The Silicon Review
When shopping for household goods, apparel or any kinds of products most people are blissfully unaware of the complications involving supply chain logistics. The goods are manufactured in one place, stored up and shipped all over the globe to be sold. It is the price of manufacturing, storing and shipping, among other things which determine the pricing of the products that we buy every day. Nearly every single luxury product that people buy is manufactured in an Asian country, where the costs of labor and production are significantly lower than those in Europe and America.
Companies have long since tried to keep the prices down by streamlining the production and optimizing the supply chain. One start-up plans to revolutionize the entire concept of production and supply chain logistics. Founded in Austria, mything envisions an ecosystem where all the goods are manufactured locally in all regions, on demand, thereby eliminating the need for an elaborate supply chain that would otherwise include manufacturers, distributors, and vendors across continents. By leveraging a network of professional 3D printing providers, mything plans to highlight local, instead of overseas manufacturing.
Motivation to Start the Company
It is widely known that most of the mass-produced consumer goods are manufactured in the Middle East or the Far East, put on stock and shipped all across the globe. While it keeps the cost of production low, it results in longer time to market, long delivery times, high transportation costs as well as environmental pollution. Moreover, it does not create any additional value in regions where the goods are sold.
mything plans to change that structure on a fundamental level. It envisions the leveraging of 3D printing technology to achieve its goal. As most people know, 3D printing involves “printing” of entire products using a 3D printer. It works just like a regular printer that prints on paper, the difference being the third dimension. mything created a platform on which designers upload 3D models of products designed using any 3D software. The platform automatically checks in real time if the uploaded designs are printable. Customers can later shop for products just like they do on e-commerce websites like Amazon, only, they will be selecting the designs, instead of the finished products. After a purchase order has been confirmed by a customer, local 3D printers close to the customers can print out the product and sell it to the customer locally.
The individuals running the printing enterprises can “print produce” goods on demand. This eliminates the need for mass-production, warehousing as well as shipping, improving the time to market and allowing mass-customization. Moreover, it also mitigates the risks involved in transportation and stocking.
Fabrication using 3D printers is already here, as many companies are already producing clothes and shoes using this technology. mything aims to become a platform that allows a three-way interface between designers, printers, and customers.
Unique Business Model
How it works is that product designers from around the world upload their designs to mything’s website. Manufacturers offering 3D printing services across the world are required to register themselves on the platform. Customers visit the platform, select a product, personalize it, select a 3D-printing provider near them, and proceed to the check-out. They can then decide either to have the item sent to them or pick it up themselves. For every article ordered and produced, the designers receive a license fee that they set themselves. mything calculates the printing costs based on various parameters given by the 3D printing provider such as cost per machine hour, cost of materials, etc. mything receives a commission on both the license fee from the designers and the 3D printing costs. Furthermore, it permits mass-customization of all the products featured on its platform.
Two of the major technical complexities of the platform is in the design check and the price calculation. The assessment of the design includes a general printability check, potential file repair, a detailed printability check including the decision on printing technique and material usage, customization options offered by the designers and so on.
The price calculation for each design and printing is carried out during the customer session in real time. Based on the price and other parameters such as distance, rating, etc, mything presents the best fitting local 3D printing provider. To sum it up, the challenges that need to be addressed are the verification of 3D data (e.g. printability, design errors, design repair, etc.), production quality control, price calculation based on various parameters, licensing and fulfillment.
Product Launch and Reception
After the launch of the beta version, the company experienced substantial traction in sales with limited marketing efforts. mything was approached by corporates and 3D printing providers for partnerships. Additionally, it is also in talks with a company for white labeling parts of a platform and got some of the first B2B orders from large enterprises like the largest telecommunications provider in Austria. Furthermore, mything is in discussions with 3D-printing providers interested in using their design check and price calculation as SaaS.
mything is continually adding relevant features in the area of customization and usability. Further on, it will add 3D-printing providers in Germany as the first step towards internationalization. Additionally, its product offering is growing steadily. To make things more interesting, the company is organizing design competitions and inviting designers to submit their designs, which will be judged by an independent international jury.
Meet the Founders of mything
Florian Mott (CEO and Co-founder) has over 15 years of experience in international management in marketing, e-commerce, and telecommunication industries. He has worked successfully in the United Kingdom and Austria for brands like bwin (a leading international online gaming brand) and A1 Telekom Austria (a leading Austrian and Eastern Europe telecommunication brand). He is not only a digital marketing expert but also has a background in finance. He developed successful brands like bwin with various international market entries, as well as international teams across Europe.
Matthias Kerstner (CTO) has over 10 years of experience in consultancy, conception, and implementation of e-commerce platforms and international marketplaces in the B2C and B2B sectors. He has developed various international e-commerce sites and marketplaces.
Other co-founders are Frank Kappe, professor and dean of faculty at Graz University of Technology and Gerhard Pail, a former Consultant at McKinsey & Company. Together, they own the venture capital fund KaPa Ventures.