If plan ‘A’ fails there are 25 alphabets to chose from but giving up is not an option – Megha Bhaiya
Megha Bhaiya, the Founder of Instapro3D, a tech company that creates things through 3D printing, was a very inquisitive kid and discovery channel and encyclopaedias were her best friends as a child.
Her father was a very strong influence in her life. When she was younger, whenever an electronic item was not working, she would see her father open it up and try to fix it himself and she says with a smile, “he would be successful in doing so, well mostly.” Always inclined towards technology, Megha used to accompany her father to the factory to see how the machines worked and watched how her father fixed things and did troubleshooting when machines broke down. “He always made me watch what he was doing and that really got to me. It has now become an inherent part of me to go to the depth of anything.”
Last summer, Megha went looking for a simple solution – to design a product for a fairly common problem –when women wear stilettos, the heels sink into grass, which makes it difficult to walk comfortably outdoor. “Thus, I wanted to make a heel cap, which would prevent the heels from sinking. After I had the design ready, it was just impossible for me to get a sample done without investing heavily through traditional manufacturing methods. That’s when I discovered 3D printing and explored the sector, says Megha.
Her in-depth exploration is what led to the birth of Instapro3D, which was born with the aim to minimise the gap between makers, thinkers, and designers to actually making objects,” says Megha.
According to Megha, the concept of 3D printing is relatively new in India and has not touched the masses. “This technology is extremely exciting and when I first got to know about it, it was like the 90s cartoon Jetsons turning into reality. You can create simply anything through 3D printers.”
Megha got started early this year and she currently heads a team of four techies. Instapro3D is functioning as a service bureau, wherein Megha and her team works closely with product designers and developers, students, engineers, architects, bakers, and jewelers to create prototypes and direct digital manufacturing.
Chalking her own path
Megha had been inclined towards science in school, but her career saw a shift at the graduation level. “I graduated in 2012 from Lancaster University with a bachelor’s degree in business studies. Despite this change, my inclination towards technology did not change,” she shares.
After graduation Megha joined her family business in the LED lighting and signage space. She worked there for three years before she decided to start on her own. “At my father’s workplace, systems and protocols are already in place and my identity there revolved around being his daughter. I wanted to be more than that and explore my potentials and strengths,” lets in Megha.However, this was not a simple decision but her biggest challenge. Megha was 24 at the time, at an eligible age for marriage. So it took a lot of convincing from her end to win her parents over. “I wanted to do something more meaningful and challenging with the education my parents had provided for. They did get convinced ultimately, and have been very supportive since,” shares Megha.
The vision with Instapro3D was to create a basic eco-system in India for 3D printing and to empower people with this powerful technology to encourage creating, designing, and inventing new objects.
Speaking of the work Instapro3D is doing, she shares that they have worked with some multi-national corporations and government agencies, such as Cooler Master, ABB Solar, McCann Health, CIBART.
They have also done a lot of experimentation from their end. One such initiative has been converting hand and foot impressions in to 3D printed keepsakes. “We truly believe that birth of a child is a very emotional time for parents and capturing that moment into keepsakes, which they could cherish for a lifetime, is priceless. We’re the first company in India to convert hand impressions on paper to 3D printed keepsakes.”
Although 3D technology has garnered an impressive response, she points out how it is widely being used in industries such as defense, aerospace, automobile, jewellery, and in the field of medicine. “However, it is yet to touch the personal space of the consumer,” she says.
Challenges and motivation
Megha says, “Entrepreneurship is paved with challenges. There are just so many things you have to handle, manage, and troubleshoot at the same time. There’s constant worrying about the next step for growth, the backend and the most critical one being; developing the core team.”
As a woman entrepreneur, she had had mixed experiences. “There have been times where clients have undermined me because I am a woman but majorly it has always worked out in my favour.”
One of her biggest lessons she has learnt through the challenges she has faced is to stop worrying about what can go wrong, and get excited about what can go right. “Sometimes I do think if I am doing the right thing, but then I try to abide by: ‘If plan A doesn’t work, there are 25 other letters’. The most important thing is that you should not stop,” she shares.
Women in tech
According to her, part of the reason why there are so few women not just in tech but overall is due to the lack of opportunities they’re given. She says emphatically, “Majority of the women despite having great capabilities are made to believe that they cannot pursue what they want to due to social reasons!”
Being a female tech entrepreneur is not an easy thing and Megha is quick to agree. “You often have to repeatedly establish your credibility and knowledge amongst your peers. People underestimate your potential, though sometimes that can work to your advantage as well. However, I believe every experience and problem teaches you a new way to handle them and makes you bigger and better.”
Five years down the line
Megha has just started up and she is excited about the future of this technology. It is not a fad and that is something she is quick to point out. “I believe till now we have just scratched the surface of this technology and haven’t yet completely explored what this powerful technology is capable of. In the near future, I see every consumer owning a personal 3D printer, almost like a personal computer.”
As regards Instapro3D she hopes to be a very well integrated and established service bureau, wherein they are able to help designers, innovators, and makers create newer inventions!