If you want to develop a smart business model, you think that you definitely need complicated strategies and state-of-the-art technologies that you have a hard time understanding. But things don’t always have to be that difficult.
Evan Weinstein, the founder of the Philadelphia startup Cocoa Press, which produces a 3D printer for chocolate, did not need complex strategies.
But the young founder was fascinated by 3D printing technologies and looked for a way to advance the technology. He tried to sweeten the process, so he combined the business with chocolate.
Worldwide, chocolate was a $ 130.5 billion industry in 2019, according to a report by GrandView Research, and Weinstein believes its printers can help chocolate enthusiasts “bite” in that market.
How did you come to create a chocolate printer?
The chocolate 3D printer has started as a draft license.
With some grants from the University of Pennsylvania and funding from the Pennovation Accelerator, Weinstein began to build seriously, and the company is now ready to receive pre-orders for his $ 5,500 printer.
There is also competition, however. Five years ago, none other than Pennsylvania’s most famous chocolate maker, Hersheys, tried his luck with a 3D chocolate printer.
The company presented its new technology in the technical phase at several demonstrations, but the project melted under the harsh glow of unachievable economic realities.
Weinstein has actually spoken to the Hersheys people and believes that his product may be a more appropriate proposition for consumers and companies.
“They never created a printer for sale,” Weinstein said. “I managed to get in touch with Hershey because they are the main sponsors of the Pennovation Center. They said the limitations at the time were technical limitations, but the feedback from the customers they received was really positive. “
This means that, as far as Weinstein knows, his company is the only chocolate printing company in the United States.
Sweet business model
Weinstein intends for Cocoa Press to become an all-in-one chocolate shop, where customers can buy the printer and chocolate from the company and then make them themselves. There are even plans to work with several cocoa bean producers to distribute their own chocolates of unique origin.
Chocolate shops can spend about $ 57,000 to buy the equipment they need, Weinstein estimates, and at $ 5,500, Cocoa Press is starting to look like a business.
Weinstein expects to deliver the printers by mid-next year and will launch pre-orders on October 10th.
The young entrepreneur estimates that the market for 3D printed products would be a half-billion-dollar industry worldwide, but this did not take chocolate into account, as until now it was too difficult to create an economical machine for manufacturing or printing chocolate.