What Vulkaza does
Vulkaza is an on-demand production platform powered by a global network of 3D makers who create items for e-commerce in an environmentally friendly manner. Starting with 3D printing, the company is developing a fully automated self-service platform, where designers, artists, and e-commerces may create or modify products and push them to their web stores through connections with top e-commerce platforms. Orders are sent to the makers' app once they have been sold, where Makers, like Uber drivers, pick up orders, 3D print them, and ship them to customers all inside the same country
The Current Landscape
As a multi-side platform, Vulkaza has competitors on both sides - 3D printing as well as supplying products for e-commerce on-demand. On the 3D printing side, all the biggest 3D print-on-demand companies are focused on very technical customers and mostly produce spare parts or prototypes for industries ranging from automotive to aerospace, healthcare, and similar. The key value proposition is elevating product design and 3D printing from just prototypes to end-products and doing it for non-technical users so the only thing that they have to worry about is picking a preferred design and marketing their products. In this sense, Vulkaza is going after completely different customers and thus doesn’t compete with 3D printing services. Looking from a customer’s perspective, there are quite a few options when it comes to sourcing products on demand. Print-on-demand is a well-established industry growing at 26% CAGR with platforms for other types of products on-demand popping up every day. Vulkaza believes that its product range, unique design features, product customization at low quantities, same-country production, and shipping are all complementary to this space. The company can even see itself offering some products via print-on-demand platforms so that it can diversify its product portfolio in the future.
Company Birth Story
When talking about the concept of Vulkaza, it was born during the first corona crisis. As the world was running out of essential protective gear and borders were closed, makers joined forces and 3D printed millions of head holders for shields made from commercially available office supplies. This was a self-organized initiative by maker communities that took place in pretty much all the countries around the world. After the crisis, without the single need to unite the makers, the community kind of disintegrated and went back to working individually. Vulkaza CEO, Ap has bought 7 extra printers during the pandemic and when he joined an early-stage business acceleration program by Antler VC, he was looking for the best ways to put his printers as well as the global maker community to work. During the program, Ap met the two co-founders Odeta and Oyvind who fell in love with the concept of distributed manufacturing. On the customer side, 3D printing end- products on-demand for e-commerce is a very new concept. This simply has not been done before at scale in a systematic way. As such, Vulkaza has to be very creative and very persistent in marketing and selling itself. Lucky for them, the timing is perfect. With disruptions in supply chains and an explosion in retail e-commerce, the creator economy, Vulkaza believes that now is the time to introduce their concept of them to the world of creative people looking to monetize their audiences through their products.
The company has very ambitious plans across the board. Besides launching the beta version of the customer-facing self-service platform in a couple of weeks, seeing itself as a digital platform that will be continuously growing and taking shape throughout our lifetime. On the production side - 3D printing is just the beginning, plan is to start connecting laser cutting and CNC in a couple of years, followed by all means of distributed manufacturing. Opening up a platform for developers of design and other production-related apps will help the company to establish itself as a go-to place for any small-scale production needs for both businesses and consumers alike.
On the customer side, Vulkaza is still looking for the product-market fit and along the way onboarding very exciting and interesting customers from artists to product designers, to Etsy sellers, drop shippers, and small to mid-size e-commerce's, all the way to corporate gifts and merchandise companies. The vision is that anyone can create an account on Vulkaza, find designs or design tools and get their products made locally either for personal or business needs.
A Customer Story
Rasmus Stride, a Norwegian artist who creates digital art and non- fungible tokens (NFTs), is a perfect example of how combining art and technology can produce something innovative, valuable, and beautiful. Using Vulkaza’s 3D print-on-demand technology, Rasmus longed to showcase what daydreams meant to him in artistic physical form. Since 3D printing can translate abstract ideas into tangible works of art, it was an ideal collaboration that brought together Rasmus’ artistry and Vulkaza’s technical capabilities. In Rasmus’ case, he didn’t just create a physical and personal representation of daydreams. He used our 3D printers to stretch his creative muscles as a digital artist and saw himself becoming an artist/designer with real-life physical sculptures. In addition to turning artistic concepts into physical creations, Vulkaza also helps artists like Rasmus develop unique business models so that they can earn income from their art.
The Team Culture
A bit harder thing is to build a startup culture. It is a remote-first company with co-founders and employees in 3 different countries. With so much stuff happening all the time in so many areas it is quite difficult to set time aside for building culture. That’s why Vulkaza uses Teemyco - a remote work app that makes working remotely a bit more like a real office, they are having daily company standups and regularly chat up across teams, on Fridays they share team successes, deltas, and learnings and hold a monthly game night.
A founder quote
‘’We will change how and where things are produced by making it super easy for anyone to design products and get them produced on-demand in the closest proximity to the end-user. Spoiler alert - by then we will connect other means of production, not just 3D printing ‘’- Odeta, Vulkaza COO
Check out now: https://www.vulkaza.com/
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