Make-Print, a Melbourne-based software startup, took home the $5,000 second place prize from the 2021 Embry-Riddle Launch Your Venture Competition. The annual pitch competition is amongst the most prestigious in Florida for student-led startups. The state-wide competition is focused on disruptive technologies impacting the aviation, aerospace and engineering industries. The prize money is often the first dollar these student-led startups receive to explore their idea and launch their company.
Make-Print seeks to decentralize the 3D printing market. They recently completed Groundswell Startups' Idea Stage Accelerator led by StarterStudio, an Orlando-based incubator. The collaborative partnership between the organizations uses StarterStudio's results-driven curriculum to help Space Coast-based companies validate their ideas, build sustainable revenue and business models, and get their pitch decks investment ready.
The Make-Print team, Pascal Dao, a PhD student studying computer engineering, Federica Pala, an MBA student with a focus in accounting and international business, and Josias Moukpe, a PhD student studying Computer Science, all attend Florida Institute of Technology. The trio identified 3D printing and additive manufacturing as an industry that is experiencing exponential growth, while also encountering problems of efficiency when it comes to connecting with customers and being able to quickly and systematically issue quotes.
"We are incredibly excited about winning 2nd place. The prize money comes at a perfect time. It will help us bring the improvements to the platform that our customers desire. Beyond the prize money, winning for us is validation of our vision and the work we have put in so far" said Pascal. "The accelerator forced us to zero in on a precise value proposition, and taught us to better articulate our ideas. The StarterStudio and Groundswell teams were always available and we had access to incredible mentors. Special thank you to the Groundswell team, especially the founders, who provided us the support and guidance we needed to get to this point."
The Make-Print platform aims to serve small 3D print shops as well as entrepreneurs seeking to get 3D printed prototypes made. On average, a shop owner has to account for over 48 variables when creating a custom quote, taking into consideration over 10 different file formats, hundreds of printer models and more. Make-Prints software takes all of this into account, and equips shop owners with a quoting system that saves precious time and resources. In addition, their platform makes it easier for entrepreneurs seeking to get parts and prototypes made by identifying 3D print shops in their area, inputting their specifications, and seeing the best prices and options available. The platform also provides the added value of exposure and marketing capabilities on behalf of 3D print shops, many of which run with limited staff making it difficult for them to do this type of promotion on their own.
Make-Print's win at the Launch Your Venture Competition is the second Groundswell company this year to take a top prize at a pitch competition. In March, Mindstamp took home the $25,000 Grand Prize as winner of the Crummer Rollins Venture Plan Competition.
"The moment we met Make-Print, we knew they had something special. It has been so exciting to see their idea evolve over the past 3 months and how hard they have worked to get ready for this competition. It is also a testament to the level of expertise and dedication we have here in our Groundswell Startups community. So many of our mentors and members dedicated their time to provide feedback and resources" said Jarin Eisenberg, Chief Operating Officer of Groundswell Startups. The high-tech incubator and coworking space located in Melbourne, FL recently celebrated a tech expansion, with the opening of the brand new 8,500 square foot Tomahawk Robotics building. Founded in 2016, the incubator has helped more than 30 companies raise over 30 million in venture capital funds. Providing free mentor services and low-cost flexible space, Groundswell is a hub for high-tech founders, innovators, and creatives.
To learn more about Groundswell Startups please visit: https://swellstartups.com/