We were intrigued by the notion that 3D printing makes it easy to split a transaction for an object into its physicalcomponent (fabrication) and its intellectual propertycomponent (design). Combine that with other 3D printing benefits such as making what’s needed, when needed,where needed, and the freedom to design without constraints, and we saw an opportunity. So we set out to integrate these features by combining software and business processes with a network of multiple service bureaus in a commercial-grade cloud-based exchange platform. Our initial version fulfills transactions between customerswho desire a product, owners of the product designs, and third party 3D printing service bureaus that fabricate and ship the final product. Future versions will also incorporate “crowd-sourcing” of designs, third party certification, 3D printing engineering services, and workflow management.
3Discovered is an ideal solution for any supply chain impeded by minimum order quantities, aging inventories, “long tail” products, legacy machines, and discontinued parts. And the rapid development of cheaper 3D printers and materials will continue to make us an attractive complement to traditional manufacturing and sourcing processes. The major shareholders in 3Discovered are Ocean Tomo (an intellectual property merchant bank) and Liberty Advisor Group (a technology consultancy). Other investors include venture capital firm Accelerate-IT Ventures (AITV).