Additive manufacturing (AM)—more widely known as 3D printing—has become one of the fastest growing industries in Northeast Ohio, and with good reason. This region is particularly suited to foster strong growth in the AM industry due to a well-established supply chain, an abundance of end users of AM products and a strong network of educational and research institutions that continually generate new AM talent.
Here is a look at a few local innovators that are leading in the Northeast Ohio AM industry.
Metalcraft Solutions was founded in Akron, Ohio as Acro Tool & Die Company in 1951, specializing in the tire mold industry. As a third generation, family-owned company, they still focus on customer relationships above all else. Metalcraft Solutions employs direct metal laser sintering (DMLS), a manufacturing technology that improves output of prototyping and product development—delivering a significant advantage to their clients. Industries of all types have recognized several benefits with DMLS, including:
With such a wide array of industries that can benefit from their services, Metalcraft Solutions has an immense growth opportunity in this space.
Additive Engineering Solutions
Additive Engineering Solutions (AES) first opened its doors in 2016, and over the course of four short years have positioned themselves as a leader in the AM space. With a team of nine employees as of 2020, and plans to continue growing, AES is poised for success. They have recently expanded into 4,000 square feet of space in their existing facility, giving them a total of 14,000 square feet of operating space to accommodate their growing arsenal of 3D printing equipment—including the first ever Large Format Additive Manufacturing polymer 3D printer, BAAM (Big Area Additive Manufacturing). It’s only uphill from here for AES.
Fila-Mint, Inc. is a small company located in Chesterfield, Ohio. The equipment Fila-Mint employs is highly specialized to manufacture very tight-tolerance medical tubing. To remain viable and on the cutting edge, their equipment has been updated to meet the specific demands of extruding thermoplastics for 3D printers. The attention to detail in this process is key. An often overlooked area of 3D printer filament manufacturing is the winding—but Fila-Mint excels here. While a lot of the commercially available equipment for winding is intended for other products such as wire, tubing, fiber-optics, fishing line, and string trimmers, Fila-Mint has focused significant time and resources to specialize their process to create a smooth and tangle free filament, which is crucial for medical tubing.
Humtown is a three generation, family-owned operation out of Columbiana, Ohio. While Humtown does offer traditional manufacturing methods of sand cores and molds, some clients have different needs that require the precision and efficiency of 3D printing. Humtown Products skillfully uses 3D sand printing technology (additive manufacturing) to produce cores and molds for foundry customers. Humtown was one of the earliest adopters of sand 3D printing to produce cores and molds for the foundry industry, so their expertise is unmatched.
An opportunity for growth
While this was just a snapshot of some of the great innovators of AM in Northeast Ohio, it’s clear that the opportunity is immense. Through the efforts of researchers, educators, and investors, Northeast Ohio stands to solidify itself as a true hub for AM innovation in North America. If you’re an Ohio-based AM company looking for support and resources, email us today at firstname.lastname@example.org
Congratulations! You’ve earned your first real investment, but what are the next steps to ensure your investors are satisfied and your business thrives? Below, we’re sharing some of the most pressing, immediate next steps so that you can amplify your investor’s ROI, as well as business success.
Maximize the business relationship with your investor
There are two sides to every story when a company earns its first investment—the investment works toward the benefit of both the business and the investing firm. It’s the company’s task to maximize the investment to exit and it’s the investor’s responsibility to help the company achieve its goals. The business should take advantage of the assistance investors can provide—like help with building teams, leadership expertise, help with executing on deals, and more. The founding members of the company and the investors must establish a mutually beneficial relationship to where the investors add value, and the company meets or exceeds business objectives.
Change your mindset
Your company earned its first round of funding, but the hard part isn’t out of the way. To maximize on the investment, the leaders need to shift from creating a startup to scaling and operating a growing business. With this shift comes more structure, stronger processes, and better strategic thinking.
A couple of things can’t change though—maintaining a lean operation and successful execution.
Focus on building a strong team
One of the most important factors of company success is the team building in the background. To show the company’s dedication to executing on set goals, it’s imperative to have employees that believe in the vision and values. Investors want to have confidence in the leadership team having competency, commitment, honesty, and trustworthiness, to name a few characteristics. Another key trait is having a leadership group that is coachable in addition to being able to manage their own work. The business is only as strong as the leaders behind it, so focus of effort should be applied to finding the right people that fit the need.
Pro tip: start small and lean.
It’s thrilling to achieve the first foundational steps of starting and running a business. Once funding is secured, leaders of the company need to quickly shift gears and focus to ensure they execute on the plan ahead. Stay focused at this milestone mark and beyond so that you don’t lose steam, and you can charge full speed ahead!
Happy Mother’s Day. Whether we’re celebrating wins in the home, outside of the home, or in business. Moms everywhere make impactful strides to the betterment of the community through technology, so we’re highlighting some of our favorite tech-inspired startups created by inspirational mom-preneurs.
When Manisha Shah and Sonia Chang reconnected in 2018, they grew closer by sharing each other’s parenting “ah ha” moments—all centered around the importance of incorporating play into their children’s lives. Shah discovered the importance of interactive play while caring for her premature newborn, and Chang realized play’s impact on her children’s development. Together, the mothers cofounded Playfully, an app that assists in cognitive development through evidence-based, research-backed, age-specific activities.
By downloading the app, parents can open new doors to tips and tricks for easy, convenient ways to promote children’s healthy progress. Makeusof noted Playfully as one of the top five apps to track your baby’s development.
Founder and CEO Ariane Goldman found herself puzzled when she couldn’t find the style of clothing she was looking for during her pregnancy, putting somewhat of a damper on a moment she believes should be magical. HATCH came out of this what-to-wear challenge in 2011, and offers chic, elevated maternity and wardrobe solutions for soon-to-be moms. HATCH also offers safe beauty products so moms can feel good about the products they’re using. Even better, HATCH is more than clothes—the brand offers a community through digital engagements and content. Moms everywhere can check out the company on Facebook, Instagram, and Zoom for an ongoing series of virtual events.
Co-founding moms Mary Fallon and Dori Graff came together along with CEO Dug Nichols to simplify buying and selling kids’ clothes everywhere. In 2011, the co-founders launched Kidizen, an online resale marketplace for fashionable children’s clothing. Their unique approach to business—community over closets—shapes their online platform into more than a store. Customers can browse, connect with other parents, share styles, and more.
Extra Crunch reported that in 2016, Kidizen saw 100 percent year-over-year growth and reached more than a quarter million registered U.S. users. The success led to the company’s 2017 achievement, when Kidizen partnered with Chicago-based Origin Ventures to raise $3.2M in Series A funding.
What’s better than sharing your photos on Instagram? Sharing your baby’s photos on Tinybeans! In 2012, Founders Stephen O’Young and Sarah-Jane Kurtini enhanced O’Young’s first version of a website and app to track his children’s milestones into Tinybeans. The platform makes it easier for parents to connect with their family and share their children’s journeys through photos, videos, and messages.
The app took off quickly, and by 2013, Tinybeans saw its first one million memories uploaded by users. By 2019, Tinybeans hit three million users, was featured in NY Times, BBC, and Forbes, and was named “App of the Day” in the U.S. App Store.
Hanna Chiou and Anne-Louise Nieto found new challenges to tackle after becoming moms, and decided to do so together. Driven by their children and to simply do something that matters, both women left their corporate jobs to start their own company. Founded in 2019, Habbi Habbi is centered around accessible, intentional, educational products and makes it easier for parents to raise bilingual children. Kids can learn Chinese or Spanish through a combination of books. More interestingly, the founders wanted to create a tech product without learning from a screen—insert the Reading Wand. Along with the books, the Reading Wand dictates words, phrases, or sound effects. Kids everywhere now have access to learning another language through play-based learning.
As we look forward to this special holiday, we love to think about the meaningful work mothers contribute to our society. We appreciate the creativity moms bring by thinking outside of the box, and the many startups, gadgets, apps, and sites that come from their thinking. To all the mom-preneurs, thank you for your valuable impact!