Entrepreneurial Research

  • trinckle 3D: Printing out the world's pieces


    Gunnar, Marlene and Florian


In 2005 at Freie Universität Berlin, Florian Reichle met a "likeable comic bird," as he says, who was already starting up, when hardly anyone in Germany could spell entrepreneurship. The man had an office right on Friedrichstraße – albeit a smaller one –, where he even lived to afford the noble company address. This attitude paid off: Ehssan Dariani founded StudiVZ, the social network which was initially more successful in Germany than Facebook. Florian says that back then the entrepreneurial spark of Dariani lit up a burning entrepreneurial desire in him.

Making print

On campus, the studied business administrator Florian met his two co-founders Marlene Vogel (Technical Executive Director) and Gunnar Schulze (CTO), who both "did something wicked with 3D printing" in their doctorate projects, in the fields of atomic physics and molecular and surface physics, respectively. First they discovered that they shared common values, then they found support of the university’s Exist program and finally a way to combine research and entrepreneurship in a profitable way: academic knowledge plus public research funds (so-called third-party funds) to finance part of their development work.

One hand helps the other

The federal state of Brandenburg supports trinckle 3D, and in return the company pays business tax in future and creates jobs in Hennigsdorf, north of Berlin. In a sunlit loft of a brick building with large kitchen and lots of wood, the three founders are working with their nine-man team on the future the things. At noon they often cook together. And they received a nomination for the renowned DLD Award.

Business model

trinckle does not produce 3D printers, but programs and sells software that enables 3D printing the simple way. Because the problem of many 3D printing data files is that they are not printable. They include geometric errors or the printer cannot manufacture the object, because individual elements are too thin, for example. Where once more time-consuming manual testing and adjusting was necessary, trinckle now offers automated (and thus scalable) solutions for processing 3D files quickly and reliably so that data can turn into things. The printing itself takes place via the trinckle cloud, to which the most diverse service providers are connected.

In addition to that, trinckle’s proprietary CAD engine makes for a three-dimensional content machine: load the basic design (e.g. a cup), adapt size, color, shape or, and print it. Also complex structures are possible, such as small gear transmission that can be easily generated without expertise thanks to software from trinckle.

Pioneers with a future

Because trinckle are 3D pioneers in Germany, the startup already serves various companies with 3D printing services and basic software. In B2C, the early renown also pays off: 40% of searches for 3D printing service in Germany land organically on trinckle’s website (according to them).

The sound geometric mathematical understanding of the two post-doctoral physicists founders paired with the nerd factor in the team (to translate entrepreneurial thought quickly into smart algorithms), plus Florian’s belief that "happiness can be worked on (he wheedled the loft from his landlord, who previously lived there) – and all of this in conjunction with a new technology (from simple to complex objects, from mechanical components to highly specialized prostheses, many things are already printable) make for great mix: trinckle is working up front on a kind of future, in which the missing pieces of the great puzzle of the world come much more self-evidently from a printer.

[June 2015]