This Company Is Pursuing The Untapped Potential Of 3D Printing In Kenya

After growing up and working in his family’s manufacturing business in Kenya, Mehul Shah saw the big opportunity of 3D printing and decided to pursue its untapped potential full-time. He started Ultra Red Technologies two years ago as a contract 3D printing company in Nairobi to design, prototype, and produce custom 3D printed products that solve problems for clients in their community and around the world.

From their inception, the team received requests from a broad scope of industries. In the first few months,  they created a cooler box for a major plastics manufacturer, CNC machined spare parts and ethanol cookstoves from sheet metal.

“We believe in the untapped potential of 3D printing.” – Mehul Shah, @UltraRedTech

The range of requests and the eagerness to quickly produce high-quality products at scale immediately brought Mehul and his team to the realization that it was necessary to upgrade from a desktop cube printer to an industrial size to meet customer demand.  Ultra Red Technologies needed a printer not only with the capacity, capability, and adaptability essential to the variable needs of customers and their various requests, but also a printer that was easy to use and repair, and that came with world-class customer support available to them in Nairobi. In-depth research led them to  Gigabot, and a video confirmed their decision to become part of the re:3D family.

Lithophane by Ultra Red Technologies

The Gigabot has been Ultra Red Technologies’ premier printer and has leveraged its unique strengths to produce products across industries using a wide range of materials in variable sizes, from large, human-sized products to small creations, all with the same attention to magic details. Ultra Red Technologies’ creations range from product designs for students, to custom-made electronics, to splints for physical therapies, to dental appliances, to computer-aided engineering projects, to individual creative requests (like a wine rack or speaker) – the list goes on and on. The applications for 3D printing are endless, limited only by customer imaginations. Customers easily envision what they want to create, upload a photo, and Ultra Red Technologies makes it a reality. Alternatively, anyone can shop through innovative pre-designed products for purchase.

The applications of 3D printing are endless – limited only by our imaginations.

3D Printed Architectural Model

Not only has the breadth, quality, and scope of use of the Gigabot been influential on Ultra Red Technologies’ business, but its high rate of productivity and quick turnaround time has turned first-time customers into repeat users.These customers come back because Ultra Red Technologies produces high-quality products effortlessly, and further, pre-emptively provides solutions to problems the customers would otherwise later encounter. They have saved some of their customers up to $150,000 through product prototyping and cut down the timelines of product design projects from the norm of 6  months to a couple of weeks. For instance, Ultra Red Technologies has cut the build times of cardboard architectural models from 6 months to just two weeks. And the 3D printed models come with the bonus of added detail not found in other methods of creation.  An outstanding “wow factor” like this makes customers keep coming back for more.


Ultra Red Outdoors 3D Printed Canopy

But this is only the beginning for Mehul and his team. Seeing the massive opportunity in the 3D printing industry,  Ultra Red Technologies has evolved to expand its services and has started producing their own innovative products – bringing to life their ideas and building products in pursuit of their passions and solutions to significant problems. They began to hone in on their enthusiasm for the outdoors by launching a particular arm of their company, Ultra Red Outdoors, and to date, have created custom outdoor products such as canopies for wildlife exploration vehicles (watch them in action). Currently, they are in the middle of printing parts to make a solar-powered desalination device to provide access to reliable, clean drinking water for the 41% of Kenya’s 48M population currently without it. And they are just getting started.

Their impact is tangible, and the possibility is exponential. Check out more about the 3D printer Ultra Red Technologies is using and follow their journey. To learn more about Ultra Red Technologies and their services, contact their team.

WeWork Gave Us a Million Dollars

Exactly one week ago, on Wednesday, January 17th, five members of the re:3D team joined the screaming throngs filling the theater at Madison Square Garden and watched as our CEO and Co-Founder Samantha Snabes took the stage.

Along with seven other finalists, Samantha answered questions from a panel of five judges: WeWork CEO and Co-Founder, Adam Neumann, Joy Mangano, inventor and entrepreneur portrayed by Jennifer Lawrence in the movie “Joy,” Lisa Price, founder of Carol’s Daughter, Tamara Steffens, GM of Business Development at Microsoft, and Tim Ferriss, author of “The 4-Hour Work Week.”

Everyone knew the judges’ deliberation was going to be hard: they were faced with picking just one winner from a golden lineup. When they came back to the stage, they had news for us. There would be a change of plans.

Instead of a single one million dollar grand prize winner, each finalist company would walk away with a chunk of money, and they would award two million dollar checks.

Samantha sat in a room just offstage with the other representatives from the finalist companies, each wearing noise-cancelling headphones and oblivious to the twist of events that was taking place onstage. The camera on the big screens cut to them, giving the audience a glimpse of the eight. If I’m not mistaken, all of them were on their phones.

In ones, twos, and threes, they were plucked from the room and whisked onto stage.

First, Manal Kahi from Eat Offbeat and Becca Keaty of Bunker Labs, each winners of $180,000. Next came Elizabeth Lindsey of Byte Back, who took home $360,000. As each round passed, those of us in the audience knew our odds of taking home a million increased. Then came the $500,000 round – three of them – Sebastian Jünemann of CADUS, Naveed Parvez from Andiamo, and Or Retzkin of EyeControl.

That was it. Samantha didn’t know it yet, but we’d just won a million dollars.

The final two – J. Kevin White of Global Vision 2020 and Samantha – faced the hosts on stage with expressions that vacillated between fear and confusion.

And then the reveal.

Almost before the words had escaped co-host Adi Neumann’s mouth, Samantha grabbed White’s arm with the realization they’d each be taking home a million. Confetti exploded from the ceiling, friends and family rushed the stage, and the audience went wild. We did, at least.

We said it last week – this entire experience with WeWork has been absolutely incredible, and taking home a grand prize was just the cherry on top. We’ve learned a lot since taking the Creator Awards stage in Austin last June, we’ve met a lot of amazing people along the way, and we continue to be inspired by our fellow finalists and semifinalists and the good you are doing around the globe with your work.

And of course, we are honored to have WeWork as a partner in fulfilling the dream we’ve had since 2012: to – in Samantha’s words – “make a toilet-sized 3D printer powered by trash.”


Postscript: We have a lot of people to thank.

First and foremost, thank you WeWork for making this incredible event happen. Your vision is inspiring and the lineup of companies in the Global Finals exemplified that. We will forever be grateful for this opportunity and experience.

Thank you to all the people and organizations who have supported us along the way and made our journey to last night’s stage possible: Kickstarter, Startup Chile, Unreasonable Institute, Bridge Community, Parallel18, Bunker Labs, Tom Chi, Pascal Finette, Wevolver, IEEE N3XT, and more.

Gracias a Sebastian Vidal, Executive Director of Parallel18, for speaking on-stage at the finals as our advocate, or testimonial. From Santiago Startup Chile days to Puerto Rico with Parallel18, you’ve been with us since the beginning.

Thank you to all our fellow Creator Award Global Finalists and Semi-Finalists. Eat Offbeat, Andiamo, Bunker Labs, Byte Back, CADUS, EyeControl, Global Vision 2020, Quaker City Coffee Company, Warmilu, Coral Vita, Chatterbox, and LeVar Burton Kids. You guys inspire us.

And lastly, thank YOU, our community! From our very first Kickstarter backers to those of you who have been following our story online, we couldn’t do it without your support.

We are so excited to update you on our plastic-trash-printing progress.

Photos from WeWork

Pitching for a Circular Economy: What We’d Do With a Million Dollars From WeWork

It’s Wednesday January 17th, 2018, and we’re in New York City.

Tonight we’ll be on stage at arguably the most well-known arena in the world, Madison Square Garden.

Seven incredible companies are by our side. One million dollars is on the line.

These are the WeWork Creator Awards Global Finals.

What are the WeWork Creator Awards Global Finals?

If you don’t already recognize the WeWork name, it’s time to get aquainted.

WeWork is, as their website says, a global network of workspaces where companies and people grow together. But it’s more than just office space. They’re the self-proclaimed platform for creators, and they’re putting their money where their mouth on this statement with the Creator Awards.

The Awards were “designed to find those world-changing ideas, put them in the spotlight, and give them the resources to go further.” In their words, they’re rewarding entrepreneurs, artists, startups, and nonprofits who are thinking in new ways and creating real change, supporting innovative projects and the people behind them. They’re putting millions of dollars into allowing people to fulfill their own personal versions of the WeWork mantra: “Create Your Life’s Work.”

Over the past year, WeWork has been holding Creator Awards around the world – from Austin (that’s us!) to Tel Aviv. Thousands of applicants, hundreds of regional finalists, and millions of prize dollars later, it comes down to tonight: the Global Finals.

The Finalists

We’re in the company of people and organizations doing absolutely incredible work. The lineup is staggeringly inspiring.

There’s Becca Keaty, 20-year retired veteran of the Army National Guard representing Bunker Labs, a national non-profit empowering veterans and active duty service members with tools to start and grow their own businesses.

Elizabeth Lindsey from Byte Back, a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit improving economic opportunity for underserved metro area residents through computer training and career prep.

Manal Kahi and Wissam Kahi are the Lebanese sister-brother duo of Eat Offbeat, a company delivering home-style ethnic meals conceived and prepared by refugees resettled in NYC.

The CEO of Andiamo, Naveed Parvez, whose company in London is using data, biomechanics, and 3D printing to create affordable, custom, and fast medical braces and other devices.

Tel Aviv’s Or Retzkin, the CEO of EyeControl, creators of the first communication device that enables locked-in individuals like ALS patients to communicate using only eye movements, without the need for a screen.

Sebastian Jünemann of Berlin-based CADUS, a nonprofit humanitarian relief organization that has developed and implemented affordable mobile hospitals on the frontlines of crisis in Syria and Iraq.

And then there’s one wildcard, a mystery eighth finalist who will be chosen by popular vote from a group of six semifinalists.

Like we said, it’s quite the group.

One Million Dollars

One million dollars. That’s the grand prize the eight of us are competing for. Each organization has unbelievably compelling reasons for how they’d use the money – we can’t say we don’t feel for the judges.

We know you’re curious – what’s ours? We figured you’d ask.

There’s a few different things we’d do with the money, with the main being the development and release of a system to 3D print from plastic waste. Thanks to the Scale Award we won at the WeWork Austin Creator Awards, we’ve been able to prototype a pellet extruder to 3D print using plastic pellets, including pellets made from recycled plastic. Here’s a video about our progress on that project and what’s still to come.

But our ultimate goal is bigger than this.

In order to fulfill the dream of able to shred volumes of plastic trash that would be dried and fed automatically into a printer, there are some resources we need. Winning the $1 million would provide us the financial resources to not only refine our pellet printer prototype to accept ground-up plastic water bottles, but also to allow us to engineer a grinder, dryer, and feeder system to allow people to truly manufacture from waste onsite.

It’s been our mission from the start to create a standalone system that could serve as an on-site factory, allowing a user to 3D print directly from waste. No matter what happens tonight, WeWork has helped take us one big step closer to that dream. We’re so thankful for this experience, the incredible people we’ve met, and the lessons we’ve learned along the way.

Best of luck to all the finalists tonight, and thank you WeWork for the adventure!

WeWork Creator Awards – Hollywood Reporter Article

We’re now inside the one week countdown to WeWork Creator Awards Global Finals and we still feel like we’re dreaming!

We are beyond honored and excited to be one of eight finalists from around the globe competing at Madison Square Garden for a shot at a million dollars. We’re in the company of organizations doing absolutely amazing things, and we couldn’t be more grateful for that.

If you will happen to be in the NYC area next Wednesday you can come join the excitement! It not only includes pitches by eight inspiring companies, but also a performance by Macklemore (and free food and drinks and all that good stuff).

Reserve your seat here:

We’re as busy as ever getting ready, but in the meantime here’s some more news about the night that just came out – it’s going to be even more star-studded than we realized!

The following is a repost of an article from the Hollywood Report. Original article can be seen here.

The event in which eight entrepreneurs from around the world will be competing for a $1 million grand prize, will also feature performances from Macklemore and Soren Bryce.

Jane the Virgin actor Justin Baldoni is set to co-host the inaugural WeWork Creator Awards Global Finals, The Hollywood Reporter can reveal exclusively.

At the event, set for Wednesday Jan. 17 at the Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York, eight entrepreneurs from around the world will be competing for a $1 million grand prize.

Baldoni will be co-hosting alongside former supermodel Adi Neumann, with Macklemore and Soren Bryce set to perform.

In addition to his role on Jane the Virgin, Baldoni is the co-founder of Wayfarer Entertainment and creator and executive producer of the talk show Man Enough. From what we can see, I’m sure many women would enjoy seeing Baldoni in some adult content on websites similar to ( He is a total stud.

“I’m so excited to be co-hosting the first WeWork Creator Awards Global Finals. At Wayfarer Entertainment, we are focused on disruptive inspiration, so I’m especially honored to support other entrepreneurs who are sparking change and trying to make a difference in the world,” Baldoni said. “I know firsthand that when you’re starting something from scratch, it can be really lonely, and the environment that WeWork fosters breeds creativity and community, which are two essential pieces to make this world a better place.”

The Creator Awards Global Finals will be judged by WeWork co-founder Adam Neumann, entrepreneur Tim Ferriss, Miracle Mop inventor Joy Mangano, Microsoft GM of business development Tamara Steffens and Carol’s Daughter president and founder Lisa Price.

The global finalists competing are the following seven entrepreneurs: Naveed R. Parvez (Andiamo), Becca Keaty (Bunker Labs), Elizabeth Lindsey (Byte Back), Sebastian Junemann (Cadus), Manal Kahi (Eat Offbeat), Or Retzkin (EyeControl) and Samantha Snabes (re:3D). Six semi-finalists will compete for the “audience save” final spot on stage: Robert Logue (Quaker City Coffee), Grace Hsia (Warmilu), J. Kevin White (Global Vision 20/20), Sam Teicher (Coral Vita), Mursal Hedayat (Chatterbox) and Sangita Patel and LeVar Burton (LeVar Burton Kids).

The Creator Awards Global Finals is the latest step in WeWork’s initiative to commit funding and brand visibility to entrepreneurs and innovators across all industries and stages of growth. WeWork has hosted seven regional Creator Awards in D.C., Detroit, Austin, London, Berlin, Tel Aviv and New York.