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Op-Ed: 500 Startups' Pinshape launches Uprising - 3D printing made easy Special

By Eleanor Wall     May 26, 2014 in Technology
What do you get when you combine 3D printing, Pinterest-style collections, Dribbble-inspired design portfolios, and Etsy-style shopping capabilities? If three entrepreneurs from Edmonton, AB have their way, Pinshape will soon be the obvious answer.
Taking a multi-pronged approach to 3D printing, Pinshape allows end users to discover 3D designs they like while allowing 3D designers an opportunity to build a customer fan base and reputable online portfolio. Pinshape lets end users customize and purchase 3D merchandise (for those that don’t have their own 3D printer) or they can purchase design downloads from Pinshape’s pre-screened portfolio of 3D designers. This multi-pronged approach allows Pinshape to serve the needs of customers while facilitating brand growth for designers. As the explosion of 3D printing capabilities steamrolls its way into everyday living, designers need a way to connect with potential customers and those customers need to be able to purchase 3D goods on a platform they can trust. Since Pinshape pre-screens each designer on their platform, customers can be assured that their purchases are being offered by vetted designers capable of exceeding expectations.
While 3D printing success stories like human skulls and prosthetic limbs garner plenty of media attention, it is the potential to print every day items that is truly exciting to mainstream users. From 3D printed jewellery to 3D printed household utensils, the ability to print virtually anything one can imagine is the impetus in this growing industry. Pinshape aims to become the go-to source for 3D printing enthusiasts and the maker community that wants to turn those customers’ 3D printed ideas into tangible objects. In an effort to achieve that goal, Pinshape recently launched Uprising. 3D printing enthusiasts can create suggestions on Uprising for items they would like to see printed in 3D and then community members are able to up-vote the suggested ideas. The 3D printing idea with the most votes will then be printed by Pinshape. Think of Uprising like Reddit for 3D printing. If you can dream it and a 3D printer is capable of printing it, the Pinshape community just might make it happen.
Launching Uprising hasn’t been the only task on Pinshape’s plate as of late. No, this Canadian startup has been busy relocating to Silicon Valley, CA to join 500 Startups’ Batch 9 Accelerator class. Successfully managing to secure interviews for both Chicago’s Techstars and Silicon Valley’s 500 Startups, the Pinshape team ultimately decided to accept the 500 Startups incubation and $75K investment. Based on 500 Startups’ focus on data and distribution along with their international mentor network, the team felt the #500Strong community was where their startup needed to be. Between their move to Silicon Valley, getting acquainted with their 500 Startups batch-mates, and immersing themselves in the nose-to-the-grindstone activities of building a bankable startup, the Pinshape team have barely had time to catch their breath. One-third of the way through the 500 Startups Accelerator program, Pinshape has already hired their first interns and made connections at their first Maker Faire appearance in San Mateo. Co-founders Lucas Matheson (CEO), Nick Schwinghamer (COO), and Andre Yanes (CTO) are busy absorbing all of the knowledge their #500Strong mentors are offering while keeping their heads down and focusing on their long term goal of becoming a major hub for 3D printing and 3D printing education.
Having just publicly launched their platform at the beginning of April of this year, Pinshape is currently focusing on growing relationships with the 3D designer and maker community, growing their two-sided marketplace model, and refining their software platform. Building a Pinterest-style platform that not only engages customers but effectively showcases designers is no small task. While their initial platform is most definitely a work-in-progress, customers can already find items ranging from 3D printed smartphone cases to egg cups and jewellery pieces.
If you’re intrigued by the potential of 3D printing, you’re going to want to dig into Pinshape and get creative with their Uprising feature. 3D designers are eager to create products customers want; Uprising’s up-vote capabilities lets designers know which items are actually in demand from 3D printing enthusiasts. If you’ve got a cool design idea but lack the 3D design skills to make your vision a reality, Uprising is tailor made for you. According to Pinshape CEO Lucas Matheson "The potential of 3D printing is incredible. We want to make sure everyone has access to this great technology, and with Uprising, all you need is an idea to get involved."
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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