Elephab receives seed funding to pioneer advanced manufacturing of replacement parts in Nigeria Oct 3, 2017 Lagos, Nigeria
ElePhab, an advanced manufacturing company that produces replacement parts almost instantly as an alternative to importing them, received their first round of funding today from Beta.Ventures, a US-based, early-stage venture capital fund.
The investment will help ElePhab.Co quickly establish themselves as the first major source of 3D printed replacement and emergency parts for various industries across Nigeria. Regarding the investment, co-founders: Industrial designer and EngineerAnjola Badaru and Damilola Akinniyi, say they will use the funds to prove the business model in Nigeria before exploring expansion to other African countries.
“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”, Mr. Badaru said. Mr. Akinniyi pointed out that power is no longer a barrier to entry for manufacturing in Africa. “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,” he added.
Co-founders and the general partners of Beta.Ventures,Ike Eze and Ovo Emorhokpor said they believe that the potential for scaling manufacturing companies in Africa is immense. “When you remove power and access to raw materials as barriers to entry, suddenly manufacturing in Africa looks attractive to investors”, Mr. Eze said.
The company and product idea came out of the GE Lagos Garage advanced manufacturing training program. Mr. Badaru was able to refine his business idea, come up with his first fully functioning replacement part, build a pitch deck and gain access to investors through the program designed to train individuals on advanced manufacturing using 3D printing and other advanced manufacturing techniques. Patricia Obozuwu, Director Communications and Public Affairs for GE Africa, which created and funds the GE Lagos Garage program said, ”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”. She added, “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“
The advanced 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. “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,” Mr. Badaru said.