Entrepreneurs Under 25 is a new series that seeks to profile up-and-coming web entrepreneurs 25 years old or younger.
Once a hustler, always a hustler. For 22 year old Omar Ayesh, the habits he started as a kid have proved both useful and necessary for the world of entrepreneurship.
Born in Montreal but raised in Dubai, Ayesh was able to get a glimpse into the unbridled world of the super rich. But this instilled a sense of work ethic and possibility rather than envy or entitlement.
“I’ve always been a hustler, ever since I was a kid. Always trying to make that extra dollar, trying to buy and resell basically,” Ayesh told MTLinTECH.
After graduating from John Molson School of Business with a degree in accounting, he decided to go into 3D printing, setting up shop with three colleagues.
“Halfway through my degree I realized accounting wasn’t my thing. I mean, I was really good at it, but it was just not my thing. I never wanted to be stuck in an office in the usual way. As I said, I was raised in Dubai, and over there there’s no limits. You can basically be nothing here and go there and build yourself up. And that’s the kind of thing that I really believe shows there’s a way you can grow by yourself: organic growth without having to go through the whole corporate system.”
Despite his lack of enthusiasm for accounting, he insists on the importance of a university degree: “It gives you something to rest on, a net behind you that can save you.” But once he had his diploma, it was full steam ahead for his newly formed 3D printing company, LaPresse3D.
“There was a lot of hype back in 2014, and I thought, that’s something that could be amazing because basically the first slogan we came up with was ‘if you can think it we can print it’. And that kind of changed the idea of how modern manufacturing: you can just think of an idea and it can be formed in various different types of plastic, it just needs a few hours of modeling.”
It’s now three cofounders (including Ayesh) and some unpaid interns who run the show. LaPresse3D started mid-2014, but didn’t really get going until 2015 because they were all students. And growth since then has been good.
“When we were students it was a bit harder to maintain sales. We didn’t have an office. After the fourth colleague dropped out, I bought over his shares and came up with a strategic outsourcing plan, where it’s basically a design and supply network. Because with 3D printing, there’s a kind of steep learning curve.”
There’s a lack of knowledge in terms of the consumer. They don’t know what things are worth. They can get seven different quotes with seven complete different prices ranging from $15-$2500. And there’s no difference between that $15 piece and that $2500 piece. That’s where we saw a really crucial aspect of the market we can actually take advantage of.
A lot of the work Ayesh and his colleagues do is consumer education. They often use a quote in their presentations to businesses: “There’s a distortion between the knowledge of the application and the actual potential of the industry.” They have to be salespeople for 3D printing as a feasible option, whether it’s through their SEO marketing campaign or simply approaching businesses, running the numbers, and explaining why they are a more cost-effective and innovative option.
“That’s proven to be a huge success. I mean, we had our ups and downs. 2015 was not that active, but we were growing and we established a supply network. Beginning of 2016 we were finishing our schooling and just rushed through. And now we’re starting 2017, I’ve got 4 orders on my back, and both my colleagues are in France, and that’s how it goes. Keep hustling.”
LaPresse3D is hoping to get a graduation campaign off the ground this year, a 3D printing alternative for university graduates who would otherwise be forced to pay exorbitant sums for graduation photos. “This semester we’re hoping to actually launch that properly with the students,” said Ayesh.
Have you read the rest of the Entrepreneurs under 25 series?
Retinad’s Samuel F. Poirier and Anthony Guay – January 11
Wizrd’s Rory Bokser and David Kleiman – January 12
Ambo Technology’s Pascal Leblanc – January 19