Printers are long gone, the time where printers were synonymous with just printing a sheet of paper. Now is the new age where printers can be used for designing and printing products such as cartoon figures to small objects of your choice. With best-in-class technology inbuilt, this is one of the best 3D Printers you can buy in the market. This Is Ionic3DP, a startup that provides quality 3D Printers founded by Francis Regan and his team.
About the founder and his previous ventures
Hi, this is Francis Regan and I am the founder of Ionic3DP. Post completing my Master’s from the National University of Singapore in the year 2012, I have been working with 3D printer manufacturing companies such as Pirate3D and Structo, Singapore. My key specialties are firmware development, automation, and robotics. Prior to entering the domain of 3D printing, I have worked for a digital signage company in Singapore as a Software Developer.
Could you tell us the story about Iconic3DP? What motivated you to start it?
Ionic3DP was started with like-minded friends/ colleagues in 2016 in Singapore. All of us were passionate about 3D printing and Robotics. Our initial team members were a mix of Indian, Chinese, and Singaporean. We worked in the R&D team of Pirate3D, a Singapore 3D printer manufacturing company. Meanwhile, I moved on to another 3D printer manufacturer company named Structo, Singapore who was into Stereolithography-styled 3D Printers. While we worked on our regular full-time jobs, for the next 3 years we used to meet up almost every day at the university campus after work. The National University of Singapore was kind enough to offer us a space to work on our little inventions. We had the opportunity to work with several companies for whom we made ergonomic keyboards, automated car washing systems, robotic hands for handicapped people, and a non-profit project for the elderly and handicapped.
While working on the car washing system for the Korean market, we came with a unique style of manipulator (a robotic hand) which is derived from a mechanism called Scott Russel. With our vast experience in 3D printing, we quickly made a 3D printer out of the concept which we called Kappa 3D printer. We knew that this unique system is going to be revolutionary, and no other solution existed like this. Post this we, together, with my team started a company called Ionic3DP in Singapore. We patented and launched the product (Kappa 3D printer) on Kickstarter, and we succeeded. We went on ahead and sold several hundred units through distributors and channel partners in the US and EU markets.
While exploring the Indian market for 3D printers, we realized that the market is still not tapped to the full extent. Hence in the year 2019, we started Ionic3DP Ventures Private Limited in India at Ernakulam. Our team has expanded ever since we started in India, and we have launched three products that are sold under our brand Ionic3DP and have successfully implemented projects in IOT and Automation for Chennai Metro Railways, Chennai Airports, and a Fortune 100 company.
Since early 2020, we have been working with Simelabs in Ernakulam to build medical ventilators and respiratory monitoring devices under a joint initiative called Indventr (www.indventr.com).
Brief us about a few products and services that you deliver. How do you reach out to your customers with these products?
For the medical devices that we manufacture, we directly connect with the hospitals if it’s private or through the medical board for govt hospitals. For the 3D printer product sales, we target online marketing and govt tenders
How do you ensure the quality of your products?
All our products are EMC/ EMI certified through a registered lab. The components that we use on our devices are also CE certified and high grade. We have extensive test procedures in place for each product that goes from our shop floor
Where is your venture based? Why did you choose the place?
We have two offices, one in Chennai and another in Ernakulam. Ernakulam is the head office
What were the challenges you faced in setting up your venture? Has it gotten easier over the years?
We did not face any challenges. We had support from Makervillage and Kerala Startup Mission
Could you tell us about a few milestones you have crossed over the years with your venture?
We as a team wanted to build a stable company looking into 3D printing and Robotics technology as our strength.
The major goal was to cross the breakeven point within a span of 1 year. We were able to come to the breakeven point within the first year but the COVID crisis did hit us. Luckily we were able to pull through the bad times with the projects we had at hand, which kept us busy and going.
We have been selected under the Nidhi Prayas scheme of the central govt to receive funding for producing Metal 3D printers in India. The recognition that our team received and enabled us to work on this difficult project was another major success for us.
As a startup, we received the very first PO, the same month we set up the company. It was encouraging as startups take months/ years to receive their very first PO.
Successfully deployed 50 installations of our 3D printers all over India as of August 2021. Won a govt tender with the Naval Materials Research Lab in Mumbai to build the fastest and most powerful 3D printer.
We did not receive any external funding so far. We have been able to successfully venture out, break-even, and have reached a good profitable stage.
Who are your competitors and how are you better than them? What are your unique selling point?
We do not focus on producing cheaper goods, but rather focus on the quality. We do not compromise no matter what the quality. Hence, we have repeat customers. We take pride in the quality of our goods, and I find that as our unique selling point. In terms of technology, our products are novel and unique. The technology of our products is on par with what is available in the western markets. We constantly strive to build powerful and stable products and as a result, we are able to win the market with less effort against our competitors.
Have you raised funding? Could you brief us about it?
We have not raised any funding, yet.
Tell us about your team and how did you meet each other?
The core team in Singapore are my colleagues and friends who studied at the National University of Singapore and we worked in the same company. The core team in India is Mr. Greaton (our R&D Mechanical engineer), Mr. Vinoy Vishu (our AI/ML specialist), and Francis Regan (myself) and I took the role of being the CEO. We have had a strong bond from childhood and it was easy for us to see the vision of the company together. Hence we joined hands to make the company in India.
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