We were a tiny bit surprised last week when we learned that up and coming 3D printer manufacturer and marketer BotMill was snapped up by industry giant 3D Systems. At the time there was not a lot of information available about this move, so we contacted 3D Systems VP of Global Marketing to clarify the situation.
Fabbaloo: Can you describe the nature of the acquisition? When did it occur, and what exactly was acquired?
Cathy Lewis: We acquired essentially all of the BotMill assets and brought the team on board at 3D Systems under the leadership of Gil Mayron last week.
Fabbaloo: What attracted 3D Systems to BotMill? Why acquire them?
Cathy Lewis: BotMill addresses a growing customer desire for affordable, fully assembled 3D Printer Kits.
Fabbaloo: Will BotMill continue to exist in its present form, or are there plans to merge it with your existing hobbyist line of 3D printers? What happens to BotMill's staff? Are changes expected at BFB?
Cathy Lewis: We do not anticipate changes at this time – our goal is to expand the BotMill operation in response to customer requirements and build on the successful groundwork of Gil and his team.
Fabbaloo: Does this acquisition suggest that 3D Systems is focusing more energy on home 3D printing?
Cathy Lewis: 3D Systems has stated that we intend to democratize access and accelerate adoption of 3D printing solutions for professionals and consumers alike. The addition of BotMill is another step in that strategic direction.
Fabbaloo: BotMill uses the open source RepRap design, but we're wondering if this will change as a result of the acquisition? Will BotMill's products incorporate propreitary features from 3D Systems' other operations?
Cathy Lewis: We plan no specific changes at this time but, as always, we will listen to our customers and insure that they receive the best 3D printing experience possible.
So it seems that 3D Systems is simply expanding their reach by acquiring another leading 3D printing company, this time in the personal 3D printing space. 3D Systems has a technical strategy of providing a variety of 3D printing approaches that enable them to address many different client needs, and their corporate expansion strategy appears quite similar: Cover All The Bases.