research firms, has come up with one of the most impressive figures to highlight the forthcoming explosion in 3D printer sales: According to its research, around 450,000 3D printers were sold worldwide in 2016. But by 2020 alone this figure is expected to rise by a factor of fifteen to 6.7 million. And this is only the beginning of a global trend that will have sweeping consequences.
So what exactly is mything? In the near future the mything’s founders aim to create the international marketplace for local additive manufacturing. It is planned be a central platform where designers, manufacturers and customers can meet easily. Besides this three-sided marketplace, local manufacture in 3D printing shops is at the heart of the platform. Several exist already and their number is rising fast. The mything’s founders believe that in future they will be as common as copy shops, sub-post offices and other local suppliers.
Currently, many products such as spare parts are still manufactured centrally and then shipped around the world to the buyer. This leads to high costs (for transport and storage, for instance) and also causes unnecessary harm to the environment. This is what mything intends to change with its pioneering model.
Co-founder Florian Mott stated: “Many papers by acknowledged experts confirm that in future only 3D data will be sent around the world instead of physical commodities. Production follows the principle ‘Think globally, act locally’ and takes place in a local factory near the customer. This results in reduced costs – through on-demand production, for instance – and significantly shorter delivery times.”
In order to secure market shares and visibility right from the start, mything will begin in niche markets with the categories “Jewelry”, “Accessories” (home, office, interiors) and “Seasonal” (e.g. Christmas, Valentine’s Day) because it is in these segments in particular that 3D printing brings customers the most benefits thanks to fast availability and the possibility of full personalization. Among the materials that could be used are various types of plastic, precious metals and resin. Besides additive manufacturing, laser-cut production technology with materials such as wood, acrylic, card and felt will also play an important role.
mything has already made a small but significant splash with the international design competition “my precious plastics” that runs until next Sunday. On the mything website exclusive jewelry designs in plastic for 3D printing can be entered until 10 September. An international jury will choose the winning designs. Besides the cash prizes, all entrants will also have the opportunity to offer these and other designs for sale via mything in the coming months. The next design competition, on a Christmas theme, will begin in October.
The platform is currently being finalized and undergoing extensive testing. At the same time, designers and manufacturers are being recruited. The first marketing and sales activities are also starting at mything, whose team is situated in Sektor5 in Vienna and in Graz.
Florian Mott already has the vision fixed firmly in his mind: “mything is based on additive manufacturing as a globally relevant manufacturing technology. Our aim is that in future many products and commodities for daily use are purchased via our platform and are manufactured digitally and locally near the customer.”