Thor3D is well known for its many 3D scanners; what is less well known is that the company did not previously have a CEO. That changes today.
With the public announcement of Anna Zevelyov’s appointment as CEO, Thor3D is taking its next strategic step forward in the market. It is a pleasure to announce this appointment – and who better to do so than the new CEO herself? I appreciated the opportunity to hear from Zevelyov about her plans for Thor3D as well as the 3D scanning and 3D printing road that have led her to leadership.
What made 3D scanning appealing to you?
“Selling a device that is used in hundreds of industries is never dull. In a single day, you might speak with a doctor, an archeologist, an engineer and a policeman. In a single year, you might visit an exhibition on cyber-security, dentistry and hydrocarbons. Call it what you want, but ‘boring’ it is not!”
How did your experience with Artec shape your career path?
“I fondly remember my time with Artec. The team was young, eager, and enthusiastic and I loved coming to work. The company is now a veteran of the industry, and I moved-on in 2014, but I hope they never lose that passion and flare.”
What led you to Thor3D? How did the journey begin?
“I, along with my co-founders, thought that the world was ready for a wireless, hand-held scanner. We came together in 2015 to form a company and the first product – Thor3D scanner – was born.
Theoretically, creating a wireless scanner shouldn’t be very difficult: just stick a mini-computer inside, a battery and you are ready to go. In practice, however, it proved to be significantly more challenging than we anticipated. The first devices were not stable. The battery would interfere with the touch screen, the cameras would affect the on-board computer, and while charging the scanner, at times, refused to work at all. The road from a prototype to the final product was long and arduous.”
You are working in both 3D scanning and 3D printing. Can you share some insights on these technologies?
“Yes, I am currently involved in several projects including 3D scanning, 3D printing and 3D service bureaus. What I have observed from my experience is that our trade has matured considerably over the last 10 years. In the 90’s and 00’s, the industry was in stasis – the same manufacturers selling the same products to the same clients. Since 2010, regularly, there are new entrants to the market. At every exhibition, I am introduced to innovative newcomers who look to upend the ‘good ol’ boys’ club. Competition is becoming fiercer and that is a good thing. It keeps us, established firms, on our toes.”
What can you tell us of your appointment as the new CEO of Thor3D? How do you plan to approach leadership with Thor3D?
“Thor3D never had a CEO. I will be the first one. Atypically, we ruled ‘by committee’, which means that all important decisions were made by a vote of the Executive team. The less important decisions were made by department heads independently. There are both drawbacks and advantages to this system of management, and although we have discussed opting for a more conventional structure several times in the past, the Board of Directors voted to convert to it only this month. There were concerns about a change in company culture. I will do my best to alleviate those fears, while simultaneously, hopefully painlessly, create a functioning hierarchy.”
What can we expect to see from Thor3D in the near future? The next five years?
“My first priority will be R&D. Our company is a technology company. This means that we need to be constantly innovating (improving our current scanners and releasing new products). The goal will be to release a new scanner at least once per year. This new scanner will have to be significantly different from what is already on the market and what is in our current portfolio of products.
In development, we’ve always followed our own path. We never copied what other companies did. The Drake scanner was announced in 2016 and it is still the only scanner of its kind (wireless, handheld, can scan objects of any size). So we will continue to do that. Expect to hear the next announcement before the end of the year.”
How do you see trends in the 3D scanning marketplace? Where does Thor3D fit into these trends?
“As with most technologies, with time 3D scanning is becoming cheaper and users expect it to become simpler (UI/UX). For 20 years, the industry was dormant, but not anymore. Ambitious newcomers and existing players are competing ferociously and the consumer is reaping the benefits. The same level of technology that used to cost $15-$20K ten years ago is now being sold by several companies at the $5-$6K level.
Our goal is to create a device that competes by price, by quality of output and importantly, by user-experience. In the past, we made devices for “engineers” (those who do not care for the aesthetics and are technically well-adapt, requiring minimal training). Now, we aim to create scanners that are not only technologically superior but are also pleasing to the eye (naturally, Apple is an inspiration).”