Recently, on November 29, we visited Zaporizhzhya to take part in a StartUpFest contest! As partners of the event, we had the opportunity to choose and award the most interesting and promising startups. In our opinion, the winner was a 3D print-large 3D printer. Olexiy Shevchenko, project manager, spoke about the advantages of the device over similar ones in the market and the experience of building a successful startup in Ukraine. This will be discussed later in the article.
Tell us about yourself, about the team.
The most important thing in our team is the team itself. Alexander Komissarov is engaged in designing printing devices. He is highly experienced in working with CAD systems. He is professional but at the same time accepts criticism calmly. In some cases, it can be quite difficult to design a very simple detail, and then, a look from the outside is constructive and useful. At such moments all those nearby can voice their opinion. I am largely engaged in working out electronic components of devices and general management of the project. There are people who are always willing to help us, even if they are abroad or working hard on their own projects. Providing advice is quite a big part of the job.
How long have you been developing 3D printers? How did it all begin?
I have been involved in this work for 7 years now. I joined the team about 4 years ago, but at that time only part-time, because I was working elsewhere. Then, I could not devote much time to this project.
Present your project in 3 words.
Large-size 3D printers.
What is unique about your technology? Today, no one will be surprised by such a device, but your project continues to take awards in the field of innovation.
Now we have an idea to create a large-size printer that will use a plastic pellet for printing, which will reduce the cost drastically. In addition, the printer is still planning to have a spindle with a cutter installed for finishing plastic products if necessary. Recently we have been taking part in different exhibitions. All we do is to start the printer in work-start printing. Even after transporting the printer to neighboring places, nothing gets off and printing goes well even in cold and windy weather. In most cases, other printers can not boast of this. The most important advantage of our printer is its price, which is about half less than similar products ailable on the market.
All we do is to start the printer in work-start printing. Even after transporting the printer to neighboring places, nothing gets off and printing goes well even in cold and windy weather. In most cases, other printers can not boast of this.
Why did you decide to participate in the contest? Had you known anything about Polish-Ukrainian Startup Bridge before?
On November 1, 2019, I presented our project with „small” 3D printers at the competition of business plans at the business incubator in Zaporizhzhya region and received a 100 000 UAH grant. After the competition, many of the jury said that it was necessary to try ourselves out in the StartUpFest. It was at the festival that I met up with representatives of Polish-Ukrainian Startup Bridge.
Where do you plan to invest the grant?
Of course in equipment. Now we need to buy 2 powerful workstations for the design and the grant money will be enough to purchase 2 professional NVIDIA Quadro graphics cards.
What problems did you face while developing a startup? How were they fought?
The biggest problem is the fact that it is difficult to deal with all paperwork, composing all the necessary documents, making reports, etc. That is the paperwork that is greatly disliked by innovators and usually scares most developers. But with the help of the internet and professional advice, the problem can be easily solved. First of all, we build the project up in Ukraine due to the fact that we are Ukrainians, we were born here. We are ready to work with any other country in the world, but we would like to work in this country and help develop our region.
Does the company already have experience of cooperation with foreign investors, in particular from Poland? Are you planning to enter the European market?
To date, we have delivered several 3D printers to Turkey and had preliminary talks about cooperation with Spain. To enter the European market, we need to get a CE certificate, but it may take a lot of time and effort. Having been certified, we will definitely try to enter the Polish market.
Tell us about the most interesting or amazing 3D printing order.
First orders are always weird. But then you get used to it. When Alexander began to work with dentists and made models for the alignment of teeth we were astonished at types of dental defects. Now, Alexander and Andrew (who are directly involved in printing) attention are drawn to the defects of teeth even when they have an ordinary conversation with people. I remember the first MRI scan of the human skull, which was designed for surgery after a head injury. There are so many people people who come up with their own specific problems. The blender broke down and there are no mechanical parts to be found in service shops, or 2-10 pieces of specific fasteners are badly needed. We can easily model and solve these problems. Sometimes we even get requests to print toys for adults.
Startup to startup: give a piece of advice to other startups on the early project stage.
Go ahead and do not be afraid. If you are not able to implement the project yourself look for like-minded people. If you have thought about your project in earnest, your device is sure to be wanted by someone not only you. Make at least one step towards your dream, i.e. development and success of your project every day.