Investment boost for Czech startup making 3D printed bike saddles
Czech startup Posedla has received a major boost in the form of an investment from Josef Průša, the country’s top name in 3D printing. Posedla is working on a fascinating new product: made-to-measure, 3D printed bicycle saddles. I spoke to the company’s co-founder Jiří Dužár.
“This was a project that started in the spring of 2020.
“We were all locked in our homes and me and my co-founder, and one of my best friends [Martin Řípa], were going on these long rides, multiple days, and what we discovered very soon was that we were suffering with saddle sore, and that the saddles we had were not the best.
“I didn’t suffer as much as he did. He tried to replace it, he went to a couple of special shops, where they measured his bio-mechanicals, but it was always not perfect.
“So we were looking at ways how we could come up with a fully custom solution.
“And these days because of additive technologies, 3D printing technologies, you don’t have to use any technological processes like moulding and everything.
“So we were like, OK, this is probably a feasible way, and we started working on it.”
How are measurements taken? Say for example if I needed one of these saddles, how would I be measured for it?
“That’s a question everyone asks us, because everyone’s curious about this.
“The first thing we hear is, So how are you going to take my butt-print?
“We came up with this solution where we are going to send out a so-called measurement kit, which consists of a foam which is able to preserve a nice imprint.
“The reason why we do this is because we need to find out what your sit bone width is.
“Then there are around 10 or 12 other parameters, which will help us find out what kind of cyclist you are.
“We need to know how flexible you are, we need to know what kind of bike you ride, how much you ride on average per year.”
I presume this is intended for serious cyclists, not just for somebody like me who rides around Prague?
“I think it’s a little bit of both.
“Obviously it’s for people who ride a lot – I would say several thousand kilometres a year.
“But we are trying to cover all cycling disciplines, so it can be road cyclists, mountain bikers, gravel riders.
“For example, these days e-bikes are also getting very popular.
“They are usually used by people who are not as fit, or it’s not always the case.
“But because of the e-bike they are riding longer, they are in the saddle for a longer time.
“So for those kind of folks it’s important to have the right saddle, the right support.”
Recently you received quite a significant investment [CZK 15 million] from the well-known 3D printing pioneer Josef Průša. What does it mean in practical terms to Posedla to get this investment?
“I think that without the investment we wouldn’t be able to fulfill the dream that we originally had.
“We were a little naive. We thought that we could pull it off within a year and then open a little garage and start making the saddles.
“But producing a saddle is a very complicated task.
“So at first we applied for a hardware accelerator that Josef Průša launched in 2020 [as part of his PrusaLab], and we were selected.
“Then followed a year full of rapid prototyping. We were using the Lab, which is in Holešovice.
“At the end of the accelerator we approached Josef Průša and Ondřej Průša, the two managing partners at Prusa Research.
“We said, We are at the end of the prototyping phase, let’s make it a viable business.
“And yeah, they loved the idea, we agreed on the investment and now we can move forward and finally start producing the saddles.
“So, without the investment we wouldn’t be able to switch from prototyping to production.”
Jiří Dužár says Posedla should begin selling made-to-measure bicycle saddles next year, in time for the new cycling season.