Founder Spotlight: Erick Chua of Shapecloud

Shaping industries through 3D printing technology

By Howard Ong

Before the technology of 3D printing was invented, creating something from scratch was difficult. This was because you would need the basic knowledge and the right tools and machinery before you would be able to create your desired output. Nowadays, however, it is different because of the emergence of 3D printing technology. With it, you would just need a virtual design and a 3D printer, and you would be able to create a 3D object. This technology made manufacturing simpler and well within the reach of an ordinary person who can afford the technology.

Although 3D printing has been around for quite some time, it has only been recently introduced in the Philippine market for the past few years, in which its printer and printing services still remain uncommon. This is because there is a lack of education and awareness when it comes to knowing its full potential. Previously, Filipinos only got interested in 3D printing because it renders an amazing result in the personalization of products, but this mentality is slowly evolving. People are now starting to realize that 3D printing can be used in different industries. One man who is trying to educate people about the potentials of 3D printing is Erick Chua, the owner of Shapecloud.


Shaping different industries

TechShake managed to land an interview with the founder of Shapecloud, Mr. Erick Chua, were he discussed his start-up’s history and it’s path to success.

The idea of establishing a 3D printing start-up first came into thought during Erick’s senior year in college, where his primary goal was to inspire others to come up with unique business models and products. Shapecloud then became successful. It is now serving many clients both locally and internationally. Erick got his inspiration in starting up a 3D printing shop by going to various websites about 3D printing and subscribing to all of its newsletters in order to get updates about the industry and technology. The start-up is a cloud-based 3D printing shop wherein clients can either upload their virtual designs or ask them to do the design for them. Their main clientele is the engineering, architecture, and advertising industries in the Philippines. They also have partnered with a 3D design firm that has allowed them to get international clients, such as a group of therapists from New York that ordered a tool for muscle rehabilitation.

Despite their success in these industries, Shapecloud’s main goal is to educate the people about what could happen if they use 3D printing in their industries and professions. The company educates people about it by participating in different events such as school fairs and manufacturing expos. As Erick said, “The more we spread information about Shapecloud, the more both the industry and the educational applications and awareness will grow among the public”. If more people get to know about 3D printing, both his business and the industry will benefit from it because of its many possibilities.


Secrets to shaping a successful cloud

Erick has also shared that the secret to why his present endeavor is successful is because his family has supported his decisions in life. He was already successful in the corporate world; he was being a management trainee at a large automotive company when he decided to pursue his 3D printing startup. He also said that, “Filipino’s are family oriented, and many times we observe that the influence of a parent on his child to join the corporate world would traditionally go unchallenged”. Relating this to Erick’s experience, if his family had not given their support, it would have been difficult for him to begin his start-up.

What Erick did was very risky, and his family was there to support his decisions in life by always encouraging him. This support was something that was not typical for a Filipino-Chinese family that would prefer their children to take safer career rather than to take risks and uncertainties. “My family was very supportive of me, and maybe that was the main reason why this [Shapecloud] got pushed along”. Without his family’s support, he may not have ended up building Shapecloud, and though many conservative Asian families prioritize security and stability, a number still see the value in taking leaps like this.

Parting cloud of thought

For Erick Chua, communication is one of the secrets to success when it comes to creating a business. It is important because this is the primary tool you use when engaging in a business transaction. Being able to relay your value proposition to an audience that isn’t familiar with what your business does can be a huge challenge, but understanding how to send that message across in a clear yet relatable way is the key. One must learn to enhance his communication skills if he wishes to become successful, whether it is in business or in life.