It is always interesting to track startups that are doing everything they can to succeed, to see their passion and a never-ending desire to keep going. One such company is the Swedish based Volumental. We have now done a number of stories on the company and can see that they are definitely doing what every startup should in terms of raising money, pivoting and finding their place in the market.
They started out as a research project, Kinect@Home, which aimed to help robots navigate our homes by creating a large database of common objects. This technology gave the founders an idea to start a company that would create a ‘scan to print’ app and become the ‘Youtube of 3D’ in the long run.
Volumental started off with a €260k investment but soon launched a Kickstarter campaign for their scant-2-print app. Through this process, they were able to identify a new market for themselves, a niche that can help them take the company to the next level. They now want to focus on your body.
Volumental is betting on an upward trend in the 3D Printing/Scanning space and the trend towards personal customization in all industries. To do so, they have raised a $3 million round from Silicon Valley based FOUNDER.org and MOOR (Founded by Kaj Hed, amongst others).
The first step, and the pivot, involves scanning your fit for both medical and retail uses. On the medical side of things, the company wants to help medical specialists to for example create special insoles. On the retail side, it would help people get the perfect fitting shoes online.
As an example, the company demonstrated how this would work using Intel’s 3D enabled laptops to scan the feet and partnered up with PLAE, a maker of kids shoe company focused on design with an emphasis on customization, which would then be able to deliver truly customizable shoes to their clients. It also makes buying shoes online – a safe bet. You will be sure that they will make a perfect fit.
As PLAE CEO Jonathan Spier comments, “3D fit technology offers a new and innovative way to give customers confidence when they buy that the shoes will fit.”
Of course, at the moment, it is not quite that easy to find a 3D camera, capable of taking the scans, but it is definitely an upward going trend. Intel just introduced 3D Enabled laptops and according to Volumental, many more are coming, including handheld mobile devices (Read: phones). So if this is the case, scanning and customization is definitely the way of the future.
Volumental CEO Caroline Walerud comments “This is only the beginning for Volumental, we are looking at productifying and commercializing this proof of concept this autumn and are very excited about the opportunity to bring our first solutions to the market. We see easy foot data capture at home as a step towards an entirely new way of manufacturing shoes in a more localized and customized manner. In the future manufacturing will change dramatically, it will involve individual customers to a much greater extent than today. At Volumental we believe that everything you wear should be made to fit you, not the other way around.”