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This is part of an ongoing series on the recipients of the MetroConnect Prize, presented by JPMorgan Chase, a grant awarded to 15 companies looking to expand into new foreign markets.
Surgeons carving and printing replica human ears. Bakers building edible delicacies from their computer. Doctors deploying printed materials to replace a man’s skull.
This isn’t science fiction anymore. These are actual examples of the capabilities of 3D printing.
According to Wohlers Report 2015, the 3D printing industry grew at a compound annual rate of 35.2 percent to $4.1 billion in 2014. Additionally, the industry is expected to grow to $12.8 billion by 2018, and exceed $21 billion in worldwide revenue by 2020.
However, due to the high priced systems, not many students or entrepreneurs have access to these systems.
“Back in 2011, we looked around and instead of forking up $2000 for a personal 3d printing machine, we decided to build one ourselves,” said Braydon Moreno, CEO at ROBO 3D, in an interview.
The idea that he and his team can create a more affordable 3D printer spawned the creation of ROBO 3D. With support from the region’s strong robotics and tech industries, ROBO 3D has experienced major growth over the last few years.
“San Diego is the foundation by which we began building this company,” said Moreno. “We engaged with numerous San Diego based companies early on such as CONNECT and the Qualcomm Robotics Accelerator program to help us gain traction and further boost the credibility of our company and brand.”
Having a globally recognized brand has opened many doors for ROBO 3D – targeting Germany, the United Kingdom, and France for its international expansion. In using the funds from the MetroConnect Prize, ROBO 3D is establishing a beachhead operation in Europe, opening a new division to gain a larger share of the market.
The success of small businesses is critical to the region’s future, and increasing their global reach is crucial to that success. Through the MetroConnect Prize, companies such as ROBO 3D received $10,000 grants to assist with their next step in going global.
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