We met with Fusiform co-founder and CEO, Param Shah, to talk about Fusiform’s progress since their graduation from Accelerate Baltimore. Fusiform was part of the 2015-2016 AB group. The startup began about one and a half years ago, but the idea was born when Shah met Alex Mathews at Johns Hopkins where they were both undergraduates. At the time, Shah had created a non-profit called the Lotus Life Foundation, which was founded to help reduce the stigma against disabilities in children in rural areas of India by providing medical services. Meanwhile, Mathews was using 3D printing technology at Johns Hopkins to create cranial implants. It wasn’t long after meeting that Mathews approached Shah with the idea that would become Fusiform.
For those of you who are unfamiliar, Fusiform uses 3D scanning technology and their own algorithm to customize orthopedic devices for customers. Mathews and Shah realized in their work that it wasn’t the devices themselves that were the issue but the problem lay in creating custom products that were low-cost and fast to make. Fusiform’s work with mass customization has led them to mass customization beyond the orthopedics market. Now, they are focusing on disrupting the manufacturing field with their ideas of mass customization.
Last year, Shah and Mathews heard about Accelerate Baltimore from Seal-Bin Han, Co-Founder of 2014-2015 AB graduate FitMango (formerly known as ShapeU). Fusiform found Accelerate Baltimore provided resources and opportunities that were unparalleled. In the Accelerate Baltimore program, Fusiform got their first real exposure to entrepreneurship and industry professionals. This was, in a way, a wake-up call for them; they realized: “We’re not a project anymore. This is a company.” In our meeting, Shah said that funding through AB is one thing, but understanding startups from the view of other entrepreneurs is invaluable. Accelerate Baltimore, Shah said, really pushes the envelope of the entrepreneurial scene.
As for the future, Shah says that Fusiform is looking to really disrupt manufacturing, which is one of the longest standing establishment without major disruption so far. Right now, they have a partnership with AutoDesk for the design aspect of their work, and they look forward to partnering with other groups in the future for their 3D printing and distribution components. In the near future, Fusiform will also be relocating to their own place in Mount Vernon with their team of 15 people.
Lastly, Shah had some advice for those applying to Accelerate Baltimore this year. He said, “A lot of startups think when they start that they can handle it on their own. It is important to believe in your own abilities but you should also be open to sharing these abilities. Accelerate Baltimore gives important feedback and shares experiences of other entrepreneurs that will help your startup grow.”
Apply to Accelerate Baltimore by December 1st!