Spotlight on 2014 NYC Next Idea Winner: Senvol
Senvol is a NYC-based startup at the forefront of additive manufacturing.
In April, we announced Senvol as the winner of our fifth annual NYC Next Idea Global New Venture Competition. The group, founded in Philadelphia but now based in NYC, is at the forefront of 3D printing and was selected from over 240 teams from 51 countries—the most diverse pool of applicants to date for NYC Next Idea!
Prior to founding Senvol in 2013, co-founders Annie Wang and Zach Simkin attended The Wharton School as MBA students. Their idea was inspired by an Innovations course during the fall 2013 semester. While brainstorming for an assignment on business ideas in the 3D printing industry, Annie had an idea that would disrupt the distribution and supply of industrial parts on the B2B side. Zach and Annie joined forces...and the rest is history!
We caught up with Zach, one half of the busy duo, who received $35,000, six months of free office space at Columbia Startup Lab, and other in-kind services to help move their business to NYC.
What is Senvol's mission?
Senvol helps companies fully leverage the opportunities and benefits that additive manufacturing (i.e. 3D printing) can provide. With a focus on the business implications of adopting additive manufacturing, Senvol’s core expertise lies in analyzing how the implementation of additive manufacturing can increase business profit.
Prior to founding Senvol, what were you up to?
Prior to Wharton, Annie (left) worked for five years at an operations consulting firm and I (right) worked at a manufacturer of public health and hygiene products.
What makes Senvol different from other 3D printing companies?
The additive manufacturing (i.e. 3D printing) industry has a tremendous amount of technical and engineering talent, but sorely lacks business expertise.
With a business perspective, Senvol recognizes that additive manufacturing isn't just a new manufacturing technique that solves manufacturing problems. Rather, additive manufacturing fundamentally changes businesses because it enables the digitization of physical objects and as a result, the technology solves supply chain problems.
When companies make parts using additive manufacturing, they have the potential to decrease lead time or increase speed to market. From a business standpoint, adopting additive manufacturing affects the entire supply chain and product life cycle. Senvol’s proprietary algorithm analyzes the entire supply chain and factors in secondary costs such as inventory, downtime, and shipping to determine which parts can be more cost-effectively made using additive manufacturing versus the status quo.
Developing a strong working relationship between co-founders is crucial. What advice do you have for others seeking business co-founders?
Firstly, trust is the basis for any sort of important relationship, and that's no different for co-founders. Make sure to find someone you trust unequivocally.
Secondly, it's important to find someone who you work well with on a professional basis and who has a complementary skill set. For instance, Annie and I have different academic backgrounds and different approaches to problem solving. This translates well to having a balanced approach to running Senvol.
Finally, it's imperative that the co-founders are both deeply and equally committed to the venture.
What was your favorite part of NYC Next Idea? (Aside from winning, of course!)
The best part was visiting, getting to know, and integrating into the start-up scene in NYC. There is a tremendous amount of energy, enthusiasm, talent, and resources in NYC! The city is also home to a rapidly growing additive manufacturing industry with the likes of Shapeways and Makerbot headquartered here, as well as many other up-and-coming start-ups.
Interested in NYC Next Idea? Learn more here.