3D furniture-printing company opens St. Pete HQ
In the cluster of local artists, manufacturers and craft brewers who thrive within St. Pete’s Warehouse Arts District, 3D furniture-printing robots are the latest addition to the mix.
Inside the 20,000-plus-square-foot warehouse at 1921 5th Ave. S., near the Morean Arts Center and Brick Street Farms, 3D printing startup Haddy has secured a 10-year lease to occupy the industrial space for its new headquarters.
Haddy was founded in 2022 by CEO Jay Rogers and CTO Kyle Rowe. Rogers is the founder of the motor vehicle manufacturing company Local Motors, which created the Strati, the world’s first 3D-printed electric cars.
However, in 2021, Rogers parted ways with the company. Rowe, who worked in the research division at Local Motors, left the company 2020 and started a robotics company. The duo remained friends and became business partners to form Haddy (an acronym for Heroic Agile Design Durable and Yours).
Haddy is a micro-manufacturer of furniture produced through direct digital manufacturing (DDM) using machine learning. All of the materials it utilizes are recycled, including plastics and found fishing nets.
“We are trying to make beautiful furniture in your home that you can feel good about. The materials we print can be composted or burned,” Rogers said inside the warehouse.
His three-person team – a designer, engineer and logistics and information systems manager – can be seen sitting on the modern 3D-printed stools next to a printed oval-shaped table topped with a marble slab, sourced from the owner of the building, Excell Marble and Granite, which is in the process of relocating.
Rogers has an expansive career and educational background that’s led him to create Haddy. After he graduated from Princeton University in 1995, he went to a startup in China and then joined Ewing and Partners, where he became a financial analyst. Following that career path, he served in the U.S. Marine Corps for nine years, working in the western Pacific and Iraq. Eventually, he attended Harvard Business School in and founded Local Motors in 2007, according to his biography.
“From day one, Haddy had their scopes set on St. Petersburg for its first micro-robotics factory in the U.S. They [the team] felt that their blend of marrying technology with artistry fit the demographics of new companies moving into St. Pete and loved the vibe. After touring many optional locations in the region, the place they settled on within the Warehouse Arts District was a perfect fit,” said Wendy Giffin of Cushman and Wakefield, who worked with Haddy to secure the lease. “It not only met their interior and exterior requirements, but the location is also strategically located in a very dynamic area.”
Jake Wollman of KW Commercial represented the landlord.
“We have little furniture making in the U.S., but we have uncovered a way to market furniture and ship it,” Rogers said about the gap in the market, pointing to the towering 3D printing robot bolted into the epoxy floor.
Rogers explained this 3D furniture-printing concept could be based in any booming metropolis, especially tech hubs found in Boston or California, but he was determined to establish it in Florida, where he grew up.
“I wanted to come back to Florida. I lived in San Francisco and Boston and felt that I needed to bring this innovation here and the opportunity for these advanced manufacturing jobs. We have a lot of jobs in tourism and agriculture, but this space is growing, and I want to be part of this new economy,” Rogers said.
Rogers is currently adding more members to his team. He expects that at the maximum, he may hire 25 employees over time – and while the number may seem insignificant, he states it will have a multiplier effect, spurring the creation of other related businesses and jobs.
He is sourcing talent through career fairs and online job boards. Rogers is also working with the Women in 3D Printing organization, which strives to close the gender gap in the male-dominated sector, hoping to hire additional talent through the group.
Today, Haddy has raised over $2.5 million through angel investors and is now working with several local banks to finance its assets.
Haddy operates as a business-to-business model and has a partnership with home furnishings retailer Room and Board.
Haddy will soon carry a total of eight robots on the floor that each can produce 40-45 pounds of furniture per hour, equating to printing four to 12 items at a time, depending upon the items (chairs/tables).
December 19, 2022at7:10 pm
Great story. interesting company and product.