ColorBase – digital foundation of smart printing

Colorbase CEO Marco Roos smiles into the camera.

ColorBase CEO and co-founder Marco Roos spoke to FundsUp about how they want to make the printing industry more sustainable by providing the significant players in the market with data-driven, innovative technology and solutions that help prevent material waste.

A Dutch version of this article can be read on the website of our partner: Emerce.

What is it that you do?

“We specialize in digital inkjet printing, a technology used for billboards and shops, clothing, sportswear, carpeting, curtains, and floors.

ColorBase has been a knowledge center for printer and media manufacturers for nearly two decades. Companies such as HP, Canon, Roland, Ricoh, Avery Dennison, 3M, Dupont, and hundreds of others have known for years to find our laboratories in Capelle aan den IJssel and Salt Lake City for help with the development and testing of printing materials for the digital inkjet market. Digital inkjet printing is rapidly expanding to other parts of the print market, such as labels, packaging, and textiles. This expansion creates challenges on a technical but also logistical level. Finding the suitable available materials, in combination with the technology used and the desired outcome, makes for an enormous demand for knowledge.”

What gives you a unique market position?

“More than 11 years ago, we started to convert all our test results and knowledge of printing processes into digital information. This has led to a cloud database with more than 100 million data points, which over 120,000 print companies worldwide currently use to optimize their printing processes. This creates a unique position in a market that was $ 984 billion in 2021, and that is expected to continue to grow strongly in the coming years. It’s time we stepped out from behind the scenes and showed the world what we can do with our data, knowledge, and the trust and reputation we’ve built over the last 20 years.

Our industry is at the forefront of a digital revolution in the supply chain. Finding suitable materials, matching them with the right printing technology, and optimizing the production and logistics processes at the material manufacturers is only possible with the correct data about how those materials function and what they can do. The purchasing decision, the use, and the efficient processing of these materials strongly depend on the technology that will be used. In recent years, we have collected more than 100 million data points and developed a data model for this, which has since become an ISO standard. This model forms the basis for registering material properties for more than 200 manufacturers. This foundation is the intelligence behind two unique SaaS products that help manufacturers develop, test and sell print materials.”

What kind of impact does this revolution actually have?

“The printing industry has a huge impact on our environment: 25 percent of all landfills consist of printed paper and packaging materials, textiles, and surplus clothing, and they pollute our oceans. Much of this pollution can be reduced by producing what we need rather than what we want to sell. Digital on-demand printing technology is ideally suited for this. Recyclers of materials are also highly dependent on the information available about the material. And ultimately, the end users must be supported in the correct way of reusing materials. Our partners believe that the basis for Industry 4.0 lies in structuring information and will ultimately lead to a more sustainable industry and world.”

What kind of financing are you looking for and why?

“Last year, we soft-launched a new testing platform for manufacturers, ColorBase Labs. In addition, we have signed agreements with three parties to roll out our intelligence marketplace ColorBase Exchange. We are looking for financing for sales, marketing, and development expansion. Given our 20-year history and relationships with all relevant industry stakeholders, we seek enterprising investors who have experience scaling an existing business and can help us think about strategy, pricing, and transformative processes.

We are looking for 2.5 million euros in the form of a convertible loan, but we are open to discussing an equity deal. We wish to find an entrepreneur investor who dares to dream and who wants to take time to think about the big picture.”

Where do you hope to be in five years?

“We want to be the digital foundation of the printing industry, a standard in collecting and recording data related to the manufacture, logistics, use, and performance of printing materials. We will connect printers and software directly to our cloud to collect more data about how much material is used and where. We are already actively working with printer manufacturers on links that can help us predict how many materials are needed at which location in the world using machine learning and AI.”

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