August 16, 2018
SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Figuro3D, a 3D digital imaging company in South Bend, announced its first official partnership with Elkhart Plastics, one of the largest custom rotational molding companies in the United States.
Figuro3D, a company started by a team of University of Notre Dame faculty scientists, makes 3D scanners optimized for speed, ease of use and cost effectiveness to accelerate manufacturing quality control procedures. In August 2017, Figuro3D became an Elevate Ventures’ High-Potential Startup Grant (HPSG) recipient. The HPSG program is pre-seed funding up to $25,000 awarded to high-potential startups in regions where communities have invested in entrepreneurism through partnerships such as Startup South Bend-Elkhart.
“Elevate’s HPSG program (recently replaced by the Community Ideation Fund) exists to help entrepreneurs overcome hurdles to attain a specific outcome or milestone. Figuro3D is a perfect example of this intention at work,” says Gavin Ferlic, Elevate Ventures Entrepreneur-in-Residence in the South Bend-Elkhart region. “This funding enabled them to complete their initial hardware design, successfully obtain their software patent, and attract additional investors and partnerships.”
Elkhart Plastics creates custom plastics in an almost endless variety of shapes, lengths and thicknesses. The company provides custom designs for clients in industries including recreational vehicles, marine, agriculture, commercial construction equipment, heavy truck equipment, material handling and more. With five locations across the Midwest and West Coast, Elkhart Plastics is an industry leader that has been serving customers for nearly 30 years.
“Having a partnership with Elkhart Plastics allows us to have a deeper understanding of their needs and allows us to focus our development efforts. Without this partnership, we are essentially making educated guesses on what a customer will ultimately want,” said Robert Kuang, Figuro3D COO. “We are excited to test our prototypes outside of a controlled environment. Feedback from this type of testing helps us to identify and make changes faster, speeding up the development process.”
The partnership came about after Elevate Ventures provided Figuro3D the opportunity to present their technology to local CFOs at Notre Dame’s IDEA Center, a meeting that Elkhart Plastics also attended. After the event, these companies held a separate meeting and concluded Figuro3D’s technology capabilities matched up with Elkhart Plastics’ applications. Both companies are preparing for a mutually beneficial arrangement.
“Elkhart Plastics’ leadership looks forward to our team partnering with Figuro3D to develop meaningful solutions to both improve our business process as well as create a solid base for Figuro3D to grow their technology,” said Jon Wyngarden, Elkhart Plastics CFO.
In North Central Indiana, Elevate Ventures, Startup South Bend-Elkhart and Notre Dame’s IDEA Center are among the organizations actively supporting the needs of local entrepreneurs and startups by providing access to expertise and funding. These collective efforts are helping drive innovation and the development of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the South Bend-Elkhart region, which includes Marshall, Saint Joseph and Elkhart counties.