Earlier this month all shares of 3D printer manufacturer Robo 3D was completely bought by an Australian mining company?
Bobo 3D is a well-known desktop 3D printer manufacturer, having launched in 2012 with a very successful Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign. In that initial campaign they managed to raise USD$650K, a substantial amount at the time.
Since then they’ve gradually improved their machinery, culminating in the launch of their latest equipment, the R2 and C2 devices.
But in an obscure news release, it appears the entire company has been purchased by Falcon Minerals, Ltd, a company listed on the Australian Stock Exchange.
But there’s a bit of history to work through first to understand what’s going on here.
In December 2015, Falcon announced:
It <Falcon> is a Company in transition having announced in December 2015 that it has entered into a binding Term Sheet to acquire 51% ownership of Robo 3D, Inc (ROBO 3D) via the acquisition of all of the issued shares in Albion 3D Investments Pty Ltd (Albion 3D).
Aha! It seems that in 2015 Falcon acquired Albion 3D Investments in a separate transaction and suddenly found themselves the 51% owner of Robo 3D. I speculate that Albion must have been an early investor in Robo 3D, perhaps even prior to their public launch.
Another possibility is that Robo 3D’s low product pricing could have meant they were unable to fulfill their orders without additional investment, and sold a portion of the company to Albion. In fact, later documentation indicates Albion invested USD$2.5M in Robo 3D prior to this transaction. That’s an awful lot more than USD$650K.
The Transaction will constitute a significant change in the nature and scale of Falcon’s activities, and the Company will be required to re-comply with the listing requirements set out in Chapters 1 and 2 of the ASX Listing Rules.
The Board intend to divest the Company's existing exploration assets.
So it appears Falcon decided to go “full 3D” on this transaction. They must have great confidence in the ability of Robo 3D to make profit.
But then, a few days ago Falcon announced more:
Falcon Minerals Limited and Albion 3D Investments Pty Ltd have renegotiated its proposed transaction in conjunction with the founders of Robo 3D, Inc. such that on completion Falcon will acquire 100% of Robo 3D. The original proposed transaction as announced in December 2015 and as replaced in May 2016 was for the acquisition of 51% of Robo 3D.
However, they add that the original Robo 3D owners, including Braydon Moreno and Jacob Kabili will have “equity stakes” going forward, suggesting they aren’t going anywhere and that the company will continue to grow as expected under their leadership.
And it appears they may be successful. The release says Robo 3D has generated a very healthy USD$4.6M in 12 months to June 2016, as compared to only USD$2.4M in the prior period. They’re growing very fast.
So you may wonder whether this is a good or bad thing for Robo 3D. I believe it’s a good thing: the founders are still present, the company is growing and it seems that the new owners are providing the founders with not only control to continue, but also backstopping their finances in a way few other 3D printing startups have.