Oct 4, 2017 | By Tess

3D printing startup Elephab is aiming to bring production back to its home country of Nigeria through the additive manufacturing of replacement parts. The young but promising company recently closed its Series A funding round, attracting the attention (and investment) of venture capital firm Beta Ventures.

Founded by Anjola Badaru and Damilola Akinniyi, Elephab was born from the idea that products used in Africa should be manufactured locally. As Badaru told local press, “We truly believe the future of manufacturing for products used in Africa is in Africa. We can’t keep importing parts from overseas and then wonder why our economy is struggling.”

Badaru and Akinniyi are both part of GE’s Lagos Garage, an advanced manufacturing training program aimed at teaching “hardware entrepreneurs” how to use 3D printing to develop, prototype, and produce new products and parts locally. It was through this program that the pair were inspired to start their own 3D printing company.

”In demonstration of GE’s commitment to skills development on the continent, the GE Garage program was conceived to produce a new wave of African innovators and entrepreneurs, by equipping them with modern technologies and business development skills,” explained Patricia Obozuwu, the director of communications and public affairs for GE Africa. “It is a springboard for Africans to compete in the fast-evolving work environment of the future.”

At the GE facility, Badaru learned the ins and outs of using a 3D printer and successfully created a number of parts, including an AC blower for his friend’s car and a pitch deck. Through Elephab, the maker hopes to continue making functional parts at a lower cost and faster rate than importing.

With the funds from its first financing round, Elephab says it will further develop its client offering, including its 3D printing capabilities, product design process, and user platform. The startup will be working with a small fleet of high-quality 3D printers, which it purchased from the U.S. and Germany.

GE's Lagos Garage

“3D printing is not just for prototypes anymore," said Badaru. "With these professional-grade machines, we can print fully functional parts in minutes, that now rival the original parts in quality, durability, and strength.”

Beta Ventures, a venture capital firm focused on supporting Nigerian tech innovators, believes that Elephab’s vision is a promising one and one that could help the Nigerian manufacturing economy get back on its feet.

As it explains, one of the main inhibitors of Nigerian manufacturing and investment in the sector has been the country’s sporadic power supply. With 3D printers, however, the low power consumption (about 100 watts while printing) means that the machines can be run through solar power. “We could run two printers off one solar panel if we wanted,” said Akinniyi.

Ike Eze, a co-founder of Beta Ventures, added: “When you remove power and access to raw materials as barriers to entry, suddenly manufacturing in Africa looks attractive to investors.”

So far, the financial details of Beta Ventures’ investment in Elephab have not been disclosed, though we are excited to follow the Nigerian 3D printing company’s growth and development.



Posted in 3D Printer Company



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2raregem wrote at 10/4/2017 5:39:42 PM:

A great and good step in the right direction of beginning to do something to take Nigeria out of the "sole consumption" status to a "manufacturing status".... Keep it up guys!!!

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