Amsterdam-based startup Beamler is looking to build a new 3D print service network.
The company doesn’t make or operate its own 3D printers, but provides access to a network of participating industrial 3D printers of various capabilities. It does so through an online portal where 3D models can be managed.
The idea is that designers would sign up for the service and then upload their 3D models for analysis. In Beamler’s system these models would receive instant feedback about printability of the model, and offer the ability to provide automated model repairs.
There are features for businesses as well. Groups of designers can collaborate by sharing 3D models, and it may even be possible to work with clients in limited ways.
But the key feature of the system is access to a network of 3D printers that can offer to print the models upon request. The Beamler system can provide quotes from different services in a unified manner, from which you can choose your best option.
Here’s how they explain the service:
The platform helps the engineer to assess the quality of the 3D model design and helps him or her select the best material for the job from a growing database of hundreds of materials. From plastics to metals to composites.
The platform gives design and manufacturing companies access to a worldwide network of industrial 3D printers, or the tools to manage their in-house printer parc. Future features will include account management and billing options.
And that leads to their focus of late: fundraising. Evidently they’ve raised some signficant funds to startup, but now they wish to raise a lot more, presumably to expand their operations and scale their network of 3D printers to additional regions.
They are holding a fundraising event on June 15th to gain commitment to investment, and they offer discounts of 10% or more for significant investors. The investment raise seems to be taking place through Symbid, an online crowdfunding-like service that sells equity in companies rather than taking pre-orders for products like Kickstarter.
Beamler is an interesting concept, but they have stiff competition from a number of other parties. The problem with this type of venture is that there really isn’t anything stopping a competitor from setting up a similar network of 3D printers, and in fact several have already done so.
Perhaps that is one reason for their strong focus on fundraising: to enable funds to rapidly market their system and gain a larger portion of the market before others do so.
It’s also a bit curious why they sought a public mechanism for raising funds, where usually companies of this scale would directly approach venture capital firms for investment. But that seems to be Beamler’s strategy.
Nevertheless, Beamler seems to be another option for those requiring the use of 3D print services from an independent provider.