For Nexus 3D founder Vikas Hutagikar, the idea of 3D printing did not even cross his mind, let alone the vision to create a whole venture for the technology. The inspiration from such an idea came from his college days when Vikas was always keen to build and to work on projects. Anything that was found was fair game of becoming the best product it could be. He later came to the realization that no matter how much efficiency he could get out of a creation, a limit would be reached on its capabilities. This reality begged the question: how does one find better materials when you do not actually have them?
This setback convinced Vikas to search online where he discovered 3D printing, a technology that allowed users to print out 3-dimensional designs and parts. The convenience and ease of such a concept seemed ingenious to him, so he set off focusing on 3D printers as his next project. Although the high cost of obtaining such a printer would deter many, Vikas took matters into his own hands by building his own printer prototype. The success of this project only pushed him further, venturing closer and closer into the entrepreneurship realm. After soul-searching on how to blueprint his venture, Vikas settled with his final idea: creating a digital platform that connected 3D printing suppliers to online customers across India. Because there were already existing 3D print suppliers across India, it made more sense to simply connect them via an online platform at the convenience of consumers.
After being advised by his brother, Vikas went to the Deshpande Foundation and ultimately Sandbox Startups to present his platform. The incubation center was definitely on board to assist and they gave him an opportunity to validate the idea with an MVP (minimum viable product). Rather than create the platform outright, Vikas embodied the spirit of it offline by informing potential customers about what he had to offer with 3D printing services. On the supply side, he was able to find people with printers who could offer a lower price for a requested design. Even with commission charges, it was evident that the consumers were willing to pay a lower price from a reliable middleman. The validation step was done.
The support offered by the incubation center was critical to their growth. For one thing, it certainly helped that Nexus 3D won 2.5 lakh rupees from Sandbox Startups’ boot camp event that the tier-ii center hosted. And indeed, the mentorship, office space, and constant stream of events were beneficial to improving the enterprise. But beyond mere funding, the education received on the basics of business was essential to maintaining their startup while the co-working space allowed a lot of sharing and mutual learning to be done among other entrepreneurs.
From sleepless nights completing orders to various setbacks from school, it was clear that life was holding Vikas back. Furthermore, it did not help that Nexus 3D initially ran with zero revenue streams for months on end. But faith and support kept the team going, even with the difficulty of failing. It was not until the success of 3D printing a workable arm for an amputee when he realized the societal good his enterprise could make for people. It was worth fighting for something that began as nothing and has progressed into something impactful for people’s wellbeing.
For Vikas, Nexus 3D is not just a digital 3D printing hub for customers and vendors. The venture has potential in being a discussion place for solving problems, pairing innovative designers with 3D print suppliers who can support them in their endeavors. By having many people come together with a variety of ideas, value is created to invent things that affect everyone from the military to the hospital. Indeed, there is great optimism in the societal impact the 3D printing hub can offer from the ingenuity of its users. It will be exciting to see how Nexus 3D does in its upcoming years.
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