The journey to becoming a pioneer in replacement parts manufacturing begins now.
The brilliant team received their first round of funding from a US-based, early venture capital fund. Beta Ventures.
The first round of funding, or 'Series A' funding, is capital a company raises to help it enhance the product and the user or customer base.
"But it's not a charity. In return, the investor in return gets to own a share of the company. This investment is to help fast track Elephab's ambitions to become the first major source of 3D printed parts in Nigeria.
Take a car AC Blower for example. When a damaged AC Blower needs replacing, mechanics rely on used parts or in other cases, imports that take time. Elephab wants to reduce that waiting time from weeks, to minutes.
Led by the tag team, Anjola Badaru and Damilola Akinniyi, the fund will help validate their business model. Anjola, who's an industrial designer and engineer, said this:
“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”
One thing manufacturers get asked a lot is this; how will you have to deal with Nigeria's erratic power supply? Damilola has an answer:
"The 3D printers we use consume about 100 watts when printing, which is about as much energy as a few light bulbs. We could run 2 printers off one solar panel if we wanted to.”
The co-founders of Beta Ventures, Ike Eze and Ovo Emorhokpor, strongly believe in the potential for scaling manufacturing companies in Africa. Ike said:
“When you remove power and access to raw materials as barriers to entry, suddenly manufacturing in Africa looks attractive to investors.”
This product idea came out of the GE Lagos Garage's advanced manufacturing training program. It was here that Anjola refined his business idea and came up with his first fully functioning replacement part.He also built a pitch deck and gained access to investors through the program. Patricia Obozuwu, Director Communications and Public Affairs for GE Africa, which created and funds the GE Lagos Garage program said this:
”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. It is a springboard for Africans to compete in the fast-evolving work environment of the future”.
On Elephab, she said: “We are particularly delighted and proud of the progress made by Anjola in turning his idea into a venture in a short time. His is another of the over forty commendable success stories recorded since the inception of the Lagos Garage in November 2016“
Anjola and his team are not here to play small. The 3D printing machines the company will use were purchased from Germany and the US, and are capable of much larger build volumes, speed and a higher finish quality than household 3D printers. It's why Anjola said:
“3D printing is not just for prototypes anymore. With these professional-grade machines, we can print fully functional parts in minutes, that now rival the original parts in quality, durability, and strength.”
We'll be rooting for Elephab from here, as we watch closely on the progress they make.