In December 2013 Ocean Tomo and Liberty Investment Ventures co-founded 3Discovered, the world’s first independent online marketplace exchange platform for commercial-grade 3D printable designs. The company connects owners of 3D printable designs and third party 3D printing service bureaus with customers who desire to purchase functional 3D printed objects. 3Discovered focuses on facilitating the monetization of commercial-grade 3D printable objects by separating the transaction to purchase the finished object into an intellectual property license fee paid to the design owner, and a manufacturing fee paid to the 3D printing service bureau chosen by the customer to print the object.
Earlier this morning the team at 3Discovered announced the successful closing of the company’s first external financing round, which included AITV, a venture capital firm focused on early-stage and medium-growth IT software companies, and private investors. The round was more than 50% oversubscribed and builds upon last year’s seed investment by Ocean Tomo and Liberty Investment Ventures.
Current marketplaces for 3D printable designs are believed to be consumer-focused with limited content. They are often ancillary businesses either controlled by 3D printing service bureaus that operate a 3D printing facility (thus offering customers no choice in where to print their licensed designs) or controlled by 3D printer equipment manufacturers who only offer designs that can be printed on their brand of 3D printers. Design owners may be hesitant to upload their works on these consumer-grade marketplaces due to concerns of piracy, and consumers may be hesitant to buy designs from unknown designers without third party verification on the quality of the design. In contrast, 3Discovered is intended to be the first 3D printable design marketplace exchange that incorporates IP piracy protection for design owners, and third party design suitability verification for customers. Earlier this year, Ocean Tomo released a study on patent quality and historical trends within the 3D Printing market space. A copy of the 2014 3D Printing Patent Study Executive Summary is available here.
In the press release issued by 3Discovered, Peer Munck, the company’s Co-founder and CEO shared plans to “commence transactions of 3D printable designs and products for our commercial partners early next year”, using “the company’s patent-pending exchange platform”. The platform is the first to address the obstacles to transacting commercial-grade 3D printable designs by incorporating features such as piracy protection, quality, verification, pricing transparency and multiple 3D printing locations and technologies.